Journey

Weekend Getaway To Strawberry Land: Mahabaleshwar

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Workdays feel longer when you are waiting for the weekend. The last hour of Thursday felt like a decade. As the arm of the clock struck 6 pm, I hopped on my bike and didn’t spare a minute to look back. Packing all that I needed, I dived into my bed to wake up afresh the next morning and set the perfect tone for the trip. It took us 6 hours to drive from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar; stopping and drooling over the scenic views and stuffing roadside scrumptious food. We booked rooms at Berry Hill Resort, as it was closer to many of the top spots of the city. To find out more about our stay, the best places to visit, and foods to eat, keep reading!

 

Reconciling With The Nature At Venna Lake

Venna Lake is 5.8 km from Berry Hill Resort, which is about 15 minutes from the hotel and is one of the best places to visit in Mahabaleshwar. This man-made lake receives less tourist attention; thanks to my travel buddy for suggesting this placid lake as it was indeed a good surprise and a soul-rejuvenating experience. We were moved by the beauty and tranquillity of this place with the lush greenery and still water which was soothing for our minds.

The stunning vistas kept us awestruck for a while. Later, after recovering from the nature-induced coma, we gorged on Maharashtrian street food in the kiosks by the lake. Craving for some activity, we went on a horse ride and stayed at the lake to catch the sunset. The lake is open for tourists till 7 pm, and boating and paddling charges are quite affordable.

 

A Short Detour To Pratapgarh Fort

At a distance of 24 km from the hill station lies Pratapgarh Fort. It is the most popular medieval fortification in Mahabaleshwar. If you are a person who loves to connect with the history of our country just like me, then this short detour to Pratapgarh Fort is worth the drive. The fort is a precious relic of the Maratha Empire, reflecting the freedom (Swaraj) struggle during Chhatrapati Shivaji’s reign. We spent a day soaking in the lush terrains, small ponds, tree-lined walkways, and the history and grandeur of the fort.

 

Savouring The Richness Of Lingmala Falls

Lingmala Falls is 6 km from Mahabaleshwar Hill Station. The foamy waterfalls and cold weather creates a terrific ambience during monsoons. Though the waterfalls are steep (at a height of 600 ft), the green background with vegetation enhances the beauty of this place. Lingmala Falls is perfect for couples, families, as well as solo travellers. My friend and I had a great time at this natural treasure and clicked Instagram-worthy pictures. It is a joy to capture the cascading seasonal falls, majestic waters, and abundant flora with your buddies. With caution, you can trek and swim at these waterfalls. When you are tired, you can listen to the gushing waters and relax.

 

Drooling & Binging On Berries

Your trip to Mahabaleshwar is not complete without visiting the strawberry farms. Cream Corner and Mapro Garden are the famous strawberry farms in Mahabaleshwar and are totally worth visiting. Strolling along with the strawberry farm, breathing the appetising smell of the fruit and picking them are simple treasures of life. Mahabaleshwar has a variety of berries including gooseberries and raspberries too.

Mahabaleshwar is a heaven of jams, jellies, squashes, and marmalades. You can sample them at Mapro Garden. You can also visit licensed bee farms and have a look at how the beekeepers work and get a tour of the bee farming.

 

Shopping To The Heart’s Content

Mahabaleshwar has plenty of options when it comes to shopping. If you have a knack for bargaining and getting good deals, head to Town Bazaar where you can buy unique products. Trinkets, handicrafts, leather goods, wooden toys, decorative items and more are available at the local shops for the best prices. We went on a shopping spree at Pratapgarh, where different types of items are available in one place. You can get a good deal on clothes and jewellery shopping at the local shops in Mahabaleshwar with good bargaining skills.

 

Catching The Golden Hour At Arthur’s Seat

Arthur Seat, a mountaintop, is the most popular tourist spot in Mahabaleshwar. The place is named after Arthur Malet who lost his wife and a one-month-old daughter in a ferry accident in Savitri River. Since then, Malet used to come to this place and stare at the river. We got teary-eyed after learning about this tragic story. The Arthur Seat is at a height of 1,470 m. There are five other points, Echo Point, Hunter Point, Tiger Spring Point, Window Point and Malcolm Point along with Arthur Seat.

Arthur Seat was originally called Madhi Mahaal and popularly called as Queen of the Points. The point is famous for floating of objects, that is if you throw lighter objects like bottle caps in the valley they come back to you by what is called the Magnus effect. Picturesque vistas dividing Kolkan and Deccan will melt your heart. There are monkeys at the Arthur Seat. Be careful with them as they may grab your things and run away. We watched a monkey snatch a bottle of a tourist and finish the fruit juice in it in a gulp! Watching the sun go down from the Arthur Seat is a sacred experience.

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The Other Points…

Opposite to Arthur Seat, there is a window-shaped mountain, Window Point. Echo Point, as the name suggests, echoes sounds. We screamed toward the valley until we were out of breath and had fun at this point. Tiger Spring Point has natural waters with shores teeming with wild animals. From the Malcolm Point, you can catch good views of Tornagad, Pratapgad and Savitri Valley. The Hunter Point was used by the British for hunting during the Colonial rule.

 

A Surfeit Of Adventures At Panchgani

Panchgani is not only a scenic spot but also a host of adventure activities and is a perfect place to attain an adrenaline rush. You can hike, paraglide, bike, parasail and more per your thrill. Paragliding clubs at Panchgani offer short air travels which you shouldn’t miss if you love to fly. You can get a bird’s eye view of temples, dams of Wai, green landscapes and stunning vistas while paragliding. If you still have time, then go shopping at Shivaji Market Circle for quality leather goods, wooden handicrafts, and other knick-knacks. If you are not a shopaholic and would rather grab a bite, then the famous Maharashtrian sweet – chikki is a must-try.

 

A Feast For The Eyes At Sydney Point

Sydney Point is located 21 km from Panchgani and is a visual treat for nature lovers with its astounding views of the Krishna Valley, Dhom Dam, Kamalgad Fort and the city of Wai it offers. The views of hill ranges of Pandavgad and Mandhardeo are worth living for. Sydney Point is named after the then Commander-in-Chief of Bombay Sir Sydney Bechwarth in 1830. The Point looks more magical during monsoons, but the route becomes a bit challenging during the pouring days.

 

Horse Riding On Asia’s Second Largest Plateau

Table Land is Asia’s second-largest plateau, and it becomes difficult to cover the vast length of the plateau by feet. A whopping 95 acres of the plateau is covered with dense foliage of bonnet grass. The views of majestic hills and deep valleys are truly spellbinding. Apart from horse riding, people go there to witness the magic in the sky during the sunrise and sunset. We couldn’t stay there for the sunset as we were getting late. Table Land also hosts fun activities; horse riding, trekking, merry go rounds and arcade games. All in all, Table Land is a treasure trove of scenic beauty and fun activities, making it an ideal getaway. If you are bound by time, visiting Table Land alone will be enough to make most of the trip.

Mahabaleshwar has a mystical aura that will hypnotise anyone. We couldn’t escape its beautiful spell. Whether it is solo travelling or a romantic getaway, or an adventure voyage with friends, Mahabaleshwar fits all. You can make the most of this trip by travelling the 210-km stretch via NH66 in your vehicle.

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