What to Discover in Mahabaleshwar?

 

An elegant niche, ingrained with a plethora of historical, geographical, and religious opulence, is the mesmerizing hill station of Mahabaleshwar mounted 1353 meters above the sea-level and located at a distance of 285 kilometres from the Mumbai Metropolis. A town, which is bejewelled with gorgeous masterpieces of Mother Nature and exquisite testifiers of human ingenuity.

what to discover in mahabaleshwar

The town is named ‘Mahabaleshwar‘ in Sanskrit, meaning, ‘the God with Great Strength’, a name, full of vigour and pride. It is also known by the name Kshetra Mahabaleshwar. Hindu mythology believes that it was the place where Lord Brahma, the Creator, meditated upon the creation of life when he was disturbed by the demon brothers Mahabali and Atibali. The latter was annihilated by Lord Vishnu, but Mahabali had the boon of dying only when he wished to. He was then impelled to die after he made an indelible promise to an enchanting Goddess Mahamaya. As his last wish, the demon asked for his name to be associated with the mighty Lord Shiva and the place be named after it.

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The Krishna River originates from Mahabaleshwar, from the mouth of a cow statuette, known in Sanskrit as Gowmukh, in the Krishnabai Shiva temple in old Mahabaleshwar. This temple was built by a Rajah of Ratnagiri in the year 1888 with beguiling ceilings and stone sculpted stanchions complete with a charming idol of Lord Krishna and a Shivalingam. At a little distance from the Krishnabai temple are the Shree Mahabaleshwar Mandir and the Panchaganga temple, where the confluence of five rivers- the Krishna, Venna, Savitri, Koyna, and the Gayatri takes place. It was constructed by the monarch of Deogiri Singhandeo when he visited old Mahabaleshwar in 1212 AD.  Encompassing a cluster of temples, it offers a hair-raising view of the rivers and the milieu of it.

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Apart from the religious havens, Mahabaleshwar offers bewitching geographical vistas, offering a heart-stirring experience of Mother Earth’s formulations in the form of exquisite elevations and charismatic cascades. Arthur’s Seat Point generally known as Suicide Point is situated at a height of 1470 meters and it provides a picturesque view of the Konkan on one side and the Deccan on the other. Owing to the air-pressure and elevation, small things, like coins and bottle caps, when thrown from here, float. This Queen of Points was named Arthur’s Seat Point after British Officer Sir Arthur Malet who lost his wife and daughter in the Savitri River and would sit and gaze at the accident spot. With Malcolm Point, Window Point, Tiger Spring Point, Echo Point, and in the vicinity, it would be wonderful to brace the atmosphere of the Sahyadris with coal-roasted corn and slurpy strawberry treats.

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A little away comes the Castle-rock Point, Savitri river Point, Three-Monkey Point named so, owing to the natural stone erosion that has taken shape of Gandhiji’s three wise monkeys, Marjorie Point and, the magical Elphinstone Point, named after Mountstuart Elphinstone, a Governor of Bombay Presidency that provides a panoramic view of the Pratapgarh Fort and the Koyna Valley. One must not forget horse-riding here and must experience the feel of a Maratha warrior majestically mounted on the horse, with a puffed-out chest looking at the heavenly view ahead.
The next stop would be Hunter’s point and the Connaught Peak, which the second-highest peak of Mahabaleshwar at an elevation of 1400 meters, formerly known as Mount Olympia renamed as Connaught Peak after Duke of Connaught visited the place. It offers an awe-stirring opportunity to delve into nature, into greenery, into the pure and serene beauty.  Then comes the Valley View Waterfall and the Venna Lakeview Point after which you can go further down, don a life-vest, and relish boating in the beautiful Venna Lake.

The next visit would be to the west of the Mahabaleshwar Market to the Dhobi Waterfall and the Lodwick point and the Elephant Head Point, or the Needle Point. The Lodwick Point was named after Colonel Lodwick who climbed the Mahabaleshwar mountains and named the place as a sanatorium for the British, for the relatively cooler climatic conditions that the British were accustomed to. The Elephant Head Point is so named for the cliff-form that resembles the head and trunk of an elephant or like the hole in a needle. Being the most attractive tourist spot in Mahabaleshwar, this place offers an alluring view of the Western Ghats.

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Touring into a history lesson now, after crossing the Koyna River bridge comes the Shivkalin Khedegaon, a traditional village museum depicting the golden Indian village life. Further ahead comes the Pratapgad Fort, the iconic ‘Valour Fort’ and the site of the Battle of Pratapgad fought between Shivaji Maharaj and Afzal Khan was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the year 1656. This place also has the 17 feet tall statue of Shivaji Maharaj unveiled by the first Prime Minister of India Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. A small temple was dedicated int the fort by Shivaji Maharaj for Shree Tulija Bhavani Maata, the goddess, whose temple Shivaji Maharaj was unable to visit. This place also holds the Maratha General Hambirao Mohite’s sword encrusted with six diamonds to signify that he had killed 600 soldiers in the battle. Another interesting tit-bit of information is that the fort is currently owned by Udayanraje Bhosale, heir to the former Satara princely state. With the dessert of viewing the Sunset Point, a one-day outing to the Pratapgad Fort and its vicinity would be just perfect.

Now to the east of Mahabaleshwar, lies the Wilson Point of Sunrise followed by the beautiful Lingmala Waterfalls in Panchgani, a perfect rendezvous with nature. When it comes to filling the bag with souvenirs and goodies like tribal pieces of art, beautifully crafted walking-sticks(chadis), handcrafted slippers, berries, and their jams, Mapro Garden would be the best spot, and if one happens to visit the place during Easter, the Strawberry Festival would be the silver lining. Mahabaleshwar, known as the Land of Strawberries offers the tastiest and delicious strawberries and its dishes.

And when on the way to Panchgani, why miss out the second-longest mountain plateau of Asia, the Table Land, a laterite plateau offering a peaceful view of the valleys and hills apart from fun-filled horse rides, mini trains, camping spaces, trekking routes, guides, and arcades, in short, an ideal weekend destination.

Be it a for nature-lover, or a history fanatic, or simply to indulge in wanderlust, Mahabaleshwar could be one of the best places to visit and spend some time to appreciate nature, to learn things that cannot be taught in a classroom, to learn things that books may not teach, to learn to take a break off from robotic lifestyle, break from running the journey of life, and as an experience to understand that in life, happiness is not any destination, but the very journey to tread upon.

So the next time you make a visit to this wonderful hill station, do not forget to experience with heart and soul the magical feeling that it offers and bring back beautiful memories, souvenirs and joys to last forever.

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