Mahabaleshwar

Venna Lake, MahabaleshwarThis popular hill resort, in the state of Maharashtra, was once the summer capital of the Bombay Presidency, during the days of the British. Situated at an altitude of 1372 metres, Mahabaleshwar has splendid panoramic views of the scenic valley, and of the sea, which is quite visible on clear days.

Like other hill stations, Mahabaleshwar closes during the monsoon season. During this period, from mid-June to mid-September, the local buildings are covered with kulum grass to prevent any damage from the torrential rains. During this period, the region receives about 6 metres of rain!!

Sightseeing

Elphinstone Point, Babington Point, Kate's Point, Bombay Point are some of the famous lookout points. There are also some beautiful waterfalls, a short distance away, that are worth a visit, like Chinaman's (2.5 km), Dhobi (3 km), and Lingamala (6 km). Arthur's Seat, 12 km from Mahabaleshwar, looks out over a tremendous drop of 600 metres, to the coastal strip of Konkan.

Also a site to be visited, is the historic Pratapgad Fort (24 km), built in 1656, by Shivaji to control the rebellious Satraps of the surrounding Javali Basin. Legend has it that Shivaji was blessed with a shining sword at the temple of Goddess Bhawani here. It was the site of the famous battle between the Maratha chieftain Chhatrapati Shivaji and Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate. A major attraction in Mahabaleshwar is the Venna Lake, which has good fishing and boating facilities.

The best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is between October and June.

Access

Pune is the normal departure point for Mahabaleshwar,although Satara Road is the closest railway station. There is also an MTDC luxury bus daily, that plies in either direction between Bombay and Mahabaleshwar. Pune is the nearest airport, 120 kms away. State Transport buses run from Pune and Bombay.

Accomodation

Though there are several hotels in Mahabaleshwar, most are closed during the monsoon season. Amongst the ones worth a mention, are the Ripon Hotel, MTDC Holiday Camp, Hotel Saraswati, and the Regal Hotel.

Maharashtra