Planning a weekend getaway from Mumbai or Pune? Have you considered visiting Mahabaleshwar?
A small, peaceful hill station, located in the Satara district of Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar has long been considered a summer getaway destination by vacationers since British colonial rule.
It was, in fact, regarded as the summer capital for the Bombay (now Mumbai) province during those times.
Mahabaleshwar offers a soothing climate to travellers all year round. However, in the monsoon, it does experience quite heavy rainfall.
In summers, you can easily spend a weekend chilling out in some of the most beautiful resorts and hotels located in Mahabaleshwar, far away from the hectic city life of Mumbai and Pune.
In this article, we list some of the best places to visit in Mahabaleshwar for a family vacation. These Mahabaleshwar points of interest are characterised by picturesque views, lush green vegetations, historic sites, and an overall sense of rejuvenation.
Even if you are planning for a 5 to 7-day vacation, you will not fall short of places to see and things to do.
Before we get into the details of Mahabaleshwar tourist spots, let us give you an idea about recent developments in Mahabaleshwar tourism.
Eco-Tourism in Mahabaleshwar
Recently, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has taken the initiative to develop eco-tourism by providing bicycles for tourists in Ganpatipule and Mahabaleshwar.
Cycling posts have been created with the help of local tour operators, where the tourists can hire bicycles to move around at the rate of INR 20 for an hour, and INR 100 for 24 hours.
Gear bicycles are also available for tourists at the rate of INR 100 for 1 hour, keeping in mind the hilly terrain of Mahabaleshwar.
This step towards preserving sustainability has been lauded by all, as it is believed to have an impact in reducing pollution in the region. So, if you’re planning a Mahabaleshwar trip, don’t forget to include cycling gear in your luggage.
Top 10 Can’t-Miss Mahabaleshwar Attractions
Here’s a list of 10 of the best places to see in Mahabaleshwar.
The Mapro Garden
If you’re visiting Mahabaleshwar with your children, the Mapro Garden should be the first place you see.
Established in 1959, this scenic garden park has its own chocolate factory, a separate children’s play area and a restaurant serving delicious cuisine. It is best to visit the Mapro Garden in Easter, because of the Annual Strawberry Festival held during this time.
The strawberry pizzas, bhel, and sandwiches available here will leave you yearning for more. Besides, hundreds of farmers bring their fresh produce and offer them to tourists for free.
The Venna Lake
Built by Shri Appasaheb Maharaj, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, in the year 1942, this serene lake, surrounded by lush greenery on all sides, covers an area of 28 acres.
One of the most popular places on the Mahabaleshwar points list for tourists, it offers exciting activities, ranging from boating to horse rides.
Although it was primarily built by the ruler to cater to the water needs of the area, it has become a tourist hot spot since independence.
One of the best Mahabaleshwar picnic spots, the Connaught Peak (1,400 metres) was renamed after the Duke Connaught, as it was initially called Mount Olympia.
With no entry fee, you can enjoy panoramic views of Krishna Valley, Venna Lake, Panchgani, Pratapgarh, and Pasarani, not to forget the amazing sunrise and sunset views that can leave you spellbound.
The Mahabaleshwar Temple
Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, has been a holy shrine for the Maratha warriors.
Its 6-foot long ‘Shiva Lingam’, and the belongings of Lord Shiva like his ‘damru’, his bed, his ‘trishula’, carvings of the sacred bull and ‘Kalbhairava’, are the main attractions for Hindu pilgrims from all over the country.
However, the temple’s serene and spiritual environs, which depicts the calmness of the Great Lord is also a remarkable experience for general tourists.
Your trip to Mahabaleshwar will be incomplete without visiting his fascinating point, the Chinaman’s Fall, named after the Chinese prison located nearby.
In the monsoon season, the breathtaking view of the descent can leave you awestruck. It is also a favourable picnic spot for families with children. However, do not forget to carry extra clothes for your toddlers, in case they get wet.
Elephant’s Head Point
Sightseeing in Mahabaleshwar is incomplete without visiting the Elephant’s Head Point (also called Needle Hole Point), especially because of its green surroundings and the ecstatic views of the Sahyadri range.
The rocks on this site take the shape of an elephant’s head and its trunk, giving the tourist hot spot its unique name. Founded in 1930 by Dr Murray, the site is considered to be one of the best picnic spots in the region.
The temple is known to be the origin of the Krishna River, whose significance in the Hindu culture is overlooked by many.
This serene and beautiful temple in the woods looks best in the monsoon when it is covered in moss with lush green vegetation all around. You have to take a walk through the woods, following the trail from the Panchaganga temple to reach here.
Mostly preferred by filmmakers for its marvellous views and soothing weather conditions, the Tableland plateau is considered the second longest one in Asia.
It is covered by evergreen vegetation, a treat to the eyes of the nature lovers, and it is also regarded as a ‘trekker’s paradise, because of its pleasant climate.
One of the most popular places to visit near Mahabaleshwar, the Pratapgad Fort is located at a distance of 20 kilometres from the Mahabaleshwar hill station.
The ruins of the fort, which was built by the fierce Maratha rulers in 1665, lures tourists because of its exotic location on the top of a hill, its historic value and the breathtaking views it offers.
Also known as Mini Kashmir, Tapola is located at a distance of 25 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar and boasts of rich scenic beauty.
It is picturesque, serene and well-maintained throughout with a lake called the Shivsagar Lake, which is the main attraction of the place.
You can enjoy some water scooters, boating, kayaking and even swimming in the lake. Tapola also offers an exotic jungle trek to Vasota Fort, if you wish to opt for some adventure along the way.
Where to Stay in Mahabaleshwar
There are plenty of good hotels and resorts in and around the Mahabaleshwar hill station to stay with your family. Many of the resorts in Mahabaleshwar offer exquisite natural views from most of the rooms.
Some of the best hotels in Mahabaleshwar are located on the Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani road and the Satara road. However, if you’re an explorer by heart, you can always go camping and live in tents to satisfy your adventurous spirit.
You can plan a short weekend getaway from Pune or Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar when you do your Mahabaleshwar booking.
But if you’re willing to take a week off, head to Pune, from where you can take a road trip to Mahabaleshwar and explore other places near Mahabaleshwar and do some Panchgani sightseeing to boot.
If you find our information on Mahabaleshwar useful, please let us know in the comments section below. Have a great trip!