Mahabaleshwar travel guide: Top experiences you should not miss!
Next in our India travel guide is our Mahabaleshwar travel guide with top experiences to have and top places to visit.
Are weekend ke kya plans hai tere? Chal na kahi chalte hai.. Mahabaleshwar chale kya?
For years, people from Pune, Mumbai and nearby cities have been treating Mahabaleshwar as summer retreat. Just pack your bags and head to Mahabaleshwar or Mahabi as we know it. All the impromptu plans and weekend parties have been in this wonderful place, nestled amidst lush green mountains of Sahyadris.
Mahabaleshwar has a lot to offer in every season and for every age group and calendar would just not change its year without a trip to Mahabaleshwar!
History of Mahabaleshwar:
Let’s peak into fun history of Mahabaleshwar! The ancient history talks about a Mahabali demon who was harassing Brahma during his meditation and process of creation. So he asked Vishnu for help. Even Lord Vishnu could not kill him, as he had a boon of wishful death (ichhamaran). So he summoned Goddess Mahamaya, who was so beautiful that she charmed Mahabali. He granted her a wish and she asked for his death. But before dying he asked for the place to be named after him and hence the name ‘Mahabaleshwar’.
First recorded history of Mahabaleshwar is during 12th century, when Yadava King Singham of Devagiri visited this place and built the temple where the Krishna river commences its journey. This temple is still there in Old Mahabaleshwar.
Maharashtrians know history of Mahabaleshwar because of its close proximity to Fort Pratapgarh and the related story of King Shivaji and Afzalkhan.
Later in 19th century, this place charmed British Colonel Briggs and Sir Malcolm to such an extent that they converted it into official summer retreat of Bombay presidency. The area even came to be known as Malcolm peth, after Sir Malcolm.
So when you visit this historical place, here is our Mahabaleshwar Travel guide and the top experiences you should not miss!
Mahabaleshwar Travel Guide: Top experiences you should not miss
We plan a trip to Mahabaleshwar every year and enjoy it thoroughly. During the lockdown, I miss Mahabaleshwar the most as the memories were built there. So today I thought of recollecting my trips to Mahabaleshwar :
Also read: How to create a perfect itinerary
Mahabaleshwar with a Group of friends/family:
This is a typical lazed out holiday. One of our close relatives have a bungalow in Mahabaleshwar, so we generally pick up a group of friends and crash there. The two best things about that bungalow is – no mobile range and an awesome cook. There is some space in front of the bungalow for playing outdoor games or having a campfire at night. If you are lucky to get clear skies, you can even try star gazing long into the night.
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Another one was a bungalow at Wai and we all had a gala time. The bungalow was near the backwaters of the Dhom dam and the views were scenic. The food was simple but good. We played many games like volley ball, cricket, etc. The kids were running around, playing in water and having fun. We did a small trek to the backwaters and chatted the whole night! Everyone was refreshed after the small vacation.
You can get many such home stays in Mahabaleshwar. Just book a bungalow in Panchgani or Mahabaleshwar and spend the weekend relaxing, if you love “Do Nothing” kind of holidays. Panchgani is one of the top places to visit near Mahabaleshwar and has many sight seeing options available. Even horseback riding can be one of the fun activity you do in Panchgani.
For more information on Travel planning: do read our blog: Essential guide for travel planning
Mahabaleshwar travel guide for a couple holiday:
Mahabaleshwar is a perfect couple getaway too! If you need a small break from your daily routine, spend a weekend at Mahabaleshwar. You can ride a bike or drive through a car. You can walk through the shopping area or plan a short hike close by. There is also an option for some boating and other water sports at Tapola lake. Basically whatever you like to do, the wonderful weather turns it into a cozy weekend.
We had awesome fun riding a bike to Mahabaleshwar. As you turn right on the Wai lane, the views become amazing. There sugarcane juice shops en route. If you are riding in the summer season, it is mandatory to stop and have a taste. And there are so many locations where you can get best spots for a photo session. Try this as a couple activity.
Monsoon trip to Mahabaleshwar:
I remember our college picnic going to Mahabaleshwar during monsoons. Although, it was a low cost stay, nothing fancy, but Mahabaleshwar in rains is divine!
It rains so heavily here that you cannot see the road ahead. Even when it does not rain, the entire city is nestled in the clouds. The misty ambiance, the greenery and big and small waterfalls make this place even more beautiful than it is in other seasons. These definitely top the list of experiences to have in Mahabaleshwar.
We did a short hike to the Lingamala falls during rains and it was fun! We were totally refreshed after the walk on the trails and feeling the cold water from the falls!
Mahabaleshwar in winters:
Strawberry plucking is routine activity conducted on strawberry farms of Mahabaleshwar. You even get to carry the strawberries home. You have to experience the taste of ‘strawberry and cream‘ which is the specialty of the area. Strawberry wine is another product which you should definitely try.
Winters in Mahabaleshwar are very cold and hence do carry proper winter wear.
Temples in Mahabaleshwar:
Do not forget to visit the old Mahabaleshwar or ‘Kshetra Mahabaleshwar‘. The Shiva temple here has self manifested (Swayambhu) Shivalinga. There is a story that this Rudraksha Shivalinga was worshiped by Guru Dronacharya first. You can feel the pious air as you enter the temple.
There are other famous temples like Panchaganga and Krishnabai temples close by. Panchaganga temple is the place where five rivers viz Krishna, Savitri, Venna, Gayatri and Koyna originate from (ugamsthan). The water is considered to be holy and you can carry some back home.
Also, a must visit places near Mahabaleshwar is the Dholya Ganapati Mandir in Wai. Wai is a small village which is en route Mahabaleshwar. The temple has a huge statue of Ganesha, hence the name ‘Dholya (Fat) Ganpati‘ and is considered to be the one that grants wishes.
Tapola -Mini Kashmir:
It is called Mini Kashmir for its magnificent beauty! The Shivsagar lake near Tapola forms the backwaters of Koyna dam. It is known for gerbera and strawberry farm visits, jungle treks, water sports like kayaking and forest stays.
Shopping in Mahabaleshwar:
We always reserve some time for shopping in Mahabaleshwar market. You can schedule at least 2-3 hours the first time you visit the place as it offers many more activities than just shopping, especially for kids.
Along with shopping, we love playing those fun gambling kind of games in the market, eat ice lollies and then shop for chappals, hats and woolens.
Mahabaleshwar only for Mapro Garden:
There are a group of people who visit Mahabaleshwar only for Mapro garden visit. I must say I am one of them!
Mapro Garden park is a park developed by Mapro, a food processing company and is situated in Panchgani which is en route Mahabaleshwar. The cafe is known for its yummy sandwiches, pizzas and strawberry with cream.
You can shop for the a variety of Mapro products like Mapro syrups, chocolates, honey, khakras, etc. The garden also provides for many photo session spots, especially for kids, like the big strawberries and the car painted with strawberries. The garden itself is very beautiful with all the beautiful flowers making it the top experiences to have in Mahabaleshwar!
Pustakanche Gav (Village of books) – Bhilar
Being an avid book lover, this place was on top of my list of places to visit near Mahabaleshwar. With the help of the government, the houses in this entire village have been converted into theme wise libraries for books. They also provide home stays and home cooked food. So, if you are a book lover like what else do you need than a peaceful corner to read your favourite books, cozy stay and yummy home cooked food! This place is a must visit for avid readers! Do not forget to write to them first on their website before visiting.
Hope you liked our detailed Mahabaleshwar travel guide. I just cannot stop writing about Mahabaleshwar. You must experience the place to know what all this love is about!!
If you have already visited, then you must have your special Mahabaleshwar stories as well. Drop in a comment as we would love to hear them all!
Happy and safe Travels!!
For places to visit near Pune, also read: Waterfalls near Pune