Around Lake Venna, at 1,372 meters is located a hill station named Mahabaleshwar which lays in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Mahabaleshwar city was established as a health resort in 1829 and is currently one of the most captivating and largest (area wise) hill stations in the region. It can be said as a pinnacle of greenery which boasts one of the only evergreen forests present in the world. Scenery of the place is full of thriving hills, fascinating valleys and attractive points such as Arthur’s Seat, Lodwick Point and Babington Point. All these points offer the tourists and localities of the city with some spectacular views.
The hill resort got its name from the God “Mahabali”. In Sanskrit the word Mahabaleshwar means "God of Great Power". It is an evergreen vast plateau which consists of beautiful long roads best suited for long drives and running through the forests. Horse riding in these hills is one of the best options to enjoy the beauty of Mahabaleshwar. Apart form the scenic beauty, the city is also famous for its old religious sites such as the Shri Shankar Mandir, Shri Krishnabao Mandir and Panchaganga Mandir.
Mahabaleshwar once used to be the summer capital of the Governor of old Bombay Presidency. Plenty of mansions, cottages and bungalows have been built around it by the Britishers which add to the charm and sophistication of the city. Around 30 valley viewpoints are present there with panoramic vistas that are scattered all around the hill station. These valleys provide excellent access roads that make for shady, pleasant paths for trekking & walking. There are also plantations of corn, mulberries and juicy native strawberries.
Mahabaleshwar along with Panchgani stands as the most popular hill resorts in the state of Maharashtra. Being situated far away from the madding crowds this hill station forms for an excellent holiday destination. Nature lovers, film directors, peace seekers, holiday makers and adventure lovers are attracted by the natural beauty of Mahabaleshwar.
It is popular for the panoramic views of the Sahayadri hills which are at their best after the monsoons when the valley gets covered with the velvety greenery. Venna Lake near the city is a must visit place even if you don’t wish to go there for just voting. There are stalls near the Lake which offer an environment showcasing a small village fair and offers the best street food available in the entire city of Mahabaleshwar.
Mahabaleshwar is made up of three villages namely: Old “Kshetra” Mahabaleshwar, Malcolm Peth and the part of Shindola village. The city is source for the Krishna River which flows across the state of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. A spout from the mouth of a statue representing a cow that is located in the ancient temple of Mahadev in the Old Mahabaleshwar forms for the source of this river. According to the myths amongst the people residing in the localities, Krishna himself is Lord Vishnu that is the result of a curse on the trimurtis by Savitri. Also, the tributaries of the Krishna River are said to be Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva themselves.
There is an interesting thing to notice about the legendary source of the Krishna River that other four rivers also come out from the cow’s mouth apart from it. All these rivers travel for some distance before they actually merge into the Krishna River. These rivers emerging from the same source are: Koyna, Venna also known as Veni, Savitri and Gayatri.
The vibrant culture and heritage of this place is well defined by its vivid history. Marathi is spoken most commonly by the residents along with Hindi and English which are other main languages. Ganesh Chaturthi is the main festival celebrated by the people with grandeur. People in Mahabaleshwar are deeply connected with their customs and traditions and celebrate each festival and event in their unique way with their folk dance and music.
Mahabaleshwar is connected to other major cities in the country via an excellent network of airways, railways and roadways. Travelling by air will require you to check out at the Pune airport and then take a cab for the main city. Trains are another option available which will drop you at the wathar station which is located at some distance from this hill station. However, if you reside in the nearby cities like Pune, you should opt for driving to this place which makes for the best option available. Roads built in and around the city are beautiful enough to make your journey quite memorable. Bus service for the city is also a recommendable option.
Mahabaleshwar is located in the Satara district in Maharashtra making the converging point from three main cities of the state such as Mumbai, Kolhapur and Pune. This makes Mahabaleshwar one of the busiest hill stations in Maharashtra. As, it is a hill station there is no rail connecting directly with the city and also the airport lies at some distance away from the city. So, the best way to travel the city is by choosing roadways.
Mahabaleshwar can be visited by choosing either a state transport bus or private luxury bus from the major cities present in the state. As per government regulations, the tariff rate per seat falls in the range of about Rs 75 to Rs 250. However, luxury buses on the other hand will charge for a higher tariff.
Nearest railway station is located at Wathar located at a distance of about 60 kms away from the city. Several trains ply from Mumbai, Pune and some other major cities to the Wathar station. You can take taxi from the station to the main city of Mahabaleshwar.
Pune airport is the nearest airport connecting the major cities of the country to Mahabaleshwar and is located at a distance of about 127 kilometers from the city. It will cost you about Rs 300 to reach the airport from Mahabaleshwar using taxi. Mumbai Chattrapatti Shivaji International Airport is the nearest international airport to the Mahabaleshwar.
Facts and Figures for Mahabaleshwar:
Total Area: 150 km2
Elevation: 1,438 m
Total Population: 12,780
Total Density: 85/km2 (220/sq mi)
Official Languages: Marathi, Hindi
Time Zone: IST (UTC +5:30)
Telephone Code: 00 91
Vehicle Registration: MH-11 XX XXXX
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