Avi and I headed to Mahabaleshwar on a bright sunny morning to celebrate the Easter weekend. We had barely escaped a working weekend and could not have been more excited even though it was almost the end of strawberry season.
Mahabaleshwar is approximately 6 hours from Mumbai and it is advisable to leave early in the morning. I had however enjoyed a few drinks on the previous evening and therefore, we left on Friday morning by 9 am. We took the route through Lonavala and Pune and reached by 3 pm. The weather was surprisingly good - not too hot but bright and sunny.
Where to stay
Mahabaleshwar has a number of small to mid scale hotels and resorts. It is better to stay in the city unless you have transport of your own and are willing to drive to the Mahabaleshwar market for the feel of the city in the night.
What to see
Mahabaleshwar is beautiful to drive around and has a number of “points” from where you can see the view of the hills. Not all the points are worth spending a lot of time at. However, a drive to these points and walk around them is quite beautiful usually.
Since half the day had already gone, we decided to drive to Arthur’s seat point and stop at all other points on the way. Arthur’s seat point is supposed to have a great view of Savitri river. However, since it was April, the river was almost dried up. The view of Western Ghat from these points was quite beautiful. The greenery and the birdsongs added to the charm.
We stopped at one of the points for sunset and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I had seen in a while. Maharashtra's favourite Vada Pavs finished the day for us.
We decided to visit Pratapgad fort the next day. The fort was built by Shivaji and like all Maratha forts, required you to climb lots of stairs. The fort is popular for in the history of India as knight of Bijapur Afzalkhan was defeated and killed by Shivaji at Pratapgad. It is one of the better maintained Shivaji forts, possibly due to still being a private property. It is an interesting piece of architecture as the walls are built in a way that gates of neither the upper fort nor the lower fort can be seen unless you are very close. Our guide informed us that it was a strategic move to mislead the enemy forces.
We also made a pit-stop at the Mapro farm though I did not find it very interesting. However, they serve beautiful strawberry and cream which both Avi and I loved.
What to eat
Mahabaleshwar is famous for strawberries and strawberry and cream is a must have. We also had mulberries, corn patties and bought masala chana from Mahabaleshwar. We also brought back some Mapro strawberry products- our slice of Mahabaleshwar- home though we are yet to try it out.