Nestled in the lap of the mountainous range of Western Ghats, the beautiful hill station Mahabaleshwar is enclosed with vales, and located approximately 284Kms and 120Kms away from Mumbai and Pune respectively, making the destination an excellent site for the weekenders from the state of Maharashtra.
There was a time when the magnetic mound of Mahabaleshwar was eminent as Malcolm Peth. However, with its overwhelming grandeur, the place became an important center of retreat for the British, and as a result of this; in 1829 Mahabaleshwar turned into a summer capital of former Bombay presidency. Gradually, the natural exquisiteness of Mahabaleshwar became a popular hill resort under the foreign authority.
Being an absolute paradise for summer escape from Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar has no dearth of attractions and adventure activities to offer its visitors. Ranging from animated waterfalls to thrilling caves, the place is a popular tourist puller in Maharashtra. So if you are planning your next weekend trip to Mahabaleshwar, make sure you visit these five amazing places:
1. Mahabaleshwar Temple
This is a religious site where a holy shrine is built in the reverence of Lord Shiva. The temple is a must visit for Hindu pilgrims and worshipers of Lord Shiva. Devotees flock this temple to witness various religious belongings of Lord Shiva like; Lord Shiva’s bed, trishul and damru. If the local tales are believed to be truth; the temple was built in the 16th century by the Chanda Rao More dynasty. Besides its spiritual significance, the South Indian Hemadanta style architectural excellence of the temple also entices plenty of visitors from different parts of the country.
The temple is also popular as Mahabali to many devotees. The temple complex is segregated into inner and outer rooms. On entering the inner room, you get to see a black stone lingam, which is the key attraction here. In addition, some eye-catching carvings of sacred bull can also be spotted inside the temple. The tranquil and divinely ambience around the temple premises drives you to a different level of spirituality.
2. Elephant’s Head Point
Visiting a hill station may offer you variety of peaks with an awe-inspiring panorama of lush green surroundings. One such destination in Mahabaleshwar is Elephant’s Head Point, which is an absolute paradise for trekking and other adventure activities. An interesting fact about the name of the site is that the shape of the place semblances to an elephant’s head point. Apart from outdoor activities, Elephant’s Head Point is evenly popular for photography and picnicking. The sunset and sunrise view from the Elephant’s Head point is one more quill to the natural abundance of the destination. So, it can be said that Elephant’s Head point is a fascinating place from where you can kick-off the thrill of hill exploration in Mahabaleshwar.
3. Rajpuri Caves
Sprawled nearly 8Kms reach from the city centre, Rajpuri Caves is a worth exploring site in Mahabaleshwar. A mythological tale goes with Rajpuri Caves is that the caves here were in use for performing some religious rituals by Lord Kartikeya (son of Lord Shiva). The place also has a significant connection with the Mahabharata. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Pandavas used to stay here inside the caves during their exile.
On accessing the caves, you will get to notice different kunds on which, water flows from the holy river Ganges. In addition, a temple of Lord Karthikeya, temple of Ghatjal Devi and traditional images of Nandi can also be spotted at Rajpuri Caves. At the entrance, you can also catch a glimpse of various stone plates portraying some inscriptions carved on them. Every year a local festival is celebrated here during the harvest season. Visitors can access here all day a week from 6AM to 7PM.
4. Pratapgarh Fort
If you like history and enjoy exploring places related historic battles, you just need to travel 24kms from Mahabaleshwar. Built way back in 1665 by the Maratha Kings, Pratapgarh Fort has witnessed one of the vicious battles of history i.e. the battle of Pratapgad. Even today, the remnants of this ancient fort silently tell you many such war tales associated with this place. There is a blend of temples atop the fort, which were built here in reverence of Lord Shiva and Goddess Bhavani. In addition, a maze of ponds and gloomy pathway add more thrill to this historic destination. Pratapgarh Fort is an absolute delight for photographers and history buffs. So, what are you waiting for? Get soaked in the mist of majestic fortification and feel the thrill of battle, which was fought here dates back to decade.
5. Table Land
A thrilling horse ride and paragliding in the midst of murky hill always leaves you spellbound. Positioned at an altitude of nearly 4,551 ft above sea level, Table Land is the place where you get an opportunity to meet up your daring desire. This spot is eminent as the second highest mountain plateau in Asia after the Tibetan table. Sprawled over 90 acres terrain, Table Land offers you a charismatic panorama of green valley and adjoining caves. Apart from thrill and scenic splendour, visitors can also experience some mouth-watering dishes here in some of the eateries. If you want to reveal the best natural view of Table Land, visit here from August to September.
Apart from the above cited locations, Mahabaleshwar is evenly worth visiting for many other destinations like; Lodwick Point, Lingmala Waterfalls, Babington Point, Venna Lake and Mapro Garden. To read more about these sites, click here.
Reaching Mahabaleshwar is not a fuss. Even people outside Maharashtra can also plan a comfortable voyage to Mahabaleshwar. Here’s how one can travel to Mahabaleshwar:
By Air: The nearest airport to Mahabaleshwar is Pune, which is situated around 120Kms away from the destination. The connectivity between Pune Airport and various other major destinations in India is quite convenient. There are various renowned carriers that ply here on regular basis. Some of these are IndiGo, Air Asia and GoAir. From airport you can hire a taxi and cab. Additionally, you can also take a bus to reach Mahabaleshwar.
By Train: If reaching Mahabaleshwar by train is in your travel plan, there is nothing to worry about. Plenty of trains are there to reach Mahabaleshwar from the places like Mumbai, Pune and Wathar (60Kms). However, the most convenient and nearest railhead is Satara, which is located approximately 45Kms from Mahabaleshwar. From Satara railway station, you can easily hire a taxi or get into a State Transport Bus that will reach you to Mahabaleshwar. Some of the major trains to reach Mahabaleshwar are Chennai Mail, Hyderabad Exp, Udyan Express, Mumbai Mail and Mahalaxmi Express.
By Road: One who is planning for a joyful road drive to reach Mahabaleshwar, the place is well-knitted with its neighbouring places like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Solapur, Shirdi, Kolhapur and Aurangabad. Ample of buses are there to reach Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai and Pune that run under Maharashtra State Transport. In Mumbai, you can take a bus from Vashi, Dadar East and Sion. The road journey from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar is near about 5-6 hours. Alternatively, you can also hire a cab from any of the cited cities of Maharashtra to reach Mahabaleshwar.
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