A Holiday Among The Hills…

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.” – St. Augustus.
When I applied for my Postgraduate degree in an institute in Pune, I was moving out of home for the first time. As a farewell treat, my parents took me for a holiday, so after signing in at my new abode – ‘the girls hostel’, I was taken to a hill station 120 km southwest of Pune – Mahabaleshwar.

Thanks to my geography, I just knew that this place is located in the Western Ghats and is one of the few evergreen forests of the world, and otherwise I also knew that ‘Strawberries’ are the specialty.

We rented a car from Pune, for we all enjoyed traveling by road and it was a journey to remember. One can also get a bus ride to this place, the Volvo buses in Pune charge around Rs. 200. Not only are the roads good, but the journey itself is a treat to the eyes. I saw the words, “the journey is as beautiful as the destination”, come true.

I think the best season to visit this place is the summer, but I hit the place in mid –July, rainy season, or categorically called the ‘off-season’. Having traveled to a number of places, I can say that the charm of seeing a place in its off season is also unique. It was raining most of the time and the place was covered with thick fog. Vision within 15 meters was impossible, and the weather was chilly. You might wonder how on earth anyone can even look around the place, but my 3 day stay at this holiday resort was unbelievably great.

We reached Mahabaleshwar around 4 pm and went straight to the Maharashtra Tourism Department Guest Houses. Though the place itself has umpteen numbers of luxury hotels and resorts, the MTDC resort was a nice choice. Spread across miles, the place had individual suites at certain distances. The architecture of the place was medieval, and it all added up to the look of the place. We left the place an hour later to roam around, the rains had stopped and we could walk up to the Mall of the town.

If you have ever been to the hill stations, you would know what fun these malls are; from Roadside shops, selling clothes, to yummy eateries and horse rides. The Mahabaleshwar Mall was on less fun. The weather was cold, but the mood was upbeat, so we had hot and spicy corn, took the horse rides, bought the famous jams and pickles of Mahabaleshwar and shopped for things like bags and chappals. There are a few recommended things that you must do once you are in the mall, like having hot corn, buying a bottle of fresh jam and there are shops selling handmade stuffs which you should not miss out on.

We then reverted back to the cosy room and enjoyed hot cups of coffee in our warm beds. The next morning was an even better sight. The fog had cleared up and the beauty of the place was breathtaking. I don’t know why this trip energized me so much. Sightseeing around the place is very easy; you can get ricks and buses from the centre of the town. Horses are also available, and there are paths for adventurous delightful rides.

The Arthur’s Seat and the Echo point are a must see .The Venna lake is picturesque and a late evening boat ride is a special tourist attraction. The Shiva Temple in old Mahabaleshwar, is the source of 5 rivers, and water keeps flowing throughout the year.

The beauty of Mahabaleshwar is breathtaking. Along with that, it provides a peaceful getaway, a place where you can relax, take long walks and just indulge yourself.

So go up to Mahabaleshwar,

Whirl your minds,
Dazzle your eyes,
And fall in love,
With the Mahabaleshwarian hills.

Amrita Jain

[Image source:http://www.dtctours.com/SubPkgImages/MAHABALESHWAR.jpg]