Mahabaleshwar is known as the erstwhile summer capital of the Old Bombay Presidency. This hill station of Maharashtra is captivated by its pleasing greenery, gardens alongside old historical landmarks and breathtaking views.
Winding roads, a cool breeze at all times, vantage points offering breathtaking views of hills and valleys, plenty of strawberries to gorge on and a main street full of shops offering all kinds of curios and snacks. Doesn’t it sound exciting? Well, that’s Mahabaleshwar for you which along with Panchgani makes for a wonderful holiday or even just a weekend getaway.
Located about 120 kilometers southwest of Pune and 285 kilometers from Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar is a vast plateau measuring 150 kilometers, bound by valleys on all sides. It reaches a height of 1,439 meters at its highest peak above sea level, known as Wilson or Sunrise Point. Mahabaleshwar comprises three villages: Malcolm Peth, Old ‘Kshetra’ Mahabaleshwar and part of a village called Shindola. The hill station is the source of the Krishna River that flows across Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The legendary source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Old Mahabaleshwar.
According to a legend, Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the ‘trimurti’ by Savitri. Also, its tributaries Venna and Koyana are said to be Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma themselves. An interesting thing to notice is that four other rivers come out from the cow’s mouth apart from Krishna and they all travel some distance before merging into Krishna. These are the Koyna, Venna, Savitri and Gayatri.
With its name derived from Sanskrit and meaning ‘god of great power’, Mahabaleshwar has lots to explore. Arthur’s Seat is one such interesting point from where you can get a view of Jor Valley. Another exotic location is Lodwick Point, located almost 1,240 meters above sea level. General Lodwick’s memory is preserved here in the form of a monument dedicated to him.
Kate’s Point gives visitors a view of the Dhom and Balakwadi dams. Close to it is the Needle Hole point where there is a natural hole in between its rock formation. Wilson Point, which is the highest point of the hill station, gets its name from Sir Leslie Wilson and is a favourite with tourists for splendid views of sunrise and sunset. The second-highest peak in Mahabaleshwar is Connaught Peak and gets its name from the Duke of Connaught.
Some of the other points that you must visit are Monkey Point, Carnac Point, Falkland Point, Helen’s Point, Elphinstone Point, Mumbai Point, Marjorie Point and Babbington Point. For boating you must head to the Venna Lake. During the monsoon, waterfalls such as Lingmala Falls and Dhobi Falls come alive, adding to the scenic splendour of the place. You can also spend your evenings loitering in the main bazaar and enjoy strawberry-flavoured ice-cream or fresh strawberries with whipped cream.
Distance from Mumbai: 263 kms
Satara District, Maharashtra, India.
The first historical record of Mahabaleshwar traces back to the year 1215 when the King Singhan of Deogiri visited Old Mahabaleshwar. He constructed a small temple and water tank at the wellspring of the river Krishna. Around 1350, a Brahmin dynasty ruled this region. In 1656, the founder of Maratha Empire, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj because of political conditions, killed the then leader of the vale of Javali, Chandrarao More, and held onto the space. Around that time Shivaji Maharaj additionally constructed a fort close to Mahabaleshwar named “'Pratapgad'. The fort is still in the possession of Shivaji Maharaj's descendants. In 1819, after the defeat of the Maratha empire, the successful British ceded the hills around Mahabaleshwar to the vassal territory of Satara. The Raja of Satara was allowed different towns in return for the British getting Mahabaleshwar in 1828. In old records Mahabaleshwar was even called Malcolm Peth after the governor. The British rulers needed to reproduce the English landscape in the hill stations and with that in mind, European flora, for example, strawberries were introduced in Mahabaleshwar, and facilities like libraries, theaters, boating lakes, and sports grounds developed. Before the end of the nineteenth century, it had become an alluring famous hill station of world eminence.
Mahabaleshwar is situated on the rocky Sahyadri range of the Western ghats that run North to south along western shore of India. Mahabaleshwar is a vast plateau measuring 150 KM, bound by valleys on all the sides. It is situated at a height of 1,439 m (4,721 ft) at its highest peak above sea level, known as Wilson/Sunrise Point. The town is around 120 KM southwest of Pune and 285 KM from Mumbai. Mahabaleshwar area is noted as the wellspring of the Krishna River that flows across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Environment of the space is appropriate for the development of strawberries, Mahabaleshwar strawberry adds to around 85% of the complete strawberry production in the country. It additionally got the geographical indication.
The region has a hot-semi arid climate year-round with an average temperature ranging from 19-33 degrees Celsius.
April and May are the hottest months when the temperature reaches up to 42 degrees Celsius.
Winters are extreme, and the temperature can go as low as 10 degrees Celsius at night, but the average daytime temperature is around 26 degrees Celsius.
The annual rainfall in the region is around 763 mm.
Things to do
- Mahabaleshwar temple: dedicated to Lord Shiva. A fine example of Hemadpanthi architectural style, the temple was constructed in the 16th century under the aegis of Chandra Rao More dynasty
- Elphinstone Point: One of the highest points in Mahabaleshwar. Discovered in 1830
- Pratapgad Fort: Built by Shivaji in 1658 it is a fort of historical importance.
- Mapro Garden: The garden is famous for its rich strawberry produce that greatly contributed to Mahabaleshwar’s popularity to encourage its production. It also hosts an annual strawberry festival.
- Bombay Point (Sunset spot): Witness the different hues of the setting sun. This place is considered to be one of the oldest vantage points in Maharashtra.
- Chinaman ‘s falls: The captivating Chinaman falls lies to the south of the Koyna valley of Mahabaleshwar.
- Catholic Church: Popular as the church is in the hills. Built by British citizens in the 18th century.
- On wheels: People looking for endless fun, entertainment and adventure can head to this popular amusement park. Replete with hair-raising rides and fun-filled games.
- Strawberry picking: A fun activity practised by many private farms during the strawberry season in which one is provided with an opportunity to pick their strawberries directly from the farm
Nearest tourist places
- Satara (56.8 KM) (1hr 34 mins):
Preached peacefully near the confluence of Krishna and Venna rivers, the city of Satara was established back in the sixteenth century. Satara has several dream-like destinations and historical ruins. The most famous activity which has attracted thousands of tourists to Satara is trekking to Kaas Plateau, also known as “the valley of flowers”.
- Panchgani (19 KM) (34 mins):
Named after the five majestic hills enclosing it, Panchgani makes for a renowned hill station in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is at an elevation of around 4,376 ft above sea level; this hill town is packed with towering mountains, serene valleys, cascading waterfalls, and dense forests. Enthralling local destinations such as Sydney Point, Table Land, Rajpuri Caves, and Dhom Dam form the major attractions of Panchgani and add to the beauty and charm of the place.
- Pune (117.3 KM) (2hrs 35 min):
If Mumbai is the most happening place in Maharashtra, then its neighbour Pune is the cultural hub and one of the biggest cities in the state. An upcoming IT centre and a fascinating city, Pune has no shortage of things to intrigue the interest of almost anyone who has ever been here or has heard of the city. From treks to Lohagarh and Rajmachi Forts, to the canoeing and white-water rafting adventures in Kolad River, from a fascinating Scuba Diving experience to the unique experience of trekking in Andharban, the city is in proximity of some of the most fascinating things to do in Pune and near.
- Alibaug (169.7 KM) (4hr 24min):
Located just below the border of Mumbai, Alibaug is a little coastal town in the state of Maharashtra. Owing to its convenient location by the sea, the town was regarded as an important strategic port during the British reign in India. Being a coastal town, the beauty of Alibaug derives largely from the various beaches here. With its glittering golden black sands and clear blue waves, the clean and sparkling beaches of the town are a sight to behold.
- Kolad (110.2 KM) (2hr 57mins):
Located around 110 kilometres from Mumbai, Kolad is a small hamlet in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. Often called the Rishikesh of Maharashtra, the village boasts of numerous scenic valleys, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mist-laden hills and dense evergreen forests. The verdant greenery, clear streams and a peaceful ambience add to the beauty of this quaint hamlet.
Special food speciality and hotel
While Mahabaleshwar is well known for its strawberries, chikki and carrots, over the past few years, Indian and global cuisines have become popular in this hill station. Many restaurants and street food vendors are serving all sorts of cuisines in Mahabaleshwar.
Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel/ Hospital/Post Office/Police station
Various hotels and resorts are available in Mahabaleshwar. Government hospitals are within a 6.2 KM radius.
Mahabaleshwar sub-post office is at a distance of 1.1 KM.
Mahabaleshwar Police station is at a distance of 1.8 KM.
Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit
The best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is from November to February. The temperature during this time ranges between 10 and 24 degrees Celsius making it pleasant for sightseeing. It is also the strawberry growing season of Mahabaleshwar. Another good time to visit Mahabaleshwar is during the rainy season from July to August, when the hill station turns stunningly green. However, the area is prone to landslides during these months.
Language spoken in area
English, Hindi, Marathi, Malvani