Queen of the Ghats
|Type of Tourism||: Hill Station|
|Area||: 150 square kilometers|
|Population||: 12,780 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 1,438 meters (4,718 feet)|
|Languages spoken||: Marathi, Hindi, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (02168), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 412806|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to June|
|Clothing recommended||: Cottons in summer and Light Woolens in winter|
|What to buy||: Strawberries, Mulberries, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Carrots, Honey, Fruit Products such as; Jams, Jellies, Marmalades, Crushes, Roasted Chickpea Nuts, Chikki, Handcrafted Leather Footwear like Kolhapuri Slippers, Fancy Walking Sticks, Tribal Trinkets|
|Food Specialties||: Corn – Boiled and Roasted, Corn Pattice, Small Tomatoes, Vada Pav, Gujarati Thali, Strawberries, Mulberries, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Carrots, Honey, Fruit Products such as; Jams, Jellies, Marmalades, Crushes, Strawberry Fudge, Strawberry Milk Shake, Roasted Chickpea Nuts, Chikki, Beer.|
|Local transportation||: Taxis, Cabs, Buses.|
Mahabaleshwar, an alpine just descended from the heaven and frequently honored by the title ‘Queen of the Ghats’ is the most altitudinous, most pulchritudinous, surpassingly promoted and progressed and most beloved hill resort of western India. Alighted at the elevation of nearly 1,438 meters in Sahyadri Mountain Ranges of Western Ghats, Mahabaleshwar boasts of possessing one of the few evergreen forests in the world. This convivial berth used to serve as the summer capital of the erstwhile Bombay Province during British Raj when the British officials sought retreat from the scorching summer sun of Bombay to this Promised Land. This alluring Arcadia furbished with splendid orchids, graceful lilies and luscious strawberries was evolved and expanded as a hill station in the year 1828 by Sir John Malcolm. He was a Scottish soldier who served as the governor of Bombay for 3 years.
Mahabaleshwar, skirted on all the sides by lovely valleys embellished with pristine natural beauty, is the synthesis of three villages namely; Malcolm Peth, Old "Kshetra" Mahabaleshwar and a part of Shindola village. This is also the originating point of the second longest river of the country - river Krishna. A widely recognized hill station and an eminent honeymoon point; Mahabaleshwar is a paradise personified for nature lovers and peace seekers. The beguiling natural beauty of this Utopia also summons myriads of filmmakers and producers to come and captivate the unparalleled luster of cosmos and make it eternal. Placid lakes, lush green hills, cascading waterfalls and winding rivers augment the picturesque beauty of this turf.
Christened in the honor of the celebrated temple of Lord Mahabaleshwar (Lord Shiva), this holiday home is also a venerable Hindu pilgrimage of the state of Maharashtra. The word ‘Mahabaleshwar’ implies the Lord of Great Powers. Well known for the delicious strawberries and mulberries, pure honey and canned fruit products, Mahabaleshwar is visited by innumerable tourists both Indian and foreigners every year. Variety of sports, adventure and leisure activities such as boating, fishing, horse riding, trekking and golf bid myriads of enthusiasts to this dream world came alive. Mahabaleshwar is a Garden of Eden ascended on the earth in its real sense. Everybody must visit this vicinity offering perennial euphoria and perpetual jubilation at least once in a life time.
History of Mahabaleshwar
The oldest registered account of the name ‘Mahabaleshwar’ dates back to 13th century when Maharaja Singhan; the Yadava King of Deogiri region paid a visit to this hamlet in 1215 AD. At the originating point (Ugam or Udgam) of Krishna River, he set up a small temple devoted to Lord Mahabaleshwar and also constructed a water tank beside the shrine. A Brahmin Clan of rulers invaded Mahabaleshwar and its surrounding terrains in 1350 AD, who were later conquered by Maratha family of Chandarao More in 16th century. Chandarao More and his heirs reined Mahabaleshwar and Jaoli when they restored the Lord Mahabaleshwar temple of 13th century.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha king and the founder of Maratha Empire overturned Chandarao More’s rule and vanquished both Jaoli and Mahabaleshwar in 17th century. The magnanimous fort of Pratapgad was built by him in 1656. Peshwas took over Mahabaleshwar after the demise of Shivaji Maharaj and retained the governance till 1819 AD when Mahabaleshwar and the hilly region around were integrated in the province of Satara King by British order.
A military brigade commanded by Col. Lodwick arrived and stayed at Satara in April 1824. The sierra of Mahabaleshwar was ascended by them and they approached the point which is today known by the name Lodwick Point. Sir John Malcolm, the father of this ballpark alighted at this rejuvenating and pleasant niche and laid down the practice of visiting this hill station every summer, so as to be able to escape the burning heat of Mumbai. Sir Mount Stuart Elphinstone, Arthur Malet, Carnac, Frere and many others followed this trend established by Sir John Malcolm and became regular guests to this blissful cloud cuckoo land. Sir John Malcolm built here a sanatorium for ailing and sick and also a resort for the vacationists. Initially known as Malcolm Peth, the present day Mahabaleshwar was instituted in the year 1829 – 30 and by the end of 19th century it flourished as a celebrated hill station in every corner of the globe.