Mahabaleshwar, Queen of all Hill Stations, is situated at an
altitude of 1,372m in the heart of Sahyadri Hills in Satara
District. The hill station has a legendary past. The name
'Mahabaleshwar' is derived from a temple of Lord Mahadev and three
Sanskrit words, "Maha" (great), "Bal" (power) and "Ishwar"
(God). But, some say that the name 'Mahabaleshwar', which simply means
very mighty God, seems to have a mythological past.
The British in order to escape the summer heat of the plains and in their search for cooler pleasant climates, were always looking for mountain tops and plateau for recreation and change. So it happened that Col. Lodwick (Late General Sir Peter Lodwick) stationed at Satara, in April 1824 with a contingent of soldiers and Indian guides climbed up the mountain face reaching what is now known as the Lodwick Point. Thus Mahabaleshwar was "Discovered".
Mahabaleshwar is famous for its scenic beauty and the splendid views of the valleys and the sea, which is quite visible in clear days pony rides on the lanes of Mahabaleshwar, are quite thrilling.
Several charming hill resorts nestle in these mountains. They seem to belong to the colonial era when people traveled up to these resorts to escape the heat of the plains. Many of them still retain some of the Old World charm and make an ideal holiday destination. Mahabaleshwar is by far the best of any holiday spot in Maharashtra for climate, excursions, sports and many other activities. It is, after all, the "Queen of all Hill Stations"
Mahabaleshwar's 30 exotic viewpoints provide one with a
spectacular access to the ultimate in fascinating landscapes. Most of the
points derive their names from some former British dignitary and are
situated in the 10-km radius of the bazaar in Mahabaleshwar. Some points
can be reached by motorable roads, whereas other can be reached on foot
Waterfalls In Mahabaleshwar
Lingmala Waterfalls present an enthralling sight of cascading water as it scatters from atop a steep cliff into thin silver streaks, often encircled by rainbow colors. The other water falls-chairman and Dhobi, are popular with picnickers. The former can be reached by the Carviali Road. Dhobi waterfall is on a bridle path connecting Petit Road with Old Mahabaleshwar Road. A boat ride on the tranquil, crystal-clear waters of Lake Venna entices one beyond appreciation. The cool whispers of the surroundings add to the serenity of the landscape.
Also known as Sunrise point. It is the nearest and the highest point in Mahabaleshwar. It is a vast bare rock with three observation towers erected at different spots. It is a major attraction for tourists as it offers a beautiful view of the sunrise.
It is one of the earliest known points in Mahabaleshwar. Every evening visitors rush to the peak to get a spectacular view of the sunset. From the peak, one can also see Pratapgarh and Makrandgarh at their best.
Connaught Peak And Hunter Point
Connaught Peak and Hunter Point are situated off the Old Mahabaleshwar Road. Connaught Peak is the second highest peak of these hills. It offers a panoramic view of the Venna Lake and Krishna Valley. It was first known as Mount Olympia, and was a favorite spot for riders. The Duke of Connaught was so enchanted by its majestic view that he could not resist the temptation of associating his name with the spot. Hence in 1880, Mount Olympia became Connaught Peak.
The lake is spread over 25 acres is a great attraction for tourists. The lake offers boating and fishing facilities. Boating on the Venna Lake is a pleasure one cannot easily forget.
Elphinston, Marjorie And Savitri Points
On the way to Arthur's Seat one comes across Elphinston, Marjorie and Savitri Points and also Castle Rock. The cliffs at these points rise from the Konkan Valley, which are some 500m below the level of the Koyna Valley. The ravine between these points is the rise of Savitri River, which rushes down 700m straight from here. Elphinston Point is a Favorite picnic spot discovered by Dr.Murray in 1830 is named after the Governor of Bombay, Sir Elphinston.
Arthur's Point, named after Arthur Malet, is Mahabaleshwar's most famous point overlooking the densely forested valley. It is interesting from this point, to watch a straw hat or a handkerchief tossed down, sailing attractively in the air like a spread-out parachute!
This point offers a beautiful view of the Koyna valley and Chinaman's waterfall. Helen's point takes one into the midst of the valley and gives an enchanting view of tiny fields and neat little huts.
Named after a General who reached this point in 1824. He was the first European to set foot on the Mahabaleshwar hills. A monument at the top of the promontory has been erected in his memory. Beyond Lodwick Point is the extreme end of the mountain range known as Elephant's Head. It is only 12 feet to the Koyna Valley below. From Lodwick's point, the overhanging cliff looks like an elephant's head and trunk, and hence the name.
Kate's Point on the Mahabaleshwar-Pune road gives a commanding view of the Krishna Valley. Near Kate's point is the Echo Point, which, true to its name, echoes the words of the speaker
Arthur's Seat is known as Queen of all points. It is fascinating to see the barren deep valley Savitri on the left & shallow green valley on the right. It is more fascinating to know that Arthur's seat is the only place showing geographical distinction of Kokan & Desh, two territories of Mahabaleshwar, so clear & so near. If one go by the steps one will come across a spring known as Tiger's Spring, which is supposed to be the source of the river Savtri. Immediately below the seat is window point. One has to go deep by steps to reach the window point.
Old Mahabaleshwar nestles around the source of the Holy Krishna River, with a temple dedicated to Krishna' locally known as "Panchgana" meaning "Five Rivers" i.e. Krishna, Konya, Yenna, Gayatri and Savitri. The earliest shrines here date back to pre historic period, but this Krishna temple in its present form is attributed to Singhan, a Yadav King ruling from Devagiri in the 13th century. It was later restored first by Chandra Rao then Jaoli in the late 16th century and later by the Great Maharatha Shivaji himself in 1635, then by Sahu (1670-1709) and lastly by the 19th century banker Parashuram Angal.
Another temple worth visiting is the "Hanuman Mandir" which is not far from the "Krishna Temple". This temple is said to be the resting-place of the saint and mystic Rama Dassa in 1635. Then there is the Sri Rama Temple" and "Mahabal Temple", Lord Shiva is worshipped here not in the form of a carved Lingam but as a natural rock.
It is like a sister town to Mahabaleshwar, a health resort surrounded by five hills. There are atlas two spots for every hundred yards that one would consider taking photographs, and it really seems like a dream pastoral retreat, especially during tourist free monsoons.
Tapola is a great picnic spot and is also called mini Kashmir, holds the time still and offers a great view of the backwaters of the Koyna dam.
A formidable fort of Shivaji Maharaj has a serpentine winding charm. This fort holds a commanding view of the Konkan valley below and one can easily see Raigad fort in the west.
Like most hill stations, Mahabaleshwar closes up for the monsoon (mid-June to mid-September). Mahabaleshwar is generally crowded during the peak periods of summer vacation - April/May, Christmas - December and Diwali - October and November. The best time to visit this hill station is from October to May.
The throbbing and vibrant Bazaar of Mahabaleshwar offers everything from clothes to slippers, gift items. Madhu Sagar is famous for its various brands of honey and jams it markets, and it also runs a bee-keeping museum.
Air: Nearest airport is
Rail: Nearest railway station is Wathar at 62-km, but Pune is the convenient railway station at 120-km.
Road: From Bombay via Pune, Mahabaleshwar is 290-km and via Mahad it is 247-km. The State Transport buses ply from Bombay and Pune to Mahabaleshwar. MTDC operates daily bus services except during the monsoon, between Bombay-Mahabaleshwar-Bombay. Also sightseeing tours for Mahabaleshwar and Mahabaleshwar-Pratapgad Fort.
Being a popular hill station, Mahabaleshwar is well equipped with excellent holiday resorts and hotels for accommodation purpose including one MTDC Holiday Resort.
State Bank of India
Bank of Maharashtra
Union Bank of India
Satara District Co-op Bank
Mahabaleshwar Co-op Urban Bank
M. G. Rural Hospital (Government Hospital)