Monday, December 27, 2010

Go lush green…Go Mahabaleshwar

Go Mahabaleshwar
 
I’m just back after my short trip to lush green Mahabaleshwar and all that I want to do right now is to share the stuff I did while I was on this vast green plateau (of about 150 sq. kms) on which you can guarantee yourself bouts of clean and non-polluted oxygen 24x7, 365 days a year. This was not the first time I visited Mahabaleshwar…but perhaps I made merrier this time because the timing seemed just right. I must say, that visiting this heavenly hill station in the winters is more rewarding that any other season of the year. 

Feels like heaven
Our tour from Mumbai towards Mahabaleshwar enroute Pune started on a dark cold Wednesday night via road. The journey was smooth but the cold hilly dark weather almost sent shivers down my spine leaving my set of 32 teeth trembling. It was chill chill really chill with temperatures touching 3-4C in the night and about 8-10 C in daylight. We almost fell in love with the hot sun during those cold days in Mahabaleshwar, so much so that we constantly remained on the lookout to sunbathe.

Mahabaleshwar which is rightly nicknamed the "Queen of the hills" is situated in Satara district in Maharashtra (India) which is about 220kms from Mumbai. Ghats, dense forests, forts, and lush green valleys are some of the main highlights of this place. Driving down the long winding narrow roads of Mahabaleshwar while listening to some Sufi and soulful music can give anyone an eternal blissful feeling.

Strawberry garden
“And there goes another strawberry garden”
It is just impossible to drive and walk around Mahabaleshwar without noticing a strawberry garden after every 1km stretch. They say that ‘all good things come in small packages’…How true! Must say that the small dwarf-like strawberry plant which presents the most expensive and deliciously irresistible fruit simply reinforces on this point. Nonetheless, the most tempting thing to notice while strolling in the markets are walking and talking men carrying mushy red strawberries in two baskets balanced across their shoulders (see picture). Besides strawberries…fruits like raspberries, goose berries, mulberries and vegetables like red potatoes, french beans, beets, salad, carrots, radishes are found in large numbers.

More places that you can't resist
Another spot that just shouldn't go amiss is 'Pratapgad', which is a strong hill fort built by Maratha King Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1656-1658 AD. I remember studying about this hill fort and the battles that our royal king (Shivaji Maharaj) won not by the strength of his troop or muscle power but more by his cut throat mind games and guerilla tactics.

At Pratapgad, I met this fierce, brilliant and stanch Shivaji Maharaj follower Mr. Chandrakanth Patil, our guide who ran through the historical events of the fort for our group of 7 persons who relived their school days of 4th grade. In grade four, when I studied about this fort, I must confess that I never really understood anything. Only wish I had Mr. Patil as my history teacher then, I would have never claimed history to be my weak subject today.
  
Our guide at Pratapgad (2nd from right)
 Besides the Pratapgad fort, boating in Koyna lake (in Mini Kashmir) and the N-number of sunset and sunrise points are a few sites you just can’t miss. Even the five table tops in Panchgani, which are suppose to be the largest table hill tops in whole of Asia, is something that is worth taking a look at.

 
Pratapgad
“Aye Khuda Mujhko bata, Tu Rehta Kahan Kya Tera pata, Hum to yahan pe Musafir hai, Jo Dhundhe Apni Manzil ka Pata,” is the song we played umpteen number of times whilst driving down those long winding uphill and downhill roads of Mahabaleshwar. I think God lived there!

With this beautiful Sufi song track, let me thank you for visiting my blog. Do write to me with your reactions, opinions or critical comments at simplymearl@live.com or leave your inputs in the comments tab below.

Before I sign out, as I always say take very good care of yourself and God Bless.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

8 comments:

Satyanarayana said...

Wonderful Post....
Infact, the pictures & description gave me a feel of Mini-tour...
My reaction: Well, Let me see if I can make it out to tht place in Near Future...
My confession: I hvnt gone thru this lengthy narration till date, jst bcz i wanna leisure time to enjoy reading ur wonderful tour...
I cn strongly sense tht u hd a wonderful time (Trip)
Enjoy... :

sneha said...

I LIKE IT!!!!!

Mearl Colaco said...

Yes Satya. It was indeed a fantastic trip. Cheers!

Thanks Sneha.

vagabond.. said...

We have a travel website which is a Maharashtra travel Guide in which we have a page for Mahabaleshwar with lot of information regarding the place including Mahabaleshwar Hotels. We also have a page for blogs on Mahabaleshwar. Please do let us know if you would like to feature your blog in the Mahabaleshwar Blogs page. please write to puneritraveller@gmail.com

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UCAB Tours and Travels said...


Impressive photography, getting feel like roaming in the Mahabaleshwar. Enjoyed it. :)

anjali gupta said...

Apart from a popular holiday destination and a sought-after honeymoon spot, Mahabaleshwar is also an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. If you are planning a trip to Mahabaleshwar, then do check out weather in Mahabaleshwar.