Looking for a weekend in the hills? For every Mumbai traveler, a getaway to the mountains essentially means Lonavala, Khandala, or even to Matheran. Why not go a few miles further and spend some time in Mahabaleshwar? The land of strawberries, hills, and dewy vales, streaked with gurgling streams and waterfalls, Mahabaleshwar is unarguably the best and a must-visit mountain destination of Maharashtra. As the highest point of the state, the town and its neighboring areas offer the perfect weather, all year round.
If you are still contemplating on planning a trip to this breathtaking hill town, these could be your best reasons.
The best mountain views in the state.
The town of Mahabaleshwar sits atop 1310 meters. At such height, you can expect nothing but the most stunning views of the lush valleys and steep peaks of the Western Ghats. Particularly during the rains, the landscape assumes a more artistic view with enhanced greenery and torrential waterfalls. There are plenty of viewing points in town, along the mountain ridges, where you can catch incredible views of the sunrise and sunset in late winters and summers. The Wilson Point is best for sunrise, while the Lodwick Point and Sunset Point are best for views of the setting sun.
The biggest and largest strawberry farms on the West Coast.
Synonymous with these exotic fruits, Mahabaleshwar boasts the best, biggest, and highest yielding strawberry farms in the country. Although seasonal produce, these farms have evolved to become the most-visited sites in the town, leading to agro-tourism. You will find people flocking to farms like Mapro Gardens, Laxmi Strawberry Farms, and Bhilar Farms, just to sample these red, luscious fruits or watch the harvest in process. You can also opt for a farm stay at places like Shivsagar Farmhouse, where you can pick your own basket of strawberries and enjoy other farm-fresh produce. Take a walk through the crimson-hued fields and enjoy the bounties of nature. The best time to visit strawberry farms is between November and March when you can also join the four-day long Strawberry Festival at the Mapro Gardens, and sample the best fruit-based delicacies prepared and sold on-site.
The best trekking trails.
The rugged terrain and mountain crags of Mahabaleshwar are the perfect playgrounds for trekkers and hikers. Lined with old forts and sparkling waterfalls, you cannot have enough of these scenic trails that lead to a peak or a historical structure. If you like to blaze the trails and get your adrenaline rushing, then explore these sites in and around Mahabaleshwar town.
- Pratapgarh Fort
An ancient battleground commemorated with a fortress, Pratapgarh is a must-visit. Although not technically a trekking destination, you can hike up the steep path from the base of the fortress, which sits at an altitude of 1080 meters.
- Tapola Trek
A walk through the forested paths around the Shivsagar Lake, the Tapola trek exposes you the magnificent views of lakes and valleys and is perfect for a day picnic in the lap of nature.
- Connaught Peak Trek
Also called Mount Olympia, this is the second-highest peak and quite popular among pro trekkers. The trail to this peak is rugged and steep and makes for a difficult walk. It is better if you have some experience with such terrain, otherwise, it’s best to accompany some professionals. The summit offers exceptional views of the Pratapgarh Fort and Venna Lake.
The most scenic waterfalls.
The steep mountain slopes offer the most beautiful background for perennial streams which cascade down the bluffs. Particularly, in the rainy season, the water volume increases and makes for a sight you cannot forget. The Lingamala Falls and the Dhobi Falls are the most prominent and offer the best views, along with trek options around its adjoining areas. Enveloped by the verdure of the season and dewy mountain tops, the waterfalls of Mahabaleshwar are the best features of its landscape.
Mahabaleshwar is well-connected by railways and highways across the state. Pune and Mumbai are the nearest metro cities. It takes about 5.5 hours from Mumbai and about 3.5 hours from Pune by road. If you are traveling from Mumbai, you can avail a reliable and top-rated cabs from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar or a similar option from Pune as well. You can also opt for a tour package, which will cover all your local sightseeing tours, farm visits, and more.
With chilly winters, misty monsoons, and pleasant summers, Mahabaleshwar makes for the best place to explore the outdoors and discover Maharashtra’s natural treasures. So, next time, you consider a getaway to the mountains, look no further and let yourself bask in the serenity and unparalleled beauty of the Western Ghats, right here in Mahabaleshwar!
If you are traveling in big groups, always try to book a comfortable and spacious minibus on rent in Mumbai, for a convenient journey.
For serious treks, always visit in winter, when the terrain is dry and makes it easier to explore the difficult trails, which are otherwise slushy and risky in the monsoon.