“The land of strawberries”.
Where is Mahabaleshwar?
The town of Mahabaleshwar is a hill station. Located at an elevation of 1,353m on a vast plateau in the Western Ghats, in the Satara district of Maharashtra.
85% of the strawberry production of Indian is grown here.
Mahabaleshwar is also well known for its numerous rivers, magnificent cascades, and majestic peaks.
The Krishna river originates here making it a sacred pilgrimage place for Hindus. Once used as a summer hill station retreat by the British Raj. Mahabaleshwar comprises ancient temples, lush green dense forests, and waterfalls.
Our journey from Pune to Mahabaleshwar was by bus.
During our time in Mahabaleshwar, we chose to stay at the CP Cottage Resort booked through Booking.com. The accommodation offers Indian food and a buffet Indian breakfast.
All guest rooms have a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and DVD player. Along with a private bathroom with a bidet, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Free Wifi is provided and hot water is available for a couple of hours in the morning. Free collection from the bus station is also included.
When we stayed the property was new, having only just opened 5 weeks earlier. Extremely nice, everything being brand spanking new to the extent that the TV still had the protective film on the front.
However, our happiness was short lived. When we looked at the bed linen, it was filthy, the sheets, duvet cover, and pillowcases. About to get our liners out for their first airing, then we realised that the duvet, mattress, etc were all brand new and spotless. So we stripped the bed linen off and just used the duvet.
Places of interest
Getting around Mahabaleshwar and the surrounding area can be difficult without having a vehicle. Uber and Ola are not allowed in the town. We used a local taxi for sightseeing. At Mahabaleshwar bus station there is the taxi union office. It is possible to get a number of different sightseeing taxi tours at a fixed price, as well as a fixed price taxi to wherever you want. Tourist rates do not exist in this town.
Although there are close to 25 ‘Points’ in Mahabaleshwar, lots of these points give a similar view of the mountains and valley from a different angle. Multiple tours can be taken and the price is fixed and reasonable. As we only had one day sightseeing, we chose to visit the following:-
Arthur’s Seat, Window Point, Tiger Spring, Echo Point, Hunter Point, Malcolm Point, Castle Rock Point, Savitri Point, Monkey Point, Marjorie Point, Kate’s Point, Echo Point, Elephant head Point, Wilson Point, Ganesh Temple, Plato Point, King’s Chair, Lingmala Waterfall and Mapro Gardens.
It was a full day tour and gave the best opportunity to see the fabulous scenery that the area has to offer.
We had some time to kill the following day, as our transfer to connect with our overnight sleeper bus to Goa didn’t depart until 2100 hrs. This gave us the opportunity to go and spend the day at Venna Lake.
A large lake surrounded by trees on all sides. There are boat rides across the lake and horse riding available next to the lake. A number of small restaurants and cafes are on the banks of the lake, making it a pleasant place to visit.
We were at a bit of a loss to know what to do on our departure day from Mahabaleshwar, as our transfer for our sleeper bus didn’t leave until 2100 hrs. Having done our sightseeing the previous day that box was ticked.
So we decided a slow walk into town followed by a coffee would make a good start. Followed by a nice walk through the market where Tania bought a really expensive skirt at £3.80. As we wandered a voice behind us said ” You’re the first foreigners I have seen”. We stopped and chatted with the American and his Thai wife for some time.
A short fixed price taxi ride took us to Venna lake where we relaxed on the waterfront watching the boats, horses, and spending time offline preparing some blog posts.
Lunchtime was calling. We headed back into town where we happened to stumble across Christ Church. A majestic stand alone colonial Christian Church, which overlooked a well-manicured little park with resident monkeys. Strolling through the park, we were again accosted by locals for photoshoots.
Making our way towards the restaurant we planned to eat in we walked past a chia shack. Into which we were beckoned. They say that street food is always the best, this is certainly the case when it comes to chia.
We had an interesting hour in the street chia/ food shack drinking chia with the local men who were recalling some funny stories and making us laugh. We left after being plied with 2 cups of chai and some lovely biscuits. None of which we were allowed to pay for.
So after all that, we gave up on going for something to eat and instead made our way back into town to have a drink and kill some time. We went into a bar and treated ourselves to half a bottle of India Chenin Blanc wine.
The waiter was like a dog with two tails that some westerners were in his bar. He sat us right at the front, as if to show us off, in return he kept a supply of complimentary snacks coming after amusing us by firstly, giving us champagne flutes for the wine and then shaking the bottle prior to serving it.
Our unexpected wonderful day in Mahabaleshwar didn’t end there. Having finished our wine we went for another wander and this time stumbled across a beautifully decorated hotel which was the venue for a wedding.
Asking the security man if we could take a look. He allowed us in, and unexpectedly we were invited to the wedding. Unfortunately, we had to decline as we had a bus to catch. We did however join in the festivities until we had to leave.
During our short time spent in Mahabaleshwar, we found the people to be very hospitable and friendly.