Mahabaleshwar is known as the queen of hill stations. Mahabaleshwar is situated at a height of 1372 meters in the core of the Sahyadri Hills in Satara district. It is at a distance of 120 kilometers from Pune and 285 kilometers from Mumbai. Mahabaleshwar is spread over an area of 150 kilometers and it is surrounded by valleys on all sides. The highest point in Mahabaleshwar is situated at a height of 1438 meters above sea level. It is a compilation of the three villages called Malcolm Peth, the Shindola village and the old kshetra. The name is a combination of a temple of Lord Mahadev and a total of three Sanskrit words put together. The word Maha means great, the word Bal means power and the word Ishwar means god. On the whole it means mighty God. Nonetheless there are others who claim that is a myth. The source of the Krishna River which courses its way across Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh is here. Krishna River is the second longest river on the Indian peninsula. One can witness the source of the river at the temple. Besides this there are four more rivers that emerge from the cow’s mouth. These are Savitri, Gayatri, Venna and Koyna. The best time to visit would be between the months of October to May.
The earliest known account of Mahabaleshwar dates back to the year 1215. King Singhan, a Yadav of Devgiri visited Old Mahabaleshwar. He was the one who built a water tank and the temple at the source of the river. Then a Brahmain dynasty overtook command of the territory and brought harmony and affluence to the region. Later in the 16th century, Chandarao More reigned over Jaoli and Mahabaleshwar. The old temple that king Singhan built was reconstructed during this time. Finally, Chhatrapati Shivaji dominated the region and even constructed the indestructible Pratapgad fort in the year 1656.
Mahabaleshwar was discovered by Colonel Lodwick in the year 1824. Since the British couldn’t bear the Indian summers, they were always on the lookout for cooler places. Most of these are the present hill stations. They always went up the mountains in the vicinity to gauge the climate. If it was favorable they would set base in these places for the summers. The spot where he set foot on the plateau was christened Lodwick Point. The British who were stationed around Mumbai loved to spend their summers here. The cool climate and the delightful surroundings made it favorable. It was Sir John Malcolm who established the hill station in the year 1928. It appears as though nature has taken a brush and used it liberally in this region. The landscape too has a generous bounty of perennial springs, streams and waterfalls. Mahabaleshwar gained recognition throughout the world as a quaint hill station during the 19th century. In fact, even the Governor of Maharashtra has a summer residence here, which is called Raj Bhavan.
The only way to commute to Mahabaleshwar is by road. There is no airport or railway station in Mahabaleshwar. If you are traveling from Mumbai, you need to take the road via Pune or Mahad. The road via Mahad is more popular as it is shorter. You could take your private vehicle, a taxi or a bus.