Mahabaleshwar, erstwhile summer capital of Bombay province during the 'Raj', Mahabaleshwar nestled in the sahyadris is now the most popular hill station in Maharashtra. Mahabaleshwar is a destination thronged by tourists almost all through the year.
Mahabaleshwar with its magnificent scenic view points, the perennial springs and waterfalls of Mahabaleshwar plateau along with the salubrious weather it enjoys truely lives upto its reputation of being the 'Queen of Hills'. Located about 120 km southwest of Pune and 285 km from Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar is a vast plateau, bound by valleys on all sides reaching an altitude of 4710 ft at the Wilson point.
Built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja in 1656,
the Pratapgarh Fort is located about 24 km west of Mahabaleshwar. The fort
encompasses two ancient forts; the Upper Fort - built on the top of the hill
and the Lower Fort. Within the fort walls, tourists can see the Bhavani Temple,
the tomb of Afzal Khan and Mahadev temple. The fort also has a maze chambers
and long dark walkways, some of them lead to trap doors with a 100 meter fall.
The fort is the witness of historic Battle of Pratapgarh between Shivaji and Afzal
Khan. The Pratapgad fort offers exhilarating and excellent views of the Konkan
The Venna Lake is situated around 2 km from the
ST bus stand and is among the most popular tourist places in Mahabaleshwar. The
lake is 2.5 km long and is encircled by trees on all sides. Tourists can enjoy
activities like fishing and boating at the lake, they can even do a little
horse riding. There are a few small eateries and strawberry stalls lined up at
the banks of the lake.
There are three waterfalls in Mahabaleshwar; the
first one is the Lingmala Falls which is located about 6 km from Mahabaleshwar.
Formed by the River Venna, the waterfall plunges down from a height of 500 ft
and can be seen in its glory during the rainy season. The second one is the
Dhobi Falls which is located around 3 km from Mahabaleshwar, on the trail which
connects petit road with Old Mahabaleshwar road. The water plunges down into a
deep valley and finally merges with Koyna River. The waterfall is a popular
picnic spot. The last one is the Chinamons Falls. It is located at around 2.5
km from Mahabaleshwar in an exotic place with Chinese cultivated gardens at
The Krishna temple is another place of religious
importance in Mahabaleshwar. The place where the temple is located is locally
known as "Panchganga" which means "Five Rivers" i.e.
Krishna, Koyna, Yenna, Gayatri and Savitri. The temple was built by Raja
Singhandeo and later in 1635, the Great Maratha Shivaji, renovated and improved
Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple:
The Mahabaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord
Shiva and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. It is situated in the Old
Kshetra Mahabaleshwar, about 6 km north from the main city. The temple was
built by the Chanda Rao More dynasty in the 16th century and is a model of the
Hemadant architectural style of South India.
Tapola is located at a distance of about 27 km
south of Mahabaleshwar and very less people know about this place. The small
town is situated down the Tapola Ghat in the Koyna valley on the extreme
backwaters of the Triveni Sangam of the Koyna, Solshi and the Kandhati River.
The place is locally called as Mini Kashmir due to the tranquility and the
splendor of the Shivsagar Lake. The Shivsagar dam located here is popular for
motor boats. One can enjoy riding motorboats, speed boats and scooter riders on
the waters. There are many unidentified forts in the deep forests around the
Scenic Points in Mahabaleshwar:
Mahabaleshwar is well known for its points which
offer panoramic views of the amazing landscapes. There are more than 14
viewpoints which present impressive views to the tourists. These points are
within close range of each other and are named after notable Britishers. Some
of the most popular points in Mahabaleshwar are: Elphinstone Point, Arthur's
Seat, Galoni Point, Lodwick Point, Wilson Point, Babington point, Connaught
Peak and Hunter Point.