Mhaismal - The Mahabaleshwar of Marathwada

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When you think of hill stations in Maharashtra, the same old names, Lonavala, Khandala, Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar, Saputara come up. The high tourist numbers visiting each of these places have led to development. But even now, there remain hill stations in Maharashtra outside the tourist purview remain untouched, unspoiled and unexplored. One destination I'm touching on is very close to one of the most famous monuments in Maharashtra, and yet, doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Image credits: TourMyIndia

Photo of Mhaismal Hill Station, Maharashtra, India by Niyati Mavinkurve

Mhaismal is a hill station that gets its name from a nearby village, Maheshmal. The hill station offers stunning views to travelers especially those on their way to see the famous Ellora Caves.

Here is a video showing the beauty of Mhaismal.

Mhaismal lies on top of a hill with a long and winding approach road. This approach road is not well maintained, although the Government has recently cleared a proposal to develop areas around Ellora caves, which includes Mhaismal. So, one hopes the improvement in infrastructure will lead to more tourists stopping at this pleasant hill station for a rejuvenating break.

Tourists halting at Mhaismal will be treated to a stunning view, especially during and after the monsoons. Located at 1067 meters above sea level, Mhaismal enjoys pleasant weather all year round. It is this weather that has earned Mhaismal the monicker 'Mahabaleshwar of Marathwada'.

The natural topography of Mhaismal lends visitors a superior viewing platform to the Sahyadris. Neatly laid hamlets, farms, fields, are transformed into a green carpet in the monsoons. Most of the tourist influx is during the monsoons when all the natural beauty is in full display.

Mhaismal isn't just a hill station where people can come to relax and soak in nature's beauty. It has activities for people to do as well, even though it is an undiscovered spot.

Here are some of the things you can do in Mhaismal:

1. Girijamata Temple:

This is one of the most ancient temples in the area. There is a yatra every year in February when devotees throng the temple for the Goddess's blessings.

Photo of Girija Devi Temple, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by Niyati Mavinkurve

2. Balaji Temple:

This temple is a replica of the Tirumala Balaji Temple. There are many different view points on the way to this temple. There is a lake near the Balaji Temple which is a popular spot for people visiting Mhaismal.

Photo of Mhaismal - The Mahabaleshwar of Marathwada by Niyati Mavinkurve

3. Ellora Caves:

Mhaismal is on the road to Ellora Caves, which makes this a place that has to be visited if you decide to visit Mhaismal. This site is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the largest rock cut temple complexes in the world with carvings dating 600-800 BC. The Ellora Caves complex houses different caves and temples, with distinct separation between Hindu carvings, Jain carvings, and Buddhist carvings. Several idols show damage which is said to have been caused by Muslim armies when the area was under the Sultanate.

Photo of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by Niyati Mavinkurve

4. Bidri Works:

There are two households in Mhaismal, which are the last two remaining households in Maharashtra who practice the Bidri silver inlay work. Vresorts used to arrange tours to see the artisans, but the resort has since closed. Bidri work involves inlaying silver on an alloy of zinc and copper which has been covered with a special black mud.

Photo of Mhaismal - The Mahabaleshwar of Marathwada by Niyati Mavinkurve

5. Aurangabad:

Aurangabad is a cultural hot spot. With monuments like the Bibi Ka Makbara, which is a replica of the Taj Mahal, Aurangzeb's Tomb, Panchakki etc, Aurangabad takes you to a bygone era where the Nizams lived. The city still exudes a charm not found in many places. The long years of Mughal rule in this area of the Deccan Plateau have left an indelible mark over the city and its culture.

Photo of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India by Niyati Mavinkurve

How to reach Mhaismal:

Mhaismal is 39kms from Aurangabad. MTDC buses frequently ply from Aurangabad to Mhaismal. It is easy to get a private cab or a rickshaw from Aurangabad to cover the sights.

The nearest airport and railway station are in Aurangabad.

Where to stay:

Mhaismal is still underdeveloped when it comes to good quality housing. Most hotels are located away from the hill station on the road to Ellora. This makes visiting Mhaismal a little difficult especially in the absence of a vehicle.

The Government has recently approved a tourism development plan for the areas around Ajanta Ellora caves, i.e Mhaismal, Daulatabad, Khultabad, which will hopefully improve facilities for tourists and provide increased revenue for the locals.

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