Knowing Mahabaleshwar

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Map Of Mahabaleshwar

Below is the map of Mahabaleshwar, in Maharashtra. Use the scroller to zoom as per your preference.
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Videos In Mahabaleshwar

Raireswar, Koleswar and Mahabaleswar peaks:

Video taken from Chandragad trek just opposite to Arthur seat point of Mahabaleshwar. Raireswar, Koleswar and Mahabaleswar peaks are visible from this location. The narrator in this video is speaking in Marathi.

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Trip to Mahabaleshwar:

Just a powerpoint loaded with pics converted to video, but the scenes are nice. Worth a look.

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Amazing Mahabaleshwar:

A short video taken of the valley – again the language in the video is Maharashtrian.

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Mahabaleshwar Panoramas:

Some Panoramas from Mahabaleshwar Hill Station, taken by a couple while on Honeymoon with Canon digicam A430. Nice one.

Shooting in Mahabaleshwar:

This is just some film shooting in Mahabaleshwar where the heroine seems to be giving a tough time to the directors on the set…

Places to visit in Mahabaleshwar

The nature buffs have several places they can visit namely Arthur’s seat, which is the queen of all points. When you look down from this point, on one side you will see the bleak cavernous valley while you can view a shallow but flourishing valley on the other side.

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Just below Arthur’s seat is another point called window point. If you take the steps leading down below you will come to Tiger’s spring. This is the source of Savitri River. The view here is magnificent.

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Lodwick Point as we know is named after Sir Peter Lodwick who was the first person of British origin to come here. You will find a monument here to commemorate his memory.

At the end of mountain range where Lodwick Point is situated, you will come to another point called the Elephant’s head. When you look at it from Lodwick Point, the cliff appears like the head and trunk of an Elephant.

Bombay Point is another interesting place to visit as the sight of the setting sun from here is impressive. People come here in droves in the evenings to catch a glimpse of it. Pratapgadh and Makrandgarh are also visible from here in all their glory.

Babington Point presents you with a charismatic sight of the Koyna valley and also the Chinaman’s waterfall.

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If you want to get a captivating view of the tiny fields and huts you should visit Helen’s Point, which is in the center of the Koyna valley.

Those who want to see an imposing view of the Krishna valley should head for Kate’s Point. The landscape here is incredible.

Another point of interest is Echo Point. If you holler from this spot the words will echo back to you.

Some of the points in Mahabaleshwar are views of the same place from different angles. Case in point would be the Castle Rock, Marjorie, Elphinston and Savitri Points. All of these are on the way to Arthur’s seat. Of these the Elphinston Point is the most popular as it makes a great picnic spot. It was discovered by Dr. Murray in 1830.

The spot from where one can catch sight of a spectacular sunrise is Wilson Point. It is closest to central Mahabaleshwar. Three observation towers have been constructed at diverse positions. Tourists flock here for the picturesque sunrise.

Hunter Point and Connaught Peak are on the way to Old Mahabaleshwar. The second highest peak here is Connaught Peak. You can catch a charming view of Venna Lake and Krishna valley from here. Earlier it was known as Mount Olympia. It came to be known as Connaught Peak as the Duke of Connaught was so captivated by the vista he just had to link his name with the place.

The most visited place in Mahabaleshwar is Venna Lake. The tourists throng here for boating. Boating on this serene Lake is an experience beyond compare. The adjacent scenery only serves to enhance the pleasure. The size of the lake is an impressive 25 acres.

Last but not the least is the alluring waterfalls. The water gushing down Lingmala Falls, a precipitous cliff is a sight to behold. Sometimes you can see the rainbow fall on it, which makes for a great sight. People who want to picnic enjoy a visit to the Chairman Falls and Dhobi Falls.

Temples in Mahabaleshwar

For the spiritually inclined the temples are a good place to begin. Krishna temple in Old Mahabaleshwar is known mostly as Panchganga, which means five rivers. The five rivers meet here and pour out of the cow’s mouth which has been built here. There is a certain aura about this place which is indescribable. One can only experience it to know.

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In fact, there is a legendary story behind the meeting of the 5 rivers – Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva performed a yagna on this site. Brahma was supposed to be consorted by Savitri, his wife who was not present at that time. Brahma realized that he was supposed to wait for her, but it was too late. Since the presence of a wife was mandatory for the yagna, he hurriedly married some local maid called Gayatri. When his wife returned back, she came to know about this incident and, in her anger, cursed all of them and turned them into rivers. Not to be left defeated, they retaliated and turned Savitri into a watercourse. Lord Brahma became Venna river, Lord Vishnu became the river Krishna and Lord Shiva became the river Koyna. Gayatri and Savitri continued to be rivers of their existing names.

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One could also visit the Sri Ram temple and Mahabal temple. The unique thing here is that Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a natural rock and not in the usual phallic form.

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The Hanuman temple is situated close to Krishna temple. It is believed that the saint Rama Dassa rested here in 1635.

Shopping in Mahabaleshwar

The center of Mahabaleshwar is next to the bus stand. The market begins here and leads up to the other end of the street. The market is full of activity. There is pulsating energy here especially in the evenings. Mahabaleshwar is so popular with the Mumbaites, inadvertently they will always bump into someone they know from back home at the market in the evening. There is a wide range of products that the market has to offer for travelers. People who are looking for gifts to take away are sure to find something interesting here. One can get hold of almost anything right from clothes to slippers etcetera. Handcrafted leather footwear is also very famous here.

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There are several apiaries in this region; therefore honey is sold in huge quantities here. Not only that, there is a vast variety of honey available. In fact some of the honey has medicinal qualities. You could find honey available for diabetics and also for people suffering from various other diseases. As a matter of fact, there is a bee-keeping museum here. Mahabaleshwar is also known for its strawberries. You could go to the farm and pick the strawberries for yourself. This leads to another industry. Produce made from strawberries. Several products made from Strawberries are available here. You could pick up jams, crushes, chikkies etcetera. Also you could stop to drink some strawberry lassi or strawberry milkshake which is very refreshing during the summer months.

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When visiting Mahabaleshwar, most people visit the nearby Pratapgadh fort and also Panchgani, although there are more than a few places to visit within Mahabaleshwar. It has at least 30 striking points from where one can catch sight of some extraordinary vistas. Although some would say you can stand anywhere in Mahabaleshwar and you will find something enchanting about the place. Most of these points are accessible by a vehicle. Some of them are titled after the British luminaries who visited here.

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