Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani hill stations near Pune are beautiful. A getaway during British era, it is scattered with points and spots named after the officers of those days.
Read more about the Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani hill stations in series 2, series 3, series 4.
Warning: This post will make you pack your bags and take an immediate holiday to Mahabaleshwar. It is an image heavy post.
Ever since we have moved to Pune over 7 years ago, a trip to Mahabaleshwar has become like an annual pilgrimage and we never ever feel bored.
There is always the Mall Road to stroll on, horses to ride and see galloping about, boats to paddle.
And then there is the beauty of fresh strawberries, mulberries, cape gooseberries, and much much more.
I have visited the place in April, October, November and December and each time it presents me something new to explore, new to enjoy and new to take back with me.
For the last 3 years we have been staying in a vintage hotel, Savoy Village which is ideally situated near Mall Road and Bus Station making it a perfect place to camp and enjoy the neighboring area on foot.
I am not good with words but I do believe I am better with images, so I am going to share my travel story of Mahabaleshwar with photos.
This travel story will be in series of posts as I find there is so much beauty I captured and I have to share all of it with you.
My posts will not be a lesson in history or facts or even a travel guide but they will try to present a Mahabaleshwar I see and enjoy with a family, the things which I and my family love doing there and the places which we visit and re-visit year after year.
And I hope by the end of the series you will love it as much as we do.
In this post, I will share images of fun activities we indulge in, the randomness of Mall Road and the place which has taken our heart when it comes to lodging.
My 6-year-old son loved the shooting balloon games and enjoyed those rounds with his dad and I took great pleasure in catching the balloon board before and after the slaughter. ;)
The man filling in the very small lead pellet (dal in Hindi) with precision was worth watching in action.
The Mall Road for us starts at the Bus Station, Taxi Stand, a central petrol pump and a Dominos, a Coffee Cafe Day housed in a heritage Wadia Building (ADURJEE 1896) right next door.
The road is full of small vendors and shops like any tourist place with most common being toy shops, fresh fruits hawkers selling their produce on road, wooden items, bags, rugs and shoes.
I did not manage to capture a shoe shop but believe you me when I tell you that it is a BIG cottage industry for local people.
I bought 4 pairs this trip. Last year I bought 2 I think. Hoarding I know!! The quality of leather footwear is good and very competitively priced.
The Mall Road for us ends with a customary visit to Imperial Store which is run by a very old Irani family for generations, it is a one stop place for many tourists as it gives you food, wine, music to buy, imported goods to splurge on and feel at home in an otherwise laid back tourist destination.
Next door to it is a beautiful vintage house cum bakery selling those everlasting buttercream frosted pastries to the whipped cream ones available almost everywhere now.
A daily walk on the Mall Road is a ritual for us with window shopping, bargaining or simply enjoying.
For last 3 years we have been staying at a budget, but centrally located Savoy Village, cottage hotel.
The place is simple but is so lovely and enchanting that we do not miss the luxuries like AC or heater.
An old (now covered) well within the compound add to its old world charm.
The food is great and ambiance just makes up for everything. Proximity to Mall Road and most of Mahabaleshwar is a big plus for us.
If you haven’t fallen in love with Mahabaleshwar by now then stay tuned for the next in series for some more magic and if you have already fallen in love then stay to soak more of local beauty.
I loved your series of pictures and looking forward to more.
We also try to make it to Mahabaleshwar, atleast once in 2 years. And I am witness to the fact that one can never get bored of Mahabaleshwar.
Thanks Anu. And I totally know what you mean. I just can’t get enough of Mahabaleshwar. :)
I have been to Mahabaleshwar and found it delightful. It can get too crowded, but I guess you need to take it with a pinch of salt. It’s too pretty a place for people to not throng to.
I so agree Pratishtha. It is really beautiful and actually much well preserved than many north-Indian hill stations.
Excellent! Somehow I have never been able to discover Mahabaleshwar, always falling for the charm of Panchgani :)
Even I would love to explore Panchgani but my husband prefers Mahabaleshwar primarily because of Mall Road. :)
Nice capture. Made me nostalgic. Even we used to visit twice in a year. How much I miss it. Try Panchgani as it is also very scenic and has some nice old bunglows and comparitively less crowded. If you drive down its not far from Mahabaleshwar. Missing the strawberry with cream, mulbury with cream, mapro garden sandwich. WOW. Try the different flavoured chana’s and fudge that u get at Panchgani. Feel nice to see that you have really settled well in Pune.
Thanks Renuka. Ya I would love to stay more in Panchgani too especially Ravine or a bungalow nearby but Vaibhav prefers Mahabaleshwar for Mall Road, Imperial Store and Grapevine restaurant. :) Yes even I need to have a customary meal at Mapro with pizza, strawberry with cream and sandwich thrown in. By the way, I am doing a full post on Mapro soon. Chanas and fudge already carried back and enjoyed here. :)
My thanks for writing such a nice blog on Mahabaleshwar. The pictures are also amazing and an expression of the photographer aesthetic sense. But, what struck me often was your two boys, playing calmly, together. Now, at least, I know, where it comes from.
Joy can be found in the simple things in life, but, alas, we are losing it and it is very refreshing when someone presents the beauty in simplicity like you have done.
The owner of Imperial Store, Mr.Zavare Irani and his son, Raiomand Irani, who owns Grapevine are good friends of mine and I shall certainly show the blog to them.
The repertoire of the guests, who stays with me truly amazes me and I am blessed to come in contact with such talented and wonderful people.
Once again, Thanks and Wishing Your Family and You A Very Happy New Year!
A really amazing post I had ever seen. Images telling the story by themselves. Thanks for sharing with us.