Remember those ‘bachpan ke din’ when the nearest holiday spots your parents took you to were Matheran, Lonavala, Khandala, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani? My parents did the same thing… but since I was super young I barely remember anything about those trips. Hence I thought of spending my long awaited ‘long weekend’ in Mahabaleshwar. Turns out, it was a real good idea after all!
Let’s start from the beginning…
I decided to take my little weekend trip to a Hill station named Mahabaleshwar, located about 247 km from Mumbai. For those of you who don’t know, Mahabaleshwar is the largest hill station in the Sahayadri range of Maharashtra state in India. It is situated at an altitude of 1372m above sea level in Satara district, about 115 km southwest of Pune.
It was a very spontaneous plan and so I got out my little old Santro and in no time pepped it up for a 5 hour drive (which in India can be estimated to stretch to ’bout 8hrs). Although I had planned to leave the house by 6.30 – 7.00 am on the dot, after a major rush hour I managed to commence my journey at about 9.00 am. I was extremely excited at how astonishingly my ex-tempo idea was coming to life.
Without a real plan, I had absolutely no idea what to look forward to!!
After one tiny pit-stop for a quick breakfast and after a super long drive, I finally reached Mahabaleshwar. There I managed to find my way to a hotel I had read about in the papers – The Fountain Village! It was a relatively new hotel located bang in the center, surrounded by a heavily loaded market and tons of fast food restaurants. It was a neat brick oldish structure but with a touch of modernity. I booked me a Delux Room which turned out to be gigantic, albeit it had the drawback of not having any Hill station View. But nonetheless, it was the perfect place to stay coz it felt as cosy as home!
The hotel was studded with this sparkling beautiful swimming pool (which I didn’t really get to use, coz the weather was nice & wintery!). It also had a little porch, just outside the room to sit & soak in the sun while sipping some Tea.
After lazing around, enjoying the comfort of my lavishly soft bed, I dragged myself out of the hotel by 6-ish pm. I rushed through the getting ready part and headed out as soon as I could. First I went to the food court on the main road and stuffed some famous strawberry shakes & corn pattice.. I even packed up some corn masala for later.
Once I was done satisfying my growling tummy I trotted towards the Venna Lake, situated almost opposite the market, and decided to go boating. For the harsh city eyes, it was such magnificent beauty – peddling through calm waters, watching couples celebrate their wintery honeymoons, romancing while the sun sets and the sprinklers in the center of the lake wetting everyone that passed, it was a treat to sore eyes!
Once I was done exploring the whole of the Lake area, I surveyed the main market, which (trust me) is really loaded with cheap imitation of what you get in Mumbai as well as some really nice Kolapuri Chappals. Beware, they DO NOT follow the “barabar bhaav batao” concept in Mahabaleshwar. “Lena hai toh lo, nahi toh chalte bano!” wala system hai!
After an 8hr drive in the day and an evening like that, I was too tired to do anything else and so I crashed!
This was a Tapola River day!!!
I was super excited about my little water scooter adventure and so after combating a tyre puncture, stopping a million times on the way to the river and clicking away on my Canon for hours, alas I reached the river. The 1.30 hour route to there was splendid!
After I had my fair share of water scooter-ing, sight seeing & photographing, I journeyed back to the hotel to freshen up before attacking a sizzler joint where it was too late to order anything except what was left in the kitchen. But the food was good & the beer was legit. You know why I know this?! Coz I started buzzing.. Thanks to that I had to go back to the room and get some sleep.
After an hour or so of napping, I drove my way to the some of the famous points of this hill station, namely,
- Arthur’s Seat
- Kate’s Point
- Elephant Point
That’s all I could manage in the little time I had before the darkness set and the sightseeing areas were out of bounds. Totally worth it!! Definite ‘must visit’s every time people come here. Although there are many more scattered all over this place, it’s hard to get to them all in one evening.
It was now time for market exploration! When you come to Mahabaleshwar, there are certain ‘Have-to’s one has to do, one of them being pack a bag full of chikki, strawberries and maybe a few chappals! I was happy with my shopping… Since I didn’t want to go back to the room so early, I thought of going night scavenging to unguarded points that are actually to be seen in the day. It turned out to be more of a haunted drive than anything else, surrounded by dead plants and endless roads. No life for miles & miles, no GPS working on the route & of course my mind humming a horror movie background score.. T’was spooky! Naturally, it didn’t last too long.. Chickened out & scrammed back to my safe nest, skipped dinner, packed my bag since check out time was 10.00 am the following morning, and then I hit the sack.
This was the last day to my amazing weekend. I chose to have a quiet breakfast out on the porch. Staring into the street, I mentally charted out a quick plan for the day with some help from Google. All set for another road trip, I checked out and took off all excited! First stop : Mapro Garden
This Garden is just outside Mahabaleshwar.. Strawberry Paradise!! I loaded my bags with fresh strawberries, squashes, chocolates & my camera with the following view…
I took a tour of the farm, the chocolate factory and ordered myself a heavenly milkshake with chunks of the best strawberries at the food court before leaving. The other stops were famous points, like,
- Parsi point
- Sydney point
- Asia Plateau
Honestly, we never really realize how beautiful India actually is until we come to spots like these. Most of our country being covered with filth, it overshadows the natural charisma of the place. But exploring such picturesque places is truly worth the time, money and effort.
I spent the rest of the 6 hours driving back home thinking to myself that I want to be able to spend the rest of my life doing this! Exploring places that are famous as well as places that are not so famous, capturing nature’s exquisite beauty and writing about it, wanting the world to read about my escapades!
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed the experience!