Away from the itchy swelter of Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar is an apt gateway ensconced amid the lush riches of the Western Ghats. It is also famous for its old temple of Lord Shiva. About 240 kms from the commercial capital of India and 135 kms from Pune, this hill station was founded as a summer capital of Bombay Presidency during the British Raj way back in the 1800s.
Today, over two centuries after its consecration as an abode of peace and rejuvenation, Mahabaleshwar is a celebrated tourist hub with people from all parts of the country and beyond flocking here, especially in the monsoon months, when the beauty of the place is inarguably accentuated by the blooming greenery washed fresh by the rains.
The misty wafts of cloud and rain that shroud the hills and valleys in the intermittent play of sun and shadow is sheer treat to the eyes and medicine for the soul. An average altitude of over 1,350 metres happily contributes in creating this memorable visual tapestry of nature.
In the rainy months of July and August, as god’s profuse bounty overwhelms Mahabaleshwar, the multiple waterfalls caressing the hills gently in thin trickles all the year round, suddenly gush back to life in vengeful abundance and flood our imaginations with vibrant imageries of sight and sound. Back home, those memories of wild wantonness in all its vividity, pulsate within us all our lives as fond assets of emotion, released like a lingering fragrance in little tranches of happiness.
The craggy hills and the rains are not the only assets of Mahabaleshwar. The source of the Krishna river is also said to be Mahabaleshwar and for the devout, this holds great significance. The Mahabaleshwar temple is a landmark spot of the town and no visitor can escape its architectural beauty and the history of its 800-year-old existence. Among the other natural beauties of the place, one cannot miss Arthur Point or Arthur Seat Point.
The spot is named after British officer Arthur Malet, who frequently stood at the brink of the hill staring at the Savitri river flowing far below, where he had reportedly lost his wife and child in a ferry mishap. Arthur Seat opens up a mesmerising vista of cascading hills dexterously arranged one behind the other in an intricate symmetry.
Apart from this, there is the veritable Lingmala waterfall that drains into the Venna lake falling 600 feet over a cascading rockscape. The Venna lake itself is a jewel of Mahabaleshwar and surrounded by thick forests and hills, it is a perfect picnic spot.
The lake has extensive boating facilities and lot many eateries around to satiate the taste buds. Lastly, one must visit the Wilson Point to round off the trip. It is named after Sir Leslie Wilson, who was the Governor of Bombay from 1923 to 1926. At 1,439 metres, Wilson Point stands as the highest point in Mahabaleshwar and offers excellent experience of sunset and sunrise.
The whole of Mahabaleshwar can be scanned from this vantage point in a whole new perspective.