a weekend in mahabaleshwar

It’s good to get out of the city. I love living in Mumbai however, sometimes you just have to escape and just breathe in fresh air. School told us we had Friday off (thank you India and your festivals!) so we quickly formulated a plan to get out of the city. Goa is so close to Mumbai via a flight but we’d been there only two weeks before… We did some research and thought what about a hill station in our own state of Maharashtra?

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Connaught Peak

Turned out our lovely friend had a house in Mahabaleshwar, the old summer capital of the Bombay presidency. We drove Thursday night for 6 hours on the highway. Making our way around bends, curves and twists, watching city lights get smaller and smaller as we ascended higher.

Now Mahabaleshwar is famous for it’s huge, vibrant red strawberries. Being English I thought we knew all about strawberries however, I was wrong. On every road you will find someone sitting with a table piled high with neatly arranged strawberries.

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We heard that the gardens rarely let you pick them nowadays due to careless handling. But it’s good to have friends who know people. We went to the field opposite our house (you can find strawberry fields everywhere). If you really want to pick your own (which I totally recommend) then maybe try sweet talking them… I ended up buying 4kg worth! Don’t just stop at the strawberries, the dark raspberries are so sweet and the gooseberries so sour.

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Emily had a great time with the strawberries

Mahabaleshwar is full of incredible view points worthy of every step. Our first stop was Wilson Point, we sat there for an hour just looking out at the mountains upon mountains listening to the stillness (trust me, after living in Mumbai’s constant drum for six months it’s a strange feeling). My favourite point was Connaught Peak. We climbed up and up the stairs revealing a naked looking ugly structure which gave the most incredible view when you climbed to the top. I could have sat there for hours looking out across the miles upon miles of forest land.

Pratapgarh Fort is one of the most iconic landmarks of Mahabaleshwar. Completed in 1656 the fort gives you a stunning 360 degree view.

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We visited Arthur’s Seat one of the most famous points in Mahabaleshwar. It was the most crowded place by far but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the view. To get away from the crowds you just have to go slightly off track and just stand in awe of the scenery.

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View from Arthur’s Seat

Where to stay:

Club Mahindra Mahabaleshwar Sherwood – I didn’t stay here but we walked through the grounds. The building looked very old fashioned colonial style in need of updating but I would stay here for the swimming pool!

Where to eat:

There are so many roadside cafes it’s just a case of pulling up and making a choice. We ate delicious thali’s and drank strawberry and cream shakes (the cream was too much for me so I opted for a strawberry juice). The best food we had was on our first night, the guys prepared a bbq, Emily and I made salad and barbecued corn.  We sat for hours in the garden beneath the stars, sleeves rolled down, socks on.

Shopping:

Market street was brilliant for shopping! There wasn’t any bargaining since everything was a fair price. I came away with chairs to hang from the balcony, cute leather pumps (750 rupees each) and a beautiful white crochet top (200 rupees). I also stocked up on chocolate walnut fudge from Wilsons and chikki for my friends in England.

I would 100% go back to Mahabaleshwar, it was so beautiful! Heading back to Mumbai wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I felt so relaxed that the feeling stayed with me for almost a week!

And of course the travel pose came out…

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