To save ourselves from the wrath of the sun, we packed our bags and whisked to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani for a refreshing experience. What can be better than waking up to a beautiful sunrise surrounded by lush green mountains?
Like many popular hill stations in India, Mahabaleshwar was also packed with tourists. I must say it’s a perfect weekend getaway for the city dwellers. It has a no. of places or points (what they call) to visit which are very near to each other so you can cover a lot even if you have only a day.
First we drove to Arthur’s seat. It is one of the most popular points. The view is very beautiful from here. Going around Mahabaleshwar is about hopping from one point to another some near to each other and for some you have to drive a little. The view of Krishna river from the top is astonishing and one can view nature’s artistry in carving the mountain tops resembling various forms like Needle’s hole or more famously Elephant’s head.
After site seeing we left for the famous Mahabaleshwar temple. Basically there are four temples right next to each other viz Mahabaleshwar Temple, Atibaleshwar Temple, Khanabhai Temple and the Panch Ganga Temple. Mahabaleshwar temple being the main, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is hundreds of year old. The Shivilinga here is a Trigunatmak i.e. idol of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh in one and the temple is in the shape of a Rudraksha. The Panch Ganga temple is one of its kind, the temple has a huge Kund which is filled by water of 5 rivers poured in the Kund through a Gomukh. The water is pure and chilled.
Next we headed for Venna Lake but since it was dark so it was closed, the lake is manmade and is quite popular there. Near Venna Lake is the Mahabaleshwar Market where you can get anything to everything. All sorts of eateries, clothes and accessories are available here, be it South Indian dosa or Punjabi chole, Jaipuri Chanderi or Gujrati Bandhej work. Whether you shop for anything or not but don’t forget to buy ‘strawberries’ as you won’t get them any cheaper and of course better anywhere.
Next morning we left for Panchgani and we all know that it’s not only famous for its beautiful scenic view but it also houses the best Boarding schools of our country. On our way our driver kept telling us which movie was shot where and trust me the list was huge. From Gadar to Tare Zameen Par and many more. Since we were a little tight on schedule we left for the famous Table Top. It is Panchgani’s highest point at 4550ft. and also Asia’s second largest mountain plateau. It is surrounded by hills on all sides. We took a horse ride to detour the place, and Raj (our horse) dropped us near the caves where Pandavas were believed to have stayed. There was a small temple and even a tea stall in the cave.
This was the last straw of our trip and like all good things come to an end so did our trip. Although it’s a cliché but I must say that this place is not only enthralling and enticing but also has a rich heritage.