Mahabaleshwar and the Westsern Ghats.
Mahabaleshwar is all about plenty of stunning view points that mostly lies in the old Mahabaleshwar road. While driving from Panchgani towards Mahabaleshwar we took the road towards old Mahabaleshwar and followed the road which ends at Arthur’s seat. The road travels through the dense forests of Mahabaleshwar providing immense greenery as the trees formed canopy over the roads.
DENSE FOREST ALONG OLD MAHABALESHWAR ROAD, western ghats.
Of the numerous view points we selected Elphinstone point,Savitri point and Arthur’s seat point. The first picture is that of Elphinstone point which is also known as Elephant’s head point as the shape of one of the mountain at this point looks like the head of an elephant. This view point offers stunning views of the Koyna river valley and is one of the highest point of Mahabaleshwar. The second picture is that of Savitri point which lies after Elphinstone point on the way to Arthur’s seat. The Savitri point is also known as suicide point offering breathtaking views of Savitri river forming gorges along the Western Ghats. All these view points in Mahabaleshwar offer stunning moments for photography due to the backdrop of the mountains amidst dense fauna. In the monsoons the view points become active with numerous waterfalls that create some out of this world experience for the travelers. Though monsoon is the best time to visit these view points in Mahabaleshwar ,but due to such beautiful panoramic views of the river valleys ,these view points are worth visiting all throughout the year. Western Ghats offer a worthy pictaresque.
VIEW FROM ELPHINSTONE POINT, Mahabaleshwar.
VIEW FROM SAVITRI POINT, Mahabaleshwar.
Arthur’s seat point is undoubtedly the queen of all view points in Mahabaleshwar to capture the panoramic views of the Sahyadri mountains. This is the last point along the Western Ghats when we took the diversion from old Mahabaleshwar road towards Elphinstone point so ,I had to walk for nearly 20 minutes to reach the Arthur’s seat point which is at a height of 1470 metre above sea level.
As I started walking from the parking lot in Mahabaleshwar I came across several significant points which are Echo point,Malcom point,Tiger spring point and finally Arthur’s seat point. The place was crowded and the whole walking trail is filled with numerous shops selling corn and other fast food items. The influx of the tourists is highest in this spot as it is the most famous tourist view point in Mahabaleshwar so capturing photos without the crowds is nearly impossible.
Arthur’s seat is named after Arthur’s Malet who lost his wife and daughter in a tragic accident in Savitri river ,so the British officer used to sit here and gaze at the river. From the view point in Mahabaleshwar the valley looks like a great canyon dividing the Konkan and Deccan valley.
As I reached the extreme point in Mahabaleshwar it started to rain heavily so I was not able to capture the panoramic views of the canyon but surprisingly I was fortunate enough to see the magical natural phenomena of the changing colours of the sky as the moisture laden clouds slowly moved from one side of the canyon towards the other end and the rain drops started floating towards the view point. In the monsoon perhaps this is a dramatic experience so although the photos may not be so clear in capturing the natural beauty of the valleys but the exquisite natural phenomena of the changing climate clearly provokes a magical experience.
VIEWS FROM ARTHUR’S SEAT POINT.NOTE THE DENSE DARK CLOUDS in Mahabaleshwar.
My next destination in Mahabaleshwar was Kate’s point which provides a panoramic view of the Dhoom dam and the Krishna river. In all the three previous view points the weather was damp with frequent downpours, but when I arrived at Kate’s point the sky was clear with bright sunlight offering staggering reflections of the green mountains as the sunlight pierced the dark clouds. The dark clouds and the bright sunlight painted Sahyadri mountains with multiple colours and helped me to capture a distant vision of the Krishna river valley.
Although the same valley can be seen from Parsi point but what makes Kate’s point stand unique is it’s altitude as the view point is situated at 1290 metres on a flat land on a plateau. Due to it’s height and the terrace like structure the view of the Krishna river valley is most clear and best from this majestic view point of Mahabaleshwar.
The view point from Mahabaleshwar has three points in total which are Echo point,Kate’s point and Needle hole view point. The view point was named after the daughter of then British governor Sir John Malcom and indeed like all the view point of Mahabaleshwar due credits must be given to the British governors of those era for exploring Mahabaleshwar as the queen of all hill stations in Western Ghats.
Apart from the view points Mahabaleshwar has some other important destinations both of historical and geographical experience. Venna lake is one of them which is an ideal entertaining spot for travelers coming here for vacation. This artificial lake is a major tourist spot in the heart of the Mahabaleshwar town where tourists can enjoy boating around the lake surrounded by the Western ghat mountains. In the monsoons the water of the lake looks even more fresh and the surrounding grasslands of the mountains rejuvenates with greenery that makes it an ideal scenic spot to capture the beautiful landscape. But during the monsoons the government doesn’t allow boating facilities for the tourists in the lake to avoid accidents due to landslides from the mountains bordering the edges of the lake.
Being a major tourist spot the place is crowded throughout the year with plenty of fast food and tea shops that thrive on the visitors coming for boating in Venna lake. The locals also offer rented horse rides for the tourists which may be an alluring adventure for the kids when the boating facilities are not available. Venna lake is a man made lake built by the Raja of Satara in the year 1942 so despite not being a natural lake ,the serenity and the cool breeze in the vicinity of the lake is undoubtedly refreshing like any other natural freshwater lake in India.
Without a memorable sunset or sunrise a trip to a hill station is never complete. As I had only a day to explore to Mahabaleshwar so I decided to conclude my day trip in this hill station with a sunset.The most famous point in Mahabaleshwar for watching the best sunset of this hill station is Bombay point, which offers different shades of a sunset. The place is visited by numerous tourists ,specially after 5 o clock in the evening and that is why there are numerous shops in the large open space which has been built to help the large number of tourists to have a wide view of the sunset. When I visited this place it was already drizzling and unfortunately the drizzle converted into a heavy downpour. But surprisingly after the downpour the entire place was covered with clouds and the distant hills showed up with different shades of the sun rays as the dark clouds slowly passed away. I was lucky enough to watch such magical phenomena of nature where I was standing in between the clouds while the Western Ghats were reflecting the multi colours of sun rays after the rain.
There were more interesting places which a tourist can visit to imbibe the valiant historical stories near Mahabaleshwar like The Pratapgarh fort and Pandavgad fort. Also tourist can camp near the Koyna river and explore the scenic landscape of the sanctuary on the banks of the river that adds to the beautiful geographical features of Maharashtra. Keep following my website www.toursandjourneys.com to see more of Maharashtra in my next blogs and don’t forget to subscribe my YouTube channel Toursandjourneys to watch the documentary of this trip.