Mahabaleshwar – Food Paradise
Mahabaleshwar, is termed as the queen of the hills in Maharashtra. It is a beautiful town perched on the Sahyadris in the Satara district. Come monsoon the hills turn a soothing green with a carpet of velvet grass laid out across the hills and mist playing hide and seek. The clouds descend to kiss the mountains and you find yourself floating in the midst of it.
Every view has its unique beauty and you are left wondering if there is anything still left to be offered. The beautiful sunrise splashes the sky with its colours and then suddenly there is a mighty shower which parts away to give a view of the waterfalls cascading down the hills every nook and corner. Streams, rivulets surround you and they make you wonder where on earth have you arrived? You walk through the canopy of trees that is all towering above you with leaves and twigs strewn down the path.
If soaking in its beauty isn’t enough Mahabaleshwar offers much more to its visitors some of who are regulars post monsoon. Pratapgad fort, the various view points, the Panchganga Temple in Mahabaleshwar and the beautiful Venna Lake. You could also visit Panchgani or go Paragliding, Zorbing, Hikking, Trekking, Boating. It is the crowd that at times you would want to avoid as this is one hill station which has gone the commercial way. You also need to shell out money at multiple points with regards to tourist tax.
That said Mahabaleshwar is a Food Paradise as it offers unusual and offbeat items that you wouldn’t see elsewhere. The climate in this British founded town is conducive for strawberries. You can go on a strawberry trail in the farms that dot the hills. The hotel you are put up in could arrange one for you. Crates, Baskets are loaded and piled with strawberries that could be found across this hill station for sale. Do not forget to buy your share.
If you want to savour the strawberries in its various forms head to Mapro Garden. This is one place that dishes out various products and snack goodies where you crave to taste something of everything.
A towering glass of Strawberry with fresh cream and ice cream, brick baked pizza, jumbo sandwiches loaded liberally with cheese and various varieties of crushes, juices.
Mapro also gives you an array of crushes, squashes and juices that could be had with milk or water. You can taste the various flavours in their premises and decide on your favourite. Jams, Jellies in various flavours are available in bottles that could be carried back home.
Mahabaleshwar doesn’t restrict you to strawberries. You have the mulberries and the fresh, small and stubby orange carrots, corn (roasted/ boiled) and pink radish stacked up beautifully in baskets. They are very inviting and appealing for any visitor.
Honey Parlours are found around the town. Once you head to the central market it is a variety of footwear for ladies and kids that you can find after every two shops. It is a street filled with knick knacks, souvenirs, quirky items, woollen wears.
The different varieties of chanas (Pudina Chana, Tomato Masala Chana, Chat Masala Chana etc.) and chikkis of Mahabaleshwar are equally famous as its distant cousin Lonavala. The markets sell delicious fudges and jelly chocolates for the visitors.
As you drive down to the Venna lake for a boat ride you are greeted with vendors selling various snacks on their go carts. Bhajjis, Samosas, Corn Patties, Burgers, Cotton Candy, Pav Bhajis and Vada Pav all lined up on either side of the road.
My personal favourite a hot cup of ginger tea with bhajjis and pakoras on a rainy day.
Getting to Mahabaleshwar –
Mahabaleshwar is a three hour drive from Pune and a five hour drive from Mumbai
Stay at Mahabaleshwar –
There are many resorts and hotels in Mahabaleshwar that you can stay put at. Ramsukh, Brightland Resort & Spa, Glenogle a Scottish Bungalow are to name a few.
Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar-
If you are one of those who love the torrential showers June to September would be good time. Personally I prefer to avoid Mahabaleshwar during the rains and visit it post monsoon.
Head out this year to experience the magic of the hills and the culinary delights of this place that soaks in the glory of the rains and wears a fresh and resplendent look.
Note – All the photos were clicked using my mobile except the last. Didn’t carry a camera 🙁