Mahabaleshwar derives its name from the presiding deity "Mahabali" whose shrine at the old Mahabaleshwar Temple is a major attraction for worshippers and tourists.
Nestling in the curvaceous mountain ranges of the western ghats of Maharashtra are the cool misty resorts of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani. Away from the crowds and noise of the city, these twin resorts are an ideal holiday destination.
Several little known but charming hill resorts nestle shyly 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.
Among the hill resorts of the state, Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani are very popular. Tucked away in the Satara district, they are best approached from Pune. Spared the commercialization that has affected the hill resorts of north and south India, the two resorts offer a clean, calm and thoroughly refreshing alternative. And, perhaps the only place in the country which offers a myriad activities-boating, fishing, horse riding, trekking and playing golf on the gorgeous nine-hole golf course built on the edge of a cliff!
Overlooking the Krishna and Koyna valleys, Mahabaleshwar, at an altitude of 1372 meters opens up a whole world of picturesque delight. With an air of unspoilt beauty, it is a paradise for nature explorers and peace lovers, as also for filmmakers and producers. The summer capital of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, Mahabaleshwar retains its quintessential charm, despite the increasing crowds that visit the town. Numerous majestic mansions built during the days of the British, still stand as monuments of the Raj.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is October to June and best time to visit Panchgani is September to May.
One of the great locations in Mahabaleshwar located at 1,240 meters above the sea level. Protruding towards pratapgardh from Mahabaleshwar plateau you will see the surrounding scenery with awe. Formerly known as Sydney Point, it was renamed after a monument in honour of General Lodwick . He was the first European to visit Mahabaleshwar.
Lingmala, Chinaman & Dhobi Waterfalls
These falls, though insignificant are situated in a lovely sequestered hook looking straight at the south side of the Elphinston Point ravine. Lingmala and Chinaman's waterfalls are 6km and 4km respectively from the town and are at the top of Venna Valley.
Elphinstone Point is a small scenic spot overlooking the two valleys, koyna on the left & savitri on the right. Elphinstone Point is named after a former Governor of Mumbai.
Lingmala, Chinaman & Dhobi Waterfalls
Queen of all points. Some compare the stractification of rocks on southern side to the world famous stratification of rocks of the Grand Canyon of Colarado. USA. It is facinating to see the barren deep valley Savitri on the left & shallow green valley on the right. It is more facinating to know that Arthur's seat is the only place showing geographical distinction of kokan & Desh (Deccan), two territories of Mahabaleshwar, so clear & so near.
If you go by the steps you come across a spring known as Tiger's spring which is supposed to be the source of the river Savtri. It gives a great view of the surroinding valley.
Wilson Point (Sunrise Point) -
The highest point in Mahabaleshwar at 4710 ft above sea level. It is a bare rock with three strategically positioned observation towers. It is also called as Sunrise Point.
It is called Sunset Point, since the expansive view of the sunset is one of the most beautiful sights in Mahabaleshwar. It Shows the sahyadri range koyana valley & pratap garh. One of the most popular and oldest point in Mahabaleshwar. It got it's name since it was on the old road to Bombay. Pratapgadh can be seen at north. Lovers point is left to Bombay Point.
The 2.4km Venna Lake is the favourite hangout of most tourists. It offers both boating and fishing facilities with the added attraction of wayside stalls and horse riding. It is also known for its luscious strawberries The lake is spread around 25 acres.The main purpose of this lake is to supply water to Mahabaleshwar. It was built by the King of Satara.
Pratapgad is 900 mts. above sea level. It was built in 1656 AD by Moropant Trimbak Pingale at the command of Shivaji Maharaja to dominate the road system of the empire. Pratapgad holds an ancient statue of Shivaji called Bale killa as well as Mahadev and Hanuman temples and a garden. There is a splendid view of the lush green valley and the forts Raigad and Makarandgad can also be viewed. On the east and the south the hills have steep slopes covered with dense forest in contrast with rocky west and the north. The hills gradually descend to the valleys separating Mahabaleshwar and Kineshwar range on the east and the Konkan valley on the west.
Sometimes described as the Switzerland of India or the Kashmir of Maharashtra, Panchgani is about 18 km from Mahabaleshwar on Wai road. Situated at an altitude of 1334 mts, it lies just 38 m below Mahabaleshwar. It is the first hill town one reaches from Mahabaleshwar on the Pune road. It gets name from the five hills around it. The climate of Panchgani is salubrious, cool, exhilarating and comparatively dry. Annual rainfall hardly exceeds 70 inches or 1800 mm. It makes Panchgani almost unrivalled as a sanatorium.It is famous today for its berry farms and orchards.The water of Dhom Dam keeps farms and rice fields irrigated all the year round.
Table land offers the panoramic view of Panchgani itself. It's largest in Asia, a small plane can land here.It is situated 60 meters high on the eastern side of the town. It protects Panchgani from strong winds, heavy rainfall and makes this hill station enjoyable all year round. It is a favourite playground for school children.