The evergreen forest: Mahabaleswar

If you want to see the magic of Green with its multiple hues definitely you are in right place. An evergreen forest on a hill station of Sahyadri range of Western Ghats mountain in Satara district of Indian state Maharashtra


It is a popular and frequent visiting destination which is 120 km off from Pune, 285 km off from Mumbai and the National Highway 48 connects it. The approximate elevation from the sea level is 4,439 ft. Mahabaleswar, a tremendous crowded city in all weekends over the year. 


I am not sure how many shades of green are there. This small hill station is surrounded by full form of nature, covered with the lush green rug, hillocks, plateaus, the beautiful sky with different shape and colour of clouds, lakes, water streams, the perennial springs, waterfalls,  rivers everything .. what else are required to feel the nature. You will be really close to living world.


A world famous destination for travellers and tourists. Whenever you will go there , definitely will fall in love with this place. Specially during monsoon the floating clouds over the hills create a magical view as you can't see through the fog. The natural spray of water will keep you moist always. 


You may visit the place within one day and or you can stay the night on the hills. The next morning sun rays will welcome you in the green nature's lap. 


Due to favourable climate Mahabaleswar is the source of cultivation of strawberries, which contributes 85% of total production of strawberries in country.


Brief history: Mahabaleswar is an old hill station and source of river Krishna. Dated back 1215 CE the King Singhan of Deogiri first visited this city and built a small temple near to the source of Krishna river.


Apart from river Krishna 3 other rivers, namely Koyna, Veena and Gayatri comes out from the cow's mouth (gomukh) and they all flow some distance before merging into Krishna which flows East towards the Bay of Bengal. The Savitri river flows Westward via Mahad to the Arabian Sea.


This city and the hill had been ruled by Brahmin dynasty around 1350 and mid of the 16th century the Maratha ruler Chandarao More defeated the Brahmin dynasty and became rulers of  Mahabaleshwar and Javli. The current temple at old Mahabaleswar  was rebuilt during this era. 



Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj reigned over the Mahabaleshwar and Javli during 17th century and constructed the Pratapgad fort in 1656, which is 20 km far from the city.

Mahabaleswar was the summer capital of Bombay province during British rule. In 1791 the first British Sir Charles Malet came to here. 


In 1819 Col. Lodwick stationed the inclusion bill of Mahabaleswar hills at the territory of Satara and in April 1824 with some soldiers and Indian guides he climbed up the mountain. Now, the top of the hill is known as Lodwick Point.


After that frequently some British rulers started to climb the other peaks of the range and those points named accordingly to them, such as in 1828 Sir John Malcolm, Carnac, Frere visited that points. The Arthur points was named after Arthur Malet. 

According to history previously Mahabaleshwar was called as Malcolm Peth after his foot step on that hill. In 1829 the hill station and city called as present day name,  Mahabaleshwar

What to see?

There are some points to visit and you can hire cab to roam around the hill station. Though the rate of cab is too high. There is a special bus service  called Mahabaleswar Darshan which takes you to the famous places. But its a seasonal mainly operates in winter time, for timing and etc please visit the Mahabaleswar bus stand enquiry as I didn't get the bus.


Pratapgad fort: The fort was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is popular for in History of India as Commander of Bijapur Afzal Khan was defeated and killed by Shivaji Maharaj at Pratapgad.
The Stone carvings, different types of swords inside the Pratapgad Fort. 









The bus stop is surrounded with a small market where different colourful objects are selling. 
Just adjacent to the bus stop there a library which is around 150 years old. Inside the Library there is a billiard board and lots of historical book. 
The billiard board and the inside view of Library.
A must see is a water well in the heart of market at the Library compound which is almost 150 years old. It still provides water to locals and is some 100 feet deep.

The people, bubble, vibes and Mahabaleswar market.

Shri Kshetra Mahabaleshwar (Old Mahabaleshwar). It is 8 km from new Mahabaleshwar, north side from S.T. Stand of the Mahabaleshwar. It is a holy place of lord Shiva. Also there is UGAM (Origin) of the rivers- Krishna, Savitri, Venna, Gayatri and Koyna. 

Lodwick Point, Veena Lake, Mahabaleswar market, Wilson Point, 3 monkey point, Mapro Garden, Babington House.


Needle whole point or Elephant point: One can see a natural rock formation with a hole in between, thus giving the name Needle-hole. The point is also famous for the view of Deccan trap, which look like an elephant's trunk. It is only 3 km off from the Mahabaleswar bus stand. As I used  to walk regularly I went that place by walk. The cab charge is 550 INR for this short distance only. 

A wonderful couple @Mahabaleswar market. 
How to reach? 

One option is by private vehicle and second one is by bus (AC/NON AC). There are huge number of both Govt. and private operates bus services from Mumbai and Pune to Mahabaleshwa. It will take 3 and half hours from Pune if you are stated in early morning Bus services used to start from 5:30 am and the return bus timing from Mahabaleswar to Pune is 6:30 pm. The bus fare is nominal, 245 INR only. I went Mahabaleswar two times and stayed at night.  


Before reaching Mahabaleswar, you can get down at Wai which is 32 km far and see the beauty of that village. There is an old temple in this village and during the strawberry season you can get experience the cultivation of that. It will less than 1 hour only to see around the places. After that you can catch the red colour Govt. bus which travels towards Mahabaleshwa frequently. 


Get down at Panchgani which is 19 km off from Mahabaleswar. Hire a local yellow-black cab to see the Parsi point, table plateau and tiger caves, Ghatjai Temple and Sydney point. 

The Hostel of St. Joseph Convent Girls' School


Panchgani is quite famous for lots of schools the number is around more that 50 where all the schools are  with hostels or boating accommodation. The filmography for lots of Bollywood movies had been occurred here, in New Era school the movie Tare Ameen par was shot. Again from the Panchgani bus stop take the same red colour bus for Mahabaleswar and get down at bus stop. 

Where to stay? 

I went Mahabaleswar two times. First time I was in a homestay operates by Mr. Manish Dhaigude near to the Mahabaleswar police station and second time was in Hotel Suncity near the Mahabaleswar bus stop. 

In Panchgani, there is Zostel of both female dormitory or mixed (male & female) dormitory types, you can stay there, its quite cheap and amazing experience can have.



Manish Dhaigude is such an amazing guy who helped me lots to get the bus as I was almost missed that.  Manish bhai had a cab too for Mahabaleswar roaming and I was at his cab on the way to Mahabaleswar from Panchgani. Due to the traffic jam we couldn't come on or before time to Mahabaleswar and the Shivsahi bus supposed to leave for Pune @ 5:30 pm. My backpack was at his home which I left at morning. He managed to get the bag at bus stop,  talk to the snacks-pan shopper (beside the bus stop from where almost all the drivers and conductors used to have snacks n Sutta) to put my bag inside the bus and asked to conductor to take care of that bag. Then the bus came and I get in the bus from Mapro Garden stop where the bus shouldn't stop but for me it put a short stop.... Really it was one of  my anxious experience of travel stories.
With some persons I met on Mahabaleshwa Library: Puja Bhosle and Md. Hamid. They are working in the Library. Puja is also working in a Marathi news channel called BW News. 

A donkey , monkey and a butterfly in Pratapgad fort,  Mahabaleswar











Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A lost port: Mandvi

Rompope: an eggnog drink of Mexico

Moments with Maya and wildlife at Tadoba National Park