Mahabaleshwar Trip - II: Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar Trip - II: Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar is located in Satara district in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats, about 120km from Pune, It has an average elevation of 1,353 metres (4,439 ft), with the highest peak of about 1,439 m (4,721 ft).
Where to Go:
Mahabaleshwar is cooler and misty when compared to Panchgani. It has more number of viewpoints too, the complete list is here;
Elephant Head point/Needle Hole Point, Kate's Point, Echo Point, Mahabaleshwar Mandir, Panchganga Temple, Elphinstone Point, Marjori Point, Savitri Point, Castle Rock Point, the Arthur Seat, Tigers Spring point, Malcolm point, Lingmala Waterfall, Venna Lake, Wilson Point, Dhobi Waterfall, Lodwick Point, Bombay Point, Pratapgad fort, Hunter's Point, and Cannought Peak.
How to Go:
After Mapro there are two routes with different collection of viewpoints to choose from.
The first one is the Duchess road, towards old Mahabaleshwar. There are about six significant attractions through the Old Mahabaleshwar route, namely Elephant Head point, Mahabaleshwar Mandir, Elphinstone Point, Savitri Point, Castle Rock Point, and the Arthur Seat in the order of their distance from Mapro Garden.
The second one is the Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar Main Road, towards Mahabaleshwar town. The main attractions following this route are Lingmala Waterfall, Venna Lake, Wilson Point, Dhobi Waterfall, Lodwick Point, Bombay Point and at the last Pratapgad fort, in the order of their distance from Mapro Garden.
While the remaining attractions including Hunter's Point, and Cannought Peak lie in between the connecting road from Duchess Road and Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar Main Road.
Another thing to note here is at both Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, the locals collect money as municipality for entry, which is about 150 Rs per car with four tourists in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar separately. But at the end of the tour felt good, by seeing the infrastructure and cleanliness maintained in all the viewpoints.
It was about 17km drive from mapro Garden to Savitri point, on the way to Arthur Seat. As you pass through Old Mahabaleshwar, the visibility of the road descends with heavy mist all through the day.
As you park your vehicle you have to descend few steps with well paved walkways to reach the view point, throughout the walkway it was completely covered with mist with visibility of about 10m only.
We waited for a while for the mist to flow away, but only glimpses were felt when the wind blows away the mist. Keeping the curiosity to ourselves we proceeded towards the Arthur seat.
Less than a km from Savitri point is the Arthur seat point. This is the last point towards the Old Mahabaleshwar route, the road ends here. There are a number of viewpoints over here, most of them overlooking the same valley with different angles. Having hot coffee and hot pakodas here is really enjoyable with mist covered all around.
|Mist covered route to Aurther seat|
The name Arthur seat is because, Arthur used to sit here and stare at river Savitri in which his wife and child were drowned.
The viewpoint is built over the very edge of the hill with a steep fall in height, protruding outwards with a cantilever platform. The whole walkway with the steps are well paved and kept very clean most of its way. This point has one more reason to be more popular with its floating of light objects in air. Since the sudden descend of the hill, creating a form of wall for the wind, so the air suddenly blows upwards making any light objects in its way to be lifted upwards and sometimes blown away in the air over 20 m high. The visibility over here was almost zero, even though we waited for a long, the mist was too heavy to be carried away by the wind.
|Arthur seat point completely covered with mist with no visibility of the valley|
While returning back from the Arthurs seat, are many other points, all in series, Next was the Tiger Spring point, here the visibility was better after waiting for a while got a better glimpse of the valley. It was amazingly beautiful. These hills were slight unique in there structure when compared to other ones. It appears as the hills are being chiseled at regular intervals, definitely not from humans, I would call them mystery hills.
|Chiseled like layers of the valley from tiger spring point|
|Amazing view of the valley from tiger spring point|
Although no room for trees, but it was mostly green with rocks in-between. Through this point one can have a clear view of the Arthur seat and the rocky wall.
|Arthurs seat viewpoint as seen from Tiger Spring point|
Climbing further will reach you to Malcolm point, from here the Savitri Valley and Arthur seat were visible. It is said that Pratapgard Fort is visible from this point, but at least not to my naked eye, probably with a binocular it is viewable. The visibility was clear with very less mist covered.
|A slightly different view of the valley as seen from Malcolm point|
Further through the walkway was Echo point (not to be confused with the Echo point at Elephant Head), but I didn’t notice the echo anyhow. The last was the Hunting point (not to be confused with the Hunters point near Connaught peak), we were tired of climbing the steps so had to relax at the chairs placed at these points having some snacks and juice. There are a lot of monkeys over these points, so watch out while you carry eatables in your hands. We climbed back and reached the parking area directly.
About 3km from Arthur seat back towards Old Mahabaleshwar is the Elphinstone point. On the way, we skipped Castle Rock Point and Marjori Point, as most of these have somewhat similar views.
There is a small descend of steps through the parking area towards the viewpoint. This has a wider view compared to all earlier points.
|Pavement to the Elphinstone Point|
There are seating’s built here to sit and relax the beautiful panoramic view. The mountains were all covered with heavy mist, and the visibility was very less. Still felt better compared to my previous visit here, which was blocked by heavy rains. The monkeys here were more arrogant and in higher number, relaxed for a while in the mist covered seats.
|View as seen from Elphinstone Point|
Kate’s Point/Elephant Head and Echo Point:
After Elphinstone, we directly headed towards the Kates point passing by the old Mahabaleshwar, which is about 11km drive. Here the mist was almost disappeared. The route past the Old Mahabaleshwar till Arthur seat has heavy mist, and the route before Old mahabaleshwar has very less mist.
|Echo point - scream into the valley to get back ur own voice|
At Kates point is another significant point called as Echo point, this is a real echo point, tried and tested by me. It actually returns back one’s own voice when shouted loudly into the valley.
The view from these two points are amazing with a wide panoramic view covering the Krishna River Valley, Dhom Dam, Balakwadi Dam, Kamalgarh fort and the Needles Hole point towards extreme right.
|Balakwadi Dam as seen from Kates point|
The name elephant head is because the view point as seen from Needle Hole point looks like the head of an Elephant.
Needle Hole point:
A slight walk from Kate’s point takes you to the Needle Hole point, from here the Elephant head can be seen and the needle hole in-between the elephant head and its trunk. It was worth the walk as the view of the elephant head was distinct.
|Elephant Head as seen from the Needle Hole point|
We returned back to old Mahabaleshwar for the Panchganga temple and Mahabaleshwar mandir. These two temples are very old and has lot of significance. Both are just a few meters away from each other.
While Mahabaleshwar temple is dedicated to lord Shiva, Panchganga temple is dedicated to the five rivers flowing from mahabaleshwar, namely the Krishna, Koyna, Venna, Savitri and Gayatri. The confluence of these five rivers has given the name Panchganga where Panch means five and Ganga means river.
Our last destination of the tour was Venna lake, it was getting darker by the time we reached here at about 6pm. As we were not much interested in peddle boating, we just enjoyed the view from the seating placed around the lake. Relaxed here with the mist blowing our way. Much of the lake was covered with mist, with very less visibility. There is horse riding available here also, but not advised compared to Table land.
|Boating at Venna Lake|
Having spent some relaxing moments at the lake we started our journey back to Pune, on the way didn’t forget to shop at Mapro. Although can be visited in a single day, but to have a more relaxing journey one can halt overnight in many of the resorts available in Mahabaleshwar.