Mystique Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar is one of the favorite weekend destination for many of the Mumbaities. Located in the western ghats this place is more than 4000 ft above the sea level and is approximately 250 km south east of Mumbai. From Mumbai, you can reach Mahabaleshwar by either taking the NH18 (Mumbai Goa Highway and parting at Poladpur village for Mahabaleshwar)  or you can go via Pune then taking Satara Highway and finally parting at Surur village for the hill station. 

The hill station offers hotels and restaurants suiting all budgets. I prefer to stay at the MTDC resort as it is outside the town and away from the buzz of crowd. About fooding, if you are a strict veggie, try the Gujju thali @ Hotel Dreamland. We preffered dinner at the Sayali as it offered varieties of cuisines with sizzlers being the best.  Ambience of the family bar and superb service of the staff will make you visit again at this place.

One thing which first catches your attraction,  the moment you enter into Mahabaleshwar are the fresh and colourful strawberries on sale at every nuke and corner of the small town. 

Strawberries_1
Land of Strawberries

These strawberries are often placed in beautiful small heaps placed on a cane basket by the local vendors. Price ranges from Rs 80 to Rs 200 per heap in Oct/Nov months.

Strawberries_3
Strawberries_3

The main street of the town is full of shops selling Jams, Jellies, Fruit syrups & Juices, winter clothings, deserts like walnut fudge, chikkis and most important ‘chana’. Yes the very humble chick pea of chana is a must have in Mahabaleshwar.

Malvi's Shop_1
Malvi’s Shop_1

At the end the main street there is a shop exclusively selling food products of ‘Malvi’ brand. What attracted me was the symmetry of the placement of various stull on the racks.

Malvi's Shop_2

‘Saffron and Cardmom syrup’ is the best in the class item being sold by Mavis, the amount of effort put in by the staff in decorating and maintaining the racks with superb colour combination is just amazing..

Malvi's Shop_3
Malvi’s Shop_3

The racks are backlit and the effect of background light on the vivid coloured bottles of syrups is a treat to watch. A must shoot spot for any photographer, I suggest..

Malvi's Shop_4
Malvi’s Shop_4

Just another shop selling different brands of food products…

Just another shop

Fresh red radish and carrots are also seen being sold on main street and many other parts of the hill station. As told, the red radish has many medicinal properties (more at .. http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-radish.html). 

Red Radish_1
Red Radish_1

This local produce comes at a quite cheap price (Rs 20 for a bunch of around 10 radish). Do taste it with a dash of salt and lemon juice with your lunch. Unlike white radish, this is neither pungent nor brings bad breathe or burping effects…. 

Red Radish_2
Red Radish_2

You will find practically every visitor buying this humble Chana or chick pea in Mahabaleshwar. Plain, Salted, Spicy (Nimboo, Hing, Schezwan or Mint you name it and they have it)…

Chana for Sale
Chana for Sale

Mama Chanawala is the most popular amongst all chana venders with their fourth generations doing the honours. Along with chana, they also sell chikkis, fudge, syrups and honey etc. Shop is located at the end of the main street.

Mama Chanawala
Mama Chanawala

The main street offers some thing for every age group. These cubical alphabet beads used for making friendship bands being sold on the main street prompted me to try my photographic skills. Size of each bead is less than 5 mm. Feel free to rate the photo… 

Having been to Mahabaleshwar plenty of times, I skipped most of the so called tourist points. However this location (Needle point enroute to Panchgani) offered me this speactacular view of the Balakwadi lake.  

Balakwadi Dam

A macaque enjoying the bananas offered by my son at Kate’s point. Shot by my little photographer for whom this was a learning trip of basics in photography. Somehow he has shown particular interest in the macro or bokeh photography.

Macaque at a tourist spotMacaque at a tourist spot

Although it was too late, our trip to Kaas flower plateau offered some exciting photographic opportunities. Given below are some of the wild but tiny flowers shot in the valley of flowers…

Wild flower and the FlyWild flower and the Fly

Photographer in the making. He simply copied my style of holding the camera and his photographic instincts have started delivering the results. You wont be able to guess the photographs he clicked in this article with his Nikon L110 while I was with my newly acquired Nikon D5100…

Learning first lessons of PhotographyLittle Photographer

Just another wild flower commonly seen across the valley…

Wild flower_2Wild flower_2

These commonly found tiny wild flowers were shot in the evening hours by Sahil…

Wild flower_3Wild flower_3

Wild flowers blossoming in the valley…

Wild flower_4Wild flower_4

This rare (at least to my knowledge) butterfly was pointed out by my son while we were wandering in the Kaas plateau. Butterflies are very difficult to shoot as they dont given you enough time to prepare. This photograph was shot from a distance of 4 feet using my Nikon DSLR.

ButterflyButterfly

The Mapro Garden and Factory Outlet on Panchgani Road

While we travel from Mahabaleshwar to Panchgani, Mapro Gardens is one of my favorite stopover. This place is my favorite not because of the discounted products it offers but for the small but very beautiful garden it maintains there. In my previous visit, there were lots of Dehlias however this visit offered some exotic flowers and colourful but delicate orchids. Sharing some those marvellous flowers shot by the duo…

Flowers@Mapro Garden_1Flowers@Mapro Garden_1

Another wonderful orchid….

Flowers@Mapro Garden_2Flowers@Mapro Garden_2

One of the grass flowers….  

Flowers@Mapro Garden_3Flowers@Mapro Garden_3

Riot of colors…

Flowers@Mapro Garden_4Flowers@Mapro Garden_4

Before this, I saw this kind of orchid only at the The Changi International Airport at Singapore…

Flowers@Mapro Garden_5Flowers@Mapro Garden_5

Heavenly retreat…

Flowers@Mapro Garden_6Flowers@Mapro Garden_6

Another grass flower….

Flowers@Mapro Garden_7Flowers@Mapro Garden_7

Ek Mein aur Ek Tu…

Flowers@Mapro Garden_8Flowers@Mapro Garden_8

Hum Saath Saath Hai…

Flowers@Mapro Garden_9Flowers@Mapro Garden_9

Touch Me Not… 

Flowers@Mapro Garden_10Flowers@Mapro Garden_10

Finally we wrapped up this visit with buying lots of products from the factory outlet counter at the Garden…

Sales Counters at Mapro GardenSales Counters at Mapro Garden

Dont miss to taste the different varieties of juices and syrups at these tasting counters… No limits for number of tries and choose your favorite pick only after suiting your taste buds…. 

Sample Tasting @ Mapro GardenSample Tasting @ Mapro Garden

Last memories…. The Falero containers on display….

Falero Containers on Display @ Mapro GardenFalero Containers on Display @ Mapro Garden

Feel free to suggest improvements….

With Best regards / Sunil

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6 thoughts on “Mystique Mahabaleshwar

    • So kind of you. I am publishing few more blogs this month. The first one is on the Belgian city ‘Bruges’ where the early scenes of bollywood moview ‘Peekay’ were shot. Beautiful place with lovely waterfronts, chocolates and beer choices… Please do visit and leave your comment…

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