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.
- 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.
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
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.
‘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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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 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…
Just another wild flower commonly seen across the valley…
These commonly found tiny wild flowers were shot in the evening hours by Sahil…
Wild flowers blossoming in the valley…
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.
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…
Another wonderful orchid….
One of the grass flowers….
Riot of colors…
Before this, I saw this kind of orchid only at the The Changi International Airport at Singapore…
Another grass flower….
Ek Mein aur Ek Tu…
Hum Saath Saath Hai…
Touch Me Not…
Finally we wrapped up this visit with buying lots of products from the factory outlet counter at the Garden…
Sales 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 Garden
Last memories…. The Falero containers on display….
Falero Containers on Display @ Mapro Garden
Feel free to suggest improvements….
With Best regards / Sunil