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Mountain Beckons - A Trip from Pune to Mahabaleshwar

Breathtaking landscape, lush green fauna, cascading waterfalls, the serene atmosphere, salubrious climate is what one will trade anything for. As they say - 'there is a lid for every pot' – and yes! Pune seemed to have a getaway for every weekend. “The Land of Strawberry”, beckons us...

Trip from Pune to Mahabaleshwar

In Sanskrit, Mahabaleshwar literally means “God of great power”. Mahabaleshhwar one of the most beautiful hill stations of Maharashtra is just 120 km from Pune, situated at about 4500 feet above sea level, in the Western Ghats. The roads are in a good condition, except for a few patches, one has to endure, given the difficulty of maintaining mountain roads in Indian conditions.

With our perpetual getaways, the basic thumb rules were clear. All of us knew our routine and the SOPs were well in order. We were all set to explore the nature’s cocktail...

mapro garden

The route we followed was Pune – Pune Satara NH – Surur - Wai – Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar.

After a two-hour drive enjoying the green pastures, clean crisp air, we stopped at 'Mapro gardens' at Panchgani. The story began with an experimental jar of strawberry jam and has come a long way. It attracts tourists from across the world to its 'annual strawberry festival'. If you happen to be there during the Easter weekend, do not forget to be a part of this festival, where you get to taste the best strawberry produce, innovative strawberry based products, and a peep in to the the state-of-the-art technology processing. I was happy to pick some of the bottled strawberry delights viz.crush, jelly, and chocolates.

strawberry festival

Mahabaleshwar alone accounts for 85% of the finest strawberry produce in India. If you are looking for a one-stop shop for farm fresh strawberries, Mapro is ‘the’ place. The whole drive to Panchgani was mesmerising, with the view of River Krishna flowing all along, and stretches dotted with cottages built in colonial style. Panchgani is a picturesque piece of land no wonder, also known to be the ‘Switzerland of India’.

The tabletop land which is a volcanic plateau, is another spot thronged by tourists. We also visited the Panchganga temple en route Mahabaleshwar, the Parsi point was flooded with tourists, we decided to move on.

MTDC resort

We reached Mahabaleshwar and started looking for the hotel we had booked online, disaster brewing in the horizon. Once we reached the destination, we were told about renovation issues, the unavailability and were ushered in to another place, which was dingy. This meant, the herculean task of running from one desk to another. Here is when a blessing in disguise walked through suggesting a place run by 'Maharashtra Tourism development corporation', which sounded like safe haven given the circumstances.

A 2-km drive sans any difficulty, we reached the resort. Spread across 40 acres the location was massive and splendid. The rooms were not in ace condition, but it was negligible given the myriad advantages, right from the set up which nestled in the arms of nature. The cottages faced a thick foliage, park with enough playing equipments, a restaurant, flashing a decent menu, an ayurvedic spa, which I made the utmost use of. We settled for the day.

An early morning stroll in the nearby woods minus hovering tourists, gave us a sense of relief. After a quick breakfast, we were all set to explore the place.

venna lake

Venna Lake: The lake mystified us with its beautiful layout amidst a lush green landscape. It was a clean, crisp morning and the lake was inviting, a boat ride was but inevitable.

lodwick point

The Lodwick Point: This point once known as the Sydney point was rechristened as Lodwick point in honour of General Lodwick who was the first to scale the hill. A monumental 25-ft pole stands erected. The very approach to the Lodwick point was exciting, since we had to walk through dense foliage, tunneled by trees. From this vantage point, we could see the majestic Pratapgad fort and the whole stretch of Western Ghats. It was as though we were amidst a green ocean.

arthur's seat signboard

The Arthur's Seat: This point has a kind of melancholy attached to it, this point is named after the British officer Sir Arthur Malet, who spent most of his time sitting and watching the endlessly flowing Savitri River. The reason being the loss of his wife and child in the river during a ferrying accident. We were lucky enough to view the forts of Rajgarh, Tornagarh and Kangari from this point, even a bit of haze consider yourself, ‘not so lucky’. On the way to Arthur’s seat, we saw the Tiger Spring, which is the source of river Savitri.

elphinstone

Elphinstone: A couple of more miles from Arthur’s seat led us to Elphinstone, a word of caution, one has to be extremely careful while driving, since the road runs too close to the edge of the cliff which is merely divided by a frivolous stone parapet. Once we reached this point, the beauty and the view one could experience here is unmatched and almost fantasy-like.

sunset at wilsons point

Wilson point: With valleys on both side, it’s sheer bliss to watch both the sunrise and sunset from this point. We were, all eyes for the sunset, since another day was at our hand, we could come back and enjoy the sunrise too. The table land of Panchgani on one side, the Arthur’s seat on the other it was an astonishing moment.

There are many strategic points dotted all around Mahabaleshwar, each with an element of significance. We settled to enjoy the above, few of the other significant points you might want to venture are, Needle point which gets its name due to a natural needle like hole in the rock formation. Also the monkey point, owing its name to the natural rock sculpture which resembles 3 monkeys.

I had promised my soar legs, a spa indulgence, and gave it one as soon we got back to the resort. A sumptuous dinner and the day wrapped up.

sunrise at wilsons point

We drove down to Wilson’s point to see the ‘Sunrise’, an ethereal awe for mortals but another routine ordeal for the sun", ....it was sheer brilliance. With this snap shot etched, took a bow, wishing that this stayed with us forever. We kept looking at the magnificent mountains until it paved its way in to the plains.

-- As shared by writer Gayathri Iyer

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Comments / Discussion Board - Mountain Beckons - A Trip from Pune to Mahabaleshwar

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    Kapil Ode from Pune 1001 Days ago

    I was very nice trip. We had gone to Mahabaleshwar from Pune by Bike. We had 6 friends on three bikes and enjoyed a lot.

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