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Mahabaleshwar - Queen Of All Hill Stations OR its honey and strawberries produced

STATE - MAHARASHTRA
   
DISTANCE - 78 KM From Panaji, 120 KM From Pune, 593 KM From Mumbai

CONNECTION
 
By Air : Pune, located at a distance of 120 km is the nearest airport. If you plan to travel to Mahabaleshwar by air, you can board a flight till Pune, and then easily avail a bus, taxi or a private car from the Pune airport. The airport has various facilities within its premises for tourists traveling to the place.

By Train : The nearest railhead from Mahabaleshwar is Wather, located at a distance of 62 km from the city. But if you choose to travel to Mahabaleshwar by train, the Pune railhead, located at a distance of 120 km, is comparatively more convenient than the Wather station, because of its better connectivity to Mahabaleshwar.

By Road : From Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar is 285 km (via Pune route) and the distance is about 247 km (via Mahad route). There are regular state-operated buses that travel to Mahabaleshwar from the nearby cities of Pune and Mumbai.
 
ABOUT MAHABALESHWAR
This popular hill station takes its name from God 'Mahabali' (HANUMAN). Eternally beautiful, perennially fresh and inviting ,Mahabaleshwar is blessed with spectacular views of the valleys and forests .Itscalm and quiet atmosphere is very attractive to the tourists and makes for a cozy refuge for the sun baked people of the palins

Discovered by the British General Lodwick ,this awesome hill station still retains the aura of the colonial period.There are several magnificient mansions,cottages and bunglows built on British style reminding gracefully the bygone era of British Raj.This lovely hill station offers a number of exciting activities to the tourists.Pony rides on the lanes of Mahabaleshwar are something to be experienced.For the youngsters the place laced with numerous scenic points is the perfect base for enjoying cycle rides.
 
PLACES OF INTERESTS IN MAHABALESHWAR
Pratapgad Fort : This fort stands in testimony to the historic achievements of the great Maratha leader,Chatrapati Shivaji. Pratapgad is also the place where Afzal Khan died. If you see this fort from a distance, it appears like a round topped hill. Pratapgad Fort was built in the year 1656 and has a number of pons, chambers and long dark paths. Some of these paths lead us to trap doors and the doors open to a 100 meter fall. Afzal Khan's tomb and Bhavani's temple are other places worth visiting at Pratapgad Fort.

The Lingamala Water Falls : The different water falls flowing here are a crucial part of the sight seeing tour by any tourist. These water falls are a source of great attractions among the tourists who visit Mahabaleshwar. The Lingamala Water falls are at the top of Venna valley. This is a great attraction for all tourists as the water falls from a height of 600 feet. The colorful view of the water falling from such a great height and fades off appears to be like a rain bow. The best time to visit Lingamala Water falls is during the Monsoon season.

Panchgani : Panchgani is located about 20 Kms. from Mahabaleshwar. Panchgani is surrounded by hills on all the sides. The travel time from Mahabaleshwar is only twenty to twenty five minutes. Panchgani can also be easily visited from Pune or Mumbai. Panchgani is also famous for the boarding schools, tasty strawberries. Panchgani derives its name from the five hills around it. Discovered during the colonial period by the British, Panchgani was the summer resort of the British.

Chinaman's Fall : It is a great scenery of water rushing out from a huge height. In the past there were gardens which were looked after by by Chinese, hence the name Chinaman's fall has come to this place. Chinaman's water falls located in Koyna valley are a perfect holiday and picnic spot for all the tourists who visit Mahabaleshwar. It is a pleasant water fall worth visiting when you make a tour to Mahabaleshwar.

Venna Lake : The Venna lake is one of the most attractions of Mahabaleshwar which is at a distance of 1.5 Kms. from Mahabaleshwar. The tourists an enjoy the boat rides in this lake. We can also see straw berry stalls around this lake. The Venna lake is especially liked by children. The Venna lake is the correct place for going for fishing, boat riding and games spot. The tourists can also enjoy the horse riding on the bank of this lake. Boating is the primary attraction at Venna lake. A range of colourful paddle and row boats are lined by the side of the lakeside.

Wilson Point : Wilson point is also called as Sunrise point. There are three round platforms here. Tourists who visit this place can see the Sun rise and Sun set from here.

Elphiston point : This is the first point of Mahabaleshwar from where we can see the two valleys, Koyna on the left & Savitri on the right.
 
RELIGIOUS PLACES IN MAHABALESHWAR
Mahabaleshwar Temple : Mahabaleshwar derived its name from the presiding deity "Mahabali" of the famous Hindu Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is divided into a God-Chamber and a central hall. The main site of worship is the Shiva Lingam. We can see a large number religious tourists visiting this temple through out the year.

PanchGanga Mandir : Panchganga Mandir is one of the holy places to be visited in Mahabaleshwar. The water from five rivers Koyna, Krishna, Venna, Savitri and Gayatri are joined at this place. The name Panchganga is given to this place because five ( panch) rivers (ganga) meet at this place. This famous temple was built by Raja Singhandeo. He was the king of Devgiri in 13th century. This temple was improved by Shivaji later on.
 
WHEN TO GO MAHABALESHWAR
The best time to visit the hill resort of Mahabaleshwar is from October to June. The cool breezes in the summer months of the hill resort work magic on the stressed and sun scorched souls of the plains.
 
WEATHER FORECAST
Summers (March to June) are pleasant and temperature varies between a minimum of 18°C to a maximum of 29°C. It is very pleasant and ideal for sight seeing.

Monsoons (June to September) offer average annual rainfall. The place looks beautiful in rains.

Winters (December to February) are cool and the temperature varies minimum 5°C to maximum 24°C. It is nice for wandering around the city and also for sight seeing.
 
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN MAHABALESHWAR
Almost all the festivals celebrated by Hindu, Christian and Muslims are celebrated by people here with lots of enthusiasm. Some of the main festivals are: Gudhi Padava, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Diwali, Christmas, etc. Gudhi Padava Maharashtrian New Year's Day is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month Chaitra (March-April). This festival is known as the Gudhi Padava in Maharashtra. This day marks the start of the Hindu solar year. Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important and popular festival of Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the month of August - September. This festival marks the birth anniversary of Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom. Idols of Ganesha are installed and detailed arrangements are made for lighting and decoration. The festival is held for 7-10 days. The idols of Ganesha are immersed in the ocean or rivers, where thousands of processions meet. The immersion of idols is accompanied by drumbeats, devotional songs and dancing. This marks the end of the festival.

Diwali : The festival of lights is celebrated with enthusiasm and festival spirit. The houses are decorated with lights and rangolis in front of the houses. It is lasting for three days covering Abhayang snan (early morning bath with scented powder called Ubtan) on first day followed by Laxmi Pujan. The atmosphere is full of joy and happiness. People exchange homemade sweets among their relatives and friends.

Holi : Holi celebrated in March is a boisterous and colorful festival that welcomes the season of spring into our lives. People are unabashed in their demonstration of joy and liberally splash colored powder and water on each other.

Makar Sankranti : Makar Sankranti celebrated in early January sees the skies filled with a riot of colors. The festival marks the transition of the sun from the planetary position of Sagittarius to Capricorn. Thousands of vibrantly colored kites are set aflutter and the atmosphere of festivity is decidedly infectious.
 
FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN MAHABALESHWAR
Marathi food consist large variety of vegetables, fish and coconuts. Maharashatrian food is rich in ginger, garlic and lots of spices. Tomatoes, brinjals and other vegetables stuffed with masala fillings and cooked in oil till soft are very popular in Maharashtra. Cooking is mainly done in groundnut oil but it is made sure that the oil is minimum. Bharwan Baingan, Kohlapuri Rassa, Puran Poli, Aamti, Bombay Chiwda are some of the popular recipes.

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