Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Western Ghats, Mahabaleshwar is a small hill town that is known for its strawberry cultivation, splendid rivulets, waterfalls and magnificent peaks. Mahabaleshwar lies in the Satara district of Maharashtra and along with rich natural heritage, the town also exuberates a rich cultural legacy. There are many ancient temples scattered across the township.
In addition to this, the city is also popular for its boarding schools, scenic beauty, clean environment and amiable people. Situated in close proximity to cities like Pune and Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar serves as a perfect weekend getaway for the residents of these neighbouring cities. You will be awestruck by the raw beauty of this place that comprises of captivating landscapes, serene cascades and lakes, and dense tropical rainforest.
More on Mahabaleshwar
A Perfect Weekend Getaway
Mahabaleshwar is one of the most visited hill towns in Sahyadri Range and constitutes one of the rarest species of evergreen forest found in India. Mahabaleshwar comprises of three regions namely Shindola village, old Kshetra Mahabaleshwar and Malcolm Peth. The nearest major cities are Pune, located at a distance of 100 km, and Mumbai which is 85 km away from the town.
The enticing valleys and picturesque landscape of the region attracts a lot of tourists from Mumbai and Pune. The place is famous across the continent for its strawberry cultivation and you should taste few strawberries freshly plucked from the farm. Situated at a distance of 12 km from the Mahabaleshwar is Mapro Gardens which is well-known for a wide spectrum of scrumptious cuisines.
Strawberry Farming in Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar is the hub of berries production in India and it constitutes about 85 per cent of total strawberry cultivation in the country. You can spot several strawberry farms along Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar Road. In addition to this, other types of berries are also cultivated here such as blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries. These farms are open for a visit after acquiring permission from the owners. You can walk around the vast stretch of farm and perhaps savour a few freshly plucked berries. You can also purchase a jar of strawberry jam and take home and gift it to your loved ones. The town enthusiastically celebrates the annual Mapro Festival during the month of March or April. However fresh strawberries sale starts in December and the ideal month to visit the town is January.
History of Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar has been under the rule of various dynasties and hence possesses a rich cultural and religious history. The place has witnessed many battles and has served as a capital to several great empires. As far as the sources are traceable, King Singhan was the first ruler to construct a water tank and small shrine here. In later years, the Brahmin Dynasty reigned over Mahabaleshwar for quite some time. Eventually, they were defeated by Chandarao More who belonged to a Maratha family.
Shivaji Maharaj annexed Mahabaleshwar in the 17th century and simultaneously the construction of majestic Pratapgarh Fort began. The Marathas were defeated by British during the 19th Century and gradually the British officials brought strawberry saplings from Australia and planted them in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. In recent years, the town has become a world exporter of strawberries.
Restaurants and Local Food in Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar is renowned for its mulberries, strawberries, corn, carrot and cherry size tomatoes. The restaurants around the town serve a variety of cuisines in which strawberries form an integral part of the flavour. Various delicacies such as fudge, toffees, whipped cream, syrups, jellies and Corn Pattice have berries as their crucial ingredient. While at Mahabaleshwar, you ought to try out these mouth-watering delicacies and if possible, take some home as well.
The eateries here also offer the mainstream Maharastrain cuisine, Vada Paav and other popular street food items. You should not miss out on Chikki which is a famous sweet candy made of nuts and jaggery. Mahabaleshwar has a lot of restaurants that serve a variety of Indian and international cuisines. Few of the popular restaurants in the town are Bagicha Corner and Mapro Garden Restaurant.
At Bagicha Corner you should try the strawberry cream, ice creams, corn patties, corn frankies, mulberry cream and zunka bhakari. You can also try their special make ki roti and sarso ka saag. Mapro Garden Restaurant is known for its scrumptious chocolate brownies, strawberry chocolates, pizzas, chuskis and dark chocolates. At the garden, you can also buy some fresh carrots from the local vendor.
Day 1: On your first day, you can visit Arthur’s Seat. Spend your first half of the day exploring this place and after lunch, you can head to Venna Lake and Elphinstone Point. You can opt for horse riding around Venna Lake and watch the spectacular sunset at Elphinstone Point. You can also end your day by exploring the local Mahabaleshwar Market where you can shop for Kolhapuri jootis and other traditional stuff.
Day 2: You can visit Wilson Point and Connaught Peak on the second day. If you are an adventure lover then you should partake in the rescue mission expedition at nearest green snake rescue missions. You can also go for a trek and bird watching in the dense jungles of Mahabaleshwar. Later in the afternoon, visit Lingmala Waterfall. End your day by walking past the Mapro Gardens and savouring the delicious strawberries from the farm.