“The land of Strawberries”
A small hilly town based in the Western Ghats, Mahabaleshwar is famous for its many rivers, lofty mountain peaks and spectacular waterfalls in addition to the juicy strawberries.
It is a small hill town in the Satara district, amidst the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Popular for its enticing beauty and the exquisite farms of strawberry, the town is full of boarding schools, ancient temples, cascades, well-maintained lush green forests and the valleys and hills. It is one of the most looked-forward-to destinations for a weekend getaway from Mumbai. Mesmerizing views, charming valleys, peaceful lakes and a captivating treat for your taste buds are probably the best way to describe this gift of nature.
More on Mahabaleshwar
A Perfect Weekend Getaway
Mahabaleshwar is situated right in the embrace of the Sahyadri mountain range. It is also home to the rare unique evergreen forest. The three regions that together makeup Mahabaleshwar are the Old Kshetra Mahabaleshwar region, the Malcolm Peth region and a part of the Shindola Village region. The place is at a distance of about 100km from Pune and almost 285 km from Mumbai and is surrounded by valleys in every direction. It is the most popular for the cultivation and growth of strawberry farms. Mapro Gardens, known for the delightful and delicious food offerings, is only 12 km away.
Strawberry Farming in Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar is popular as the central hub for the farming of strawberries in India. In fact, it accounts for almost 85% of the total strawberry cultivation in the country. On the road from Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar, one can witness multiple strawberry farms in addition to other berries like blueberry, raspberry and mulberry. With permission from the owners, many tourists drop by, take a walk and taste some of these fresh juicy and mouth-watering berries. Also, if its your lucky day, you may walk out of the farm carrying a delicious jar of strawberry jam, homemade with the goodness and freshness of the farms and much love. Mapro holds a special strawberry festival every year in the months of March and April. The best time for you to visit the place is in January as the sale of strawberries starts in December.
History of Mahabaleshwar
To its credit, Mahabaleshwar has been a witness to the rich history of multiple dynasties that have held their bases and capitals here to wage wars and defeat their enemies. It all began when King Singhan built a water tank and a small temple here and the story is taken forward by the Brahmin Dynasty that ruled Mahabaleshwar until facing defeat at the hands of Chandarao More of the Maratha family. The town was then reclaimed by Shivaji Maharaj in the 17th century and the renowned Pratapgarh fort was then built here. The oncoming of the 19th century witnessed many British lords and officials and their successors occupying the land, buying and planting strawberry plants here in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani from Australia. Now, the same strawberries are exported to many other countries.
Restaurants and Local Food in Mahabaleshwar
The natural treasures of Mahableshwar like corn, cherry-sized tomatoes, carrots, mulberries and strawberries are used to create delicious indulges. The speciality of the place is strawberry, used in making jellies, jams, toffees, syrups, fudge, whipped cream, or ice creams and corn used in making Corn Pattice. You can enjoy these delights and carry some of it back with you as well. After strawberries, Vada pao is the next most famous delight of Maharashtra, in addition to the other street food delicacies. In addition to the variety of cuisines offered by restaurants, you can also enjoy biting into the very famous Chikki which is sweet in taste.
Even a short trip to Mahabaleshwar over a weekend is incomplete until you visit the popular Bagicha Corner restaurant, known for its extremely popular for its corn pattice, strawberry cream, mulberry cream, Corn Frankies, zunka bhakari, ice cream and syrups. If you are more inclined towards North Indian savouries, you can also try the Makki ki roti and sarso ka saag available there. Mapro Garden has its own restaurant famous for serving lip-smacking chocolate brownies and delightful Italian pizzas for a delicious lunch followed by garden carrots and colourful chuskis complementing the ice-cold weather from the local street vendors.
Day 1: Start your visit to Mahabaleshwar by going to Arthur’s seat first. Then after lunch, go to Venna Lake and Elphinstone Point. End the day by going on a shopping spree at the Mahabaleshwar market for the popular Kolhapuri jootis. You can enjoy the sunset at the Elephant’s head point and go for horse riding around the Venna lake.
Day 2: Start your day by visiting Connaught Peak and the Wilson point. For adventure lovers, they can also take part in a local snake rescue expedition or you can spend some time bird-watching or walk in the forest. After this, you can visit the Lingmala waterfall. While leaving or in the evening, do not miss out on visiting the Mapro Gardens.