India

Mahabaleshwar Viewpoints

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Mahabaleshwar is a hill station located in the Sahyadri mountain range of Maharastra. With one of the few evergreen forests of India, it served as the summer capital of the Bombay province during the British Raj, and now is a popular holiday destination especially during the monsoon season.

My visit to Mahabaleshwar was just a day excursion from Pune, so time was not on my side. In the few hours I was there I was able to visit Pratapgad Fort, Panchganga Temple, Krishnabai Temple, and a number of the more accessible viewpoints, of which Mahabaleshwar offers many.

The day was certainly not geared for any decent photography. I was not able to see anything during the early morning or late evening, so the fierce sunlight of the midday hours was the time I was forced to shoot under.

In terms of viewpoints, here’s where I managed to get to.
Harrison’s Folly

Just before you drive up the final incline to Panchgani there’s a flat hill you can drive on to on the right hand side. The views from here were of course spectacular, a 270 degree vista of the entire valley from Dhom dam to Wai village.

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Table Land at Panchgani

At 4,550 ft above sea level, this is the highest point in Panchgani. The volcanic plateau is in fact Asia’s second longest mountain plateau after the tibetan plateau. It is a vast expanse (around 6 km) of flat laterite rock surrounded by hills, with just one solitary tree on the plateau itself.

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Things start to get a little more touristy here, clearly during the monsoon season it’s a popular destination for visitors. There’s a couple of caves serving drinks, and your usual stalls by the car park.
Elphinstone Point

Discovered in 1830 by Dr. Murray, Elphinstone Point is one of the highest points in Mahabaleshwar. The viewpoint got its name from Mountstuart Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay. The point commands a panoramic view of the Pratapgarh Fort, Koyna Valley and nearby plains.

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Arthur’s Seat

Named after officer Sir Arthur Malet (1806–1888), who sat here and gazed at the Savitri River where he lost his wife and children in a tragic ferry accident.

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This is the most popular view point in Mahabaleshwar. Although, popularly it is known as the Queen of the Points, the original name of the point is in fact Madhi Mahal.

Note that the area around Arthur’s Seat has six view points in total:

  • Arthur’s Seat Point
  • Echo Point
  • Hunter Point
  • Tiger Spring Point
  • Window Point
  • Malcom Point

I was pleasantly surprised by what Mahabaleshwar had to offer, especially as it’s been on my wish list of places to visit from Pune for over 10 years ! I can now properly relate as to why this is such a popular destination, especially during the monsoon season when the landscape must seem even more dramatic. But there are advantages to coming outside of the monsoon season, strawberry season in February being one of them 🙂

 


 

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