Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Strawberries cherries and an angel's kiss in spring ...

That is exactly what Mahabaleshwar is all about in the Indian summer! A place to escape the torrid heat that grips Mumbai, a place to romance strawberries and mulberries, a place to cool off in the thunderous hailstorms that shower the hot tin roofs and plunge the temperatures for lovers to revel in!

Mahabaleshwar has something for all – young and old, trekker and stroller, shopper and foodie or maybe someone who just loves to laze around. Therefore, you will find families, backpackers, moony honeymooners, all doing their own thing and generally having a good time.

To ensure that we beat the crazy traffic, we set out from Mumbai at 0600hrs and it sure was a breeze driving on the broad, traffic free roads. The roads all along were in great shape and we covered the 230kms in just under 5hours including a leisurely halt for breakfast at Vithal Kamaths in Mahad which is about 180kms from Mumbai. After an excellent breakfast, we moved on and soon were at Poladpur – the turning point for Mahabaleshwar! Then the ghat section began with narrow roads and continued right through to Mahabaleshwar. As the traffic was sparse, the narrowness of the roads did not pose much of a problem. Just had to look out for the mini-trucks that were driven by F1drivers! The ghat is steep at places and is winding which could pose problems for people suffering from motion sickness.

The road to Mahabaleshwar on the ghats.

Before you know it, you will be facing a checkpoint where they collect ‘Pollution tax’ from all vehicles entering Mahabaleshwar. It is at a T-junction. If you want to stay in MTDC or the PWD cottages turn right, otherwise for all private Hotels, turn left.

The MTDC reception office

We had our reservations in MTDC (which always has the best locations at all destinations), so turned right and checked in. You can make your room reservation at MTDC online at http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in. The MTDC cottages are very close to the sunset point or Bombay point and just a couple of kms away from the main market. Therefore, you have the convenience of the market place, yet away from it all, in the peaceful environs of the wooded hills.

Our cottage in MTDC

Drove down to the market place for lunch. Vehicles are not allowed on the main market street; however, there are a couple of parking lots near the bus stand, which is quite convenient. Having parked, we set out to do a recce of the restaurants in the area. There were quite a few vegetarian restaurants and a couple of restaurants serving non-vegetarian fare. Having walked the distance, munching strawberries, mulberries and chickpeas we settled for a moghlai lunch. It was okay, nothing to write about, just about average.

On the way back to MTDC, saw a board directing towards Lodwick point. Though we were not very keen on visiting many points as had been there done that, on an impulse, got onto the road towards Lodwick point.

It is named after a General, the first European to set foot on the Mahabaleshwar hills, who reached this point in 1824. A monument has been erected in his memory.

Beyond Lodwick Point is the extreme end of the mountain range known as Elephant's Head. From Lodwick point, the overhanging cliff looks like an elephant's head and trunk, and hence the name. The views were breathtaking.

Suddenly, the sky started filling up with dark rain clouds prompting us to beat a hasty retreat. We had just entered our cottage, and we were treated to a heavy hailstorm, which lasted for about half an hour. This effectively brought down the ambient temperature to a very pleasant level.

Had a disastrous dinner experience at the MTDC restaurant. It looks good but looks are deceptive. The service was good but the food atrocious.

Our friendly neighbours!

The options of early morning activities are numerous ranging from walking, jogging to horse riding or just plain strolling on the MTDC campus. On the other hand, there is Wilson point where one can go to catch the sunrise. This is very close to MTDC. Actually all points, numbering 30, are within a radius of ten kms and all motorable with a bit of walking now and then.

The view from Kate's point is......as above!

In old Mahabaleshwar, there is the Shri Shankar Mandir. The Mahalinga of lord Shiva is in the form of Rudraksha and believed to be 'self-bodied' (swayambhoo). It is called Trigunatmaka meaning Brahma-Visnhu-Mahesh are on it for ever. On the head of the Mahalinga, you see the marks of the five holy rivers (Panchaganga). Shivaji weighed his mother Jeejabai against gold in this temple and then distributed the gold in charity. No photography at the temple.

After a visit to this temple, we drove towards ‘Arthur’s seat’ and ‘Kate’s point’. Both these points are worth a visit. Plenty of photo opportunities are provided at both these points.

For lunch, we discovered a wonderful five-table restaurant ‘Grapevine’ behind Imperial stores in the market place. It is parallel to the market street. A lovely cozy place and the only restaurant that actually serves a wide range of wines along with some delicious Italian or Thai food!

These are the quaont little seats at Grapevine restaurant. Not very comfortable but the food and the ambience makes it worth the while.

Next morning, we checked out at 0900hrs, had a leisurely breakfast at Shreyas Hotel. After some wonderful masala dosas and uttappas, we set out towards Panchgani. On the way stopped at ‘Deepak strawberry farms’ and picked up some real delicious strawberries, fresh from the fields!

On the return trip took the Panchgani-Wai-Pune-Lonavala-Mumbai trip. This route is longer by about 50kms but due to the expressway is quick and the roads right through are very good.

Even the ghat section is gradual and no steep tight turns. We took a break at Lonavala at Sunny-da-dhaba, a very popular eatery on the highway serving some authentic Punjabi food with a typical village ambience.

Reached Mumbai at 1700hrs after a leisurely drive following a rejuvenating holiday in Mahabaleshwar.

The total amount of toll both ways that we had to shell out was Rs.301/-.

If anybody is interested in staying with the locals, you may visit http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/mtdc/html/MaharashtraTourism/Default.aspx?strpage=../MaharashtraTourism/Bed_Breakfast/Mahabaleshwar.html for further details.


  1. An interesting travelogue with lovely pics... Wow what dessert was that... looked yummy... (oh well being the foodie that i am .. cant resist asking about it :) )

  2. Wow! I am under impression.
    I'll be back later.

  3. I'm back to enjoy again the beauty of Nature. I think this is not my last visit.
    These strawberries must taste good, similar as Poland strawb.

  4. This is an excellent travelogue We have provided a link to this in our destination guide section at the site - Budget Accommodation and holiday ideas.
    Our portal aims to enrich people's life by encouraging them to travel. We list good decent budget family accommodation with reviews from our
    editorial team and from users across the world. We also provide practical and pragmatic holiday ideas.

  5. Lived in Mahab before there was electricity. When Indira Ghandi visited, we had electricity! Used to eat channa from the channa-wala and attended the church above the bazaar and then visit the observatory above and behind that. Lived at Mt. Douglas. Visited Mahab in '06 and visited the Grape Vine there and had the most excellent fish dish for lunch and met with the owner/chef and retrieved an awesome Indian omelette recipe. Mahab boasts the most extensive collection of wild birds. Now, as for the bands of monkeys running over our corrugated tin roof in the mornings... Shivaji is a childhood hero. fitzr0y@yahoo.com

  6. The Place Mahabaleshwar is a place where any one want to have their holidays to be spent. There are very good hotels for Holiday Tour or Honeymoon Tour. Some of them are Recomanded are Brightland, Gautam, Ramsukh, MTDC Holiday Resort, etc.

  7. Thnx for that peace of information was reallyy a lot informative and will help us plan things...!!!!

  8. I have recently visited Mahabaleshwar with family holidays.This is awesome place to spend your holidays.All around greenery will attract you and you will never wants to go out of there.
    i have booked by trip through website :

  9. Great pictures.. me too have a blog on Mahabaleshwar. http://silkroutetravel.blogspot.com/

  10. Good..Very well written...!!!

  11. nice pics as usual!! have read an article of yours in DNA also if i remember correctly..

    We have a travel website which is a Maharashtra travel Guide in which we have a page for Mahabaleshwar with lot of information regarding the place including Mahabaleshwar Hotels. We also have a page for blogs on Mahabaleshwar. Please do let us know if you would like to feature your blog in the Mahabaleshwar Blogs page. please write to puneritraveller@gmail.com

  12. hi..plz tell me as how can i book a room at MTDC resort and what is the tarrif in the month of October..

    1. You can book online at http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/
      All rates/availability available on the site

  13. you have taken great pains to let us roam about here again!
    Readers should also go to see the MTDC stay area ..Governors and VVIP bungalow are next to it ,,Next to it is Polo or horse running ground where you should gallop the horses and enjoy .The isolated road has great bungalows of the barons and business men of mumbai pune..Tapola lake is mini Kashmir if you have time to go 27 kms on a ridge road..Go in rains some times..it pours sheets of water..Old mahabaleshwar temple is worth seeing..mapro garden is good too ,you might also spot some celebrity at Ravine hotel.