Mahabaleshwar is one of the most picturesque hill stations nestled in the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats. The captivating landscape of this magnificent tourist spot was also favored by the British during their colonial rule of the Bombay Presidency. This heavenly hill station is an idyllic retreat for spending some peaceful moments away from the humdrum of the city life.
Mahabaleshwar is also a renowned pilgrim spot and is visited by lots of pilgrims each year. The tourist attractions in Mahabaleshwar include scenic spots, vantage points offering stunning views of sunrise and sunsets, serene lakes, and beautiful temples.
Places to Visit:
Mahabaleshwar is built on a plateau and getting around is quite easy. Taxis and buses leave from the center of town near Iraniâ€™s petrol pump opposite the Club. Taxi service for sight seeing or local ferrying is centrally regulated with the office opposite the gate to the Govt Bus Stand.
The main destinations are the points named after prominent British administrators who found these splendid locations with unbeatable views. The points are located at various edges of the plateau in different directions. Rental cars and taxis can get there quickly. For the more adventurous, horses are available in town and there are lovely shady bridle paths for delightful rides.
Although there are close to 25 vantage points in Mahabaleshwar, lots of these points would give you the same view of mountains and valley from a slightly different angle. The following are a must:
Venna Lake: Most popular lake of Mahabaleshwar, because of its verdure surroundings and sparkling water. With a length of 2.5 m and the availability of boating and fishing facilities, the lake allows people to enjoy the placidness of its water, while feasting on natureâ€™s bounty. There are also strawberry stalls that surround the place, with ponies trotting nearby. This makes it very popular among tourists, especially children.
Lodwick Point: This place which was formerly named as Sydney point offers a beautiful view of Pratapgarh and Elphinston point. The beautifully isolated cliff which stands between the two deep gorges, offers a splendid beauty of the surroundings.
Arthurâ€™s Seat: This point at an elevation of 1340 mts. The point was named after Sir Arthur Mallet, who sat here and gazed at the Savitri River, where he lost his wife and children in a tragic ferry mishap. The point is a very scenic location to visit. Many tourist cabs have this point in their tourist plans.
Babington Point: Babington Point is a popular point located in the hill station of Mahabaleshwar. At an imposing height of 1294 meters, this hot spot is a favourite amongst sightseers and tourists. The path that leads up to this point is replete with a green boulevard and provides for a fantastic view of the land beneath. The Chinaman Waterfalls and the Koyna Valley are two places that can be clearly seen from here.
Wilson Point: Named after Sir Leslie Wilson the Governor of Bombay from 1923â€“26, Wilson Point is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar at 1439 mts. It has three observation towers that offer spectacular views of the entire place and the valleys below. Wilson point is the only location in Mahabaleshwar where both sunrise and sunset can be seen.
Kateâ€™s Point: Kateâ€™s point is located to the east of Mahabaleshwar and is famous for its view of two reservoirs, Balakwadi and Dhom. The point is around 1280 mts high. The point got its name from Sir James Malcomâ€™s daughter Kate, who developed a liking for the place.
Bombay Point (Sunset Point): Bombay Point is also known as Sunset point, as tourists visit this place to see the varied shades of the setting sun. The place has a large open space, which incorporates a bandstand. This point is an ideal picnic spot and is one of the oldest vantage points in Mahabaleshwar. The point got itâ€™s name as it was on the old road to Mumbai.
Elephantâ€™s head Point: The point leaves incredible views of the surroundings. The mountain range of Sahyadri is also visible from this point. The Elephantâ€™s Head Point is one of the best points to be visited in Mahabaleshwar. The cliffs which overhang remind you of an elephantâ€™s head and trunk. Thus the point got its name as the Elephantâ€™s Head Point. The tourists and the visitors should take a pony ride or walk from the parking area to the spot.
Lingamala Falls: (best viewed from behind Surya Resort) Lingmala falls is a beautiful 600 ft high waterfall. Lingmala waterfall is located 6 kms. from the main Mahabaleshwar town on the Mahabaleshwar-Pune road. The waterfall plunges down 600 ft. in two layers in to a dense valley. The way to the waterfall and area surrounding is dense with vegetation and offers a scenic view of the valley. July to December is the best time to see the waterfall.
Panchgani: Panchgani about 20 kms from Mahabaleshwar is christened based on â€˜Panchâ€ as it is surrounded by five hills of sahyadri, and â€œGaniâ€ meaning settlement. There are many places in Panchgani that are a must see. One of the most famous places in Panchgani is its Table Land, situated around 60 mts high, Table Land is a flat stretch of laterite rock and is the second longest mountain plateau in Asia. Many large caves are seen from here, the most popular one being the Devilâ€™s Kitchen. Parsi Point is also one of the places which is a must see for every tourist in Panchagani. It is actually the windiest point in Panchgani and is situated on the road to Mahableshwar. Mapro Garden, situated on the curvaceous roads between Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, is a haven for tourists hungry for strawberry delicacies as well as factory fresh items like jams, syrups squashes and confectionery items by Mapro Foods Pvt Ltd.
Tapola: Tapola is 28 km away from Mahabaleshwar. The place is ideal for picnic and boating because of its beautiful environment and the Koyna Damâ€™s back water. The view of the dam, the rivers, the beautiful Sahyadri range and the deep forest all look so beautiful from this place. The Koyana river on one side and the Solshi on the other and the merging of both these rivers at Tapola is a breathtaking sight. The dam built here is the biggest in Maharashtra and is called the â€˜Shivsagarâ€™. There are boating and water sports facility at Tapola.
Pratapgarh Fort: At a distance of 25 kms from Mahabaleshwar stands the majestic Pratapgadh housing the tomb of Afzalkhan at the toe of the fort. There is a temple of bhavani mata, the idol of worship of King Shivajiraje Bhosle. There is a statue of Shivaji Maharaj inside the fort called Bale killa.