Mahabaleshwar is a picturesque hill station nestled in the lap of the majestic mountains of the Western Ghats. Located at an average elevation of 1,353 metres, the place possesses a refreshing ambiance offering panoramic views of the neighboring plains, peaks and woods.
Mahabaleshwar is actually a vast plateau bound by valleys on all sides and comprises of three villages: Malcolm Peth, Old “Kshetra” Mahabaleshwar and part of the Shindola village.
Mahabaleshwar attracts hordes of tourists for its lovely views, delightful allure, beautiful landscapes and pleasant temperatures. The hill station almost shuts down during monsoons due to heavy rainfall in the region. It is also the base of five lovely rivers. Mahabaleshwar is a tranquil holiday spot as well as a great spiritual centre.
There are many tourist attractions in Mahabaleshwar like forts, temples, lakes, etc and many more.
- Pratapgarh Fort
Built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja in 1656, the Pratapgarh Fort is located about 24 km west of Mahabaleshwar. The fort encompasses two ancient forts; the Upper Fort – built on the top of the hill and the Lower Fort. Within the fort walls, tourists can see the Bhavani Temple, the tomb of Afzal Khan and Mahadev temple. The fort also has a maze chambers and long dark walkways, some of them lead to trap doors with a 100 meter fall. The fort is the witness of historic Battle of Pratapgarh between Shivaji and Afzal Khan. The Pratapgad fort offers exhilarating and excellent views of the Konkan valley.
- Venna Lake
The Venna Lake is situated around 2 km from the ST bus stand and is among the most popular tourist places in Mahabaleshwar. The lake is 2.5 km long and is encircled by trees on all sides. Tourists can enjoy activities like fishing and boating at the lake, they can even do a little horse riding. There are a few small eateries and strawberry stalls lined up at the banks of the lake.
There are three waterfalls in Mahabaleshwar; the first one is the Lingmala Falls which is located about 6 km from Mahabaleshwar. Formed by the River Venna, the waterfall plunges down from a height of 500 ft and can be seen in its glory during the rainy season. The second one is the Dhobi Falls which is located around 3 km from Mahabaleshwar, on the trail which connects Petit road with Old Mahabaleshwar road. The water plunges down into a deep valley and finally merges with Koyna River. The waterfall is a popular picnic spot. The last one is the Chinamons Falls. It is located at around 2.5 km from Mahabaleshwar in an exotic place with Chinese cultivated gardens at close proximity.
- Krishna Temple
The Krishna temple is another place of religious importance in Mahabaleshwar. The place where the temple is located is locally known as “Panchganga” which means “Five Rivers” i.e. Krishna, Koyna, Yenna, Gayatri and Savitri. The temple was built by Raja Singhandeo and later in 1635, the Great Maratha Shivaji, renovated and improved the temple.
- Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple
The Mahabaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. It is situated in the Old Kshetra Mahabaleshwar, about 6 km north from the main city. The temple was built by the Chanda Rao More dynasty in the 16th century and is a model of the Hemadant architectural style of South India.
Tapola is located at a distance of about 27 km south of Mahabaleshwar and very less people know about this place. The small town is situated down the Tapola Ghat in the Koyna valley on the extreme backwaters of the Triveni Sangam of the Koyna, Solshi and the Kandhati River. The place is locally called as Mini Kashmir due to the tranquility and the splendor of the Shivsagar Lake. The Shivsagar dam located here is popular for motor boats. One can enjoy riding motorboats, speed boats and scooter riders on the waters. There are many unidentified forts in the deep forests around the lake too.
- Scenic Points in Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar is well known for its points which offer panoramic views of the amazing landscapes. There are more than 14 viewpoints which present impressive views to the tourists. These points are within close range of each other and are named after notable Britishers. Some of the most popular points in Mahabaleshwar are: Elphinstone Point, Arthur’s Seat, Galoni Point, Lodwick Point, Wilson Point, Babington point, Connaught Peak and Hunter Point.
Witnessing nature in its full bloom at Mahabaleshwar, together with savoring some of the best home-grown fruits and vegetables of the region is like double bonanza; and that is what you actually get to experience in this place. Therefore, don’t be surprised to see hordes of strawberries, mulberries, corn and cherry tomatoes, all available in abundance in the local stores of Mahabaleshwar. The fact that they are locally grown renders certain uniqueness to their taste and the savories made from them are a foodie’s delight. For instance, you just cannot miss the famous corn pattice or strawberry with cream, served in almost all the restaurants in this place. If you happen to be near the famous Hanuman Temple, don’t forget to taste the vada pav, the staple food of Maharashtra. The local vendors lend their own twist to this delicacy, thus giving this dish a whole new dimension. The different varieties of “chikki” preferred by the locals and tourists alike are also a specialty of Mahabaleshwar.
This famous hill station of Maharashtra gives you an opportunity to be one with nature. The looming Western Ghats makes its presence felt all over the place – be it in the form of weather or the captivating surroundings of mountains and valleys that makes Mahabaleshwar an ideal getaway for all nature-lovers.
Basking in nature’s glory is all what you would love to do from the several lookout points that this place offers. Starting from a height of 4,500 ft., these points are strategically located to capture the panoramic views created by the majestic Sahyadri Mountains, deep valleys, ideal for the sunrise and the sunset. Some of these viewpoints that should not be missed are Arthur’s Seat, Wilson Point, Kate’s Point, Elphinstone Point, Marjorie Point, Connaught Peak, 3 Monkey Point, etc.
The beauty of Lake Venna is enhanced manifold by the surrounding lush green forests, thus making it a major tourist attraction of Mahabaleshwar. You can easily spend one whole day in this place, participating in several activities like fishing, boating and horse riding. The numerous eateries available in the area outside the lake are sure to satiate your hunger pangs as they sell some very delectable food items.
If you have already soaked in the delight of juicy berries available in Mahabaleshwar then the lure of Mapro Garden will be irresistible for you. This place is a treasure trove of berries available in the form of preservatives like jams and marmalades, fruit salads and ice creams; the best part is its sampling counter that allows you to sample everything before buying!
- Hinal Shah