In continuation of my Travelogue Series…
I have discovered “Incredible India” travelling extensively and took the opportunity to share my awesome experiences of the rich Indian Culture through my blogs…..
Visit to Hill Stations Mahableshwar – scenic beauty – close to nature !!
Mahabaleshwar is a small town and a municipal council in Satara district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. With one of the few evergreen forests of India, it served as the summer capital of Bombay province during the British Raj. A hill station in India’s forested Western Ghats – Sahyadri range, It features several elevated viewing points, such as Arthur’s Seat. West of here is centuries-old Pratapgad Fort, perched atop a mountain spur. East, Lingmala Waterfall tumbles off a sheer cliff. Colorful boats dot Venna Lake, while 5 rivers meet at Panch Ganga Temple to the north.
Present day Mahabaleshwar came into existence in the year 1829-30. In old records it is mentioned as Malcolm Peth, but in practise today it is known as Mahabaleshwar.
The first historical mention of Mahabaleshwar dates back to year 1215 when the King Singhan of Deogiri visited Old Mahabaleshwar. He built a small temple and water tank at the source of the river Krishna. Around 1350, a Brahmin dynasty ruled this area. In the middle of the 16th century the Maratha family of Chandarao More defeated the Brahmin dynasty and became rulers of Javli and Mahabaleshwar, during which period the temple of Old Mahabaleshwar was rebuilt.
In the 17th century Shivaji Maharaj took over Javli and Mahabaleshwar and constructed the Pratapgad fort in 1656.
In 1819, the British included the hills in the territory of the Raja of Satara. Col. Lodwick (Late General Sir ) stationed at Satara, in April 1824 with a contingent of soldiers and Indian guides climbed up the mountain face reaching what is now known as the Lodwick Point.
Starting with Sir John Malcolm in 1828, a succession of them from Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone, Arthur Malet (for whom the seat at “Point Arthur” is named), Carnac, Frere and many others became regular visitors.
Mahabaleshwar comprises three villages: sumit dave Malcolm Peth, Old “Kshetra” Mahabaleshwar and part of the Shindola village.
Mahabaleshwar is the source of the Krishna River that flows across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The legendary source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Old Mahabaleshwar. Legend has it that Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the trimurtis by Savitri. Also, its tributaries Venna and Koyna are said to be Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma themselves. An interesting thing to notice is that 4 other rivers come out from the cow’s mouth apart from Krishna and they all travel some distance before merging into Krishna. These rivers are the Koyna, Venna (Veni), Savitri, and Gayatri.
The Climate is suitable for cultivation of strawberries; Mahableshwar contributes to about 85 percent of the total strawberry production in the country
In old Mahabaleshwar, 7 km from Mahabaleshwar, there are many tourist points and 5 temples to see, depicting old Indian architecture. There are also natural view points, some named by the British, who went on holidays in these places during the British Raj.
Krishnabai temple : Behind Panchganga temple, there is a small trail that leads to Krishnabai temple where the Krishna river is worshiped. It is built on the hilltop overlooking the Krishna valley and was built in 1888 by a ruler of Ratnagiri on the Konkancoast. The temple has a Shiva lingam and a beautiful statue of Krishna. A small stream of the river flowing from a cow-face (gomukh) falls on a ‘Kunda’ or water tank. Stone carved columns and ceilings are the special characteristics of this temple. This old temple has gathered moss and is in ruins. It is not visited much by tourists and is isolated. But it provides a most exquisite view of the river Krishna.
3 Monkey Point : Named because of the natural sculpture of the stones which looks like three monkeys sitting beside each other and portraying 3 monkeys of Gandhiji. Nestled deep in the valleys one can figure out from the outline of a big stone a natural cut out it give an effect of 3 monkey sitting next to each other portraying the Three Wise Monkeys. This point is on route to Arthur’s Seat.
Arthur point : Officer Sir Arthur Malet (1806–1888)(Not to be confused with British born actor of same name), who sat here and gazed at the Savitri River, where he lost his wife and children in a tragic ferry mishap
The Venna lake : The Venna lake is one of the major tourist attractions of Mahabaleshwar. The lake is surrounded by trees on all sides.
Kate’s Point : Kate’s point is located to the east of Mahabaleshwar and is famous for its view of two reservoirs, Balakwadi and Dhom. The point is around 1280 mts high.
Needle Hole Point / Elephant Point : Needle hole point is located near Kate’s Point. One can see a natural rock formation with a hole in between, thus giving the name Needle-hole. The point is also famous for the view of Deccan traps, which look like an elephant’s trunk.
Wilson Point : Named after Sir Leslie Wilson, the Governor of Bombay from 1923 to 1926, Wilson Point is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar at 1439 m. Known as Sindola Hill during the colonial rule, Wilson point is the only location in Mahabaleshwar where both sunrise and sunset can be seen. It offers a spectacular glance of Mahabaleshwar in all directions. It located at behind Mahabaleshwar-Medha road at 1.5 km from Mahabaleshwar city.
Pratapgad : Pratapgad is a fort near Mahabaleshwar. The fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is popular for in History of India as Commander of Bijapur Afzalkhan was defeated and killed by Shivaji Maharaj at Pratapgad.
Lingmala Waterfalls : This waterfalls is located near Mahabaleshwar. The water here falls from a height of approximately 600 feet. The water of Lingamala waterfalls cascades into the Venna Lake. The waterfalls is divided by projecting rocks into multiple tier
Today, Mahabaleshwar is a popular holiday resort and honeymoon spot, and also an important pilgrimage site for Hindus.