I am in love with Mahabaleshwar. Rightly so, because of its lush green mountains and food delicacies. By the latter, I mean strawberries. Every year, it has become a routine for us to spend at least one long weekend in Mahabaleshwar, especially during winters, as my family is in love with strawberries, mulberries, blueberries, and everything that ends with berries 😛
Once, I visited this hill station during the rainy season, and it was an absolute delight. The climate was so cold, we almost had the feeling of Nainital, the fun of blowing out fog from the mouth while speaking. Boy! You don’t get to do that very often. Imagine having this experience so close to home in Maharashtra.
How to travel?
If you are from Mumbai or Pune, reaching to this idyllic hill station is ideally simple. There are regular buses plying from these locations. My family prefers a sleeper bus at night. Therefore, on a Friday night, post dinner, we got into the bus from Rabale, Navi Mumbai, around midnight. By six in the morning, we reached Mahableshwar.
The best part was we avoided the Ghats totally. My family and I are not much of a Ghats fan but we simple love traveling to mountains. Nevertheless, if you are driving by your car, it is ideal to plan a day trip, as the Ghats are rugged but you might not face many issues in the daylight as the roads are well maintained.
Where to stay?
As we were not traveling by our own vehicle, we decided to book a hotel right at the heart of the market. This time, we stayed at Hotel Shreyas, bang opposite to the bus stand, is a decent stay location if you do not want to spend much on accommodation. The hotel is well located and the rooms are clean, well maintained and full of amenities. There is a swimming pool, separate for adults and kids, a play garden for the little ones and functional clubroom with the standard table tennis, carom, karaoke and the likes. We travelled just before the bizarre pandemic or Coronavirus, so I can’t comment on the facilities related to sanitization at the moment.
Once we stayed at Mango Hotels – Valley View, Mahabaleshwar. It was a much luxury stay, but this hotel is a little far from the main market and a downhill. So, be prepared to walk up and down.
What to eat?
As I said, one of the main reasons for sticking close to market was due to the umpteen number of food stalls. One stroll around and you will find all the delicacies that one can possibly desire. My favourite without trouble is the corn and cheese tikki. Next to it, around the main market chowk, you can relish Maggie (in various permutations) pulav, egg bhurjee, pav bhaji, different golas and strawberry creams. I bet your stomach will be full but your heart will crave for more. From local cuisine to exotic delicacies, like pancakes, waffles, sandwiches and more. You can find everything to satiate your hunger within this heavenly main market.
Of course, there are small eateries and big hotels in this area. According to your budget, dig in. The food is tasty no matter where you decide to eat.
Where to shop?
If you are a shopaholic like me, you have several reasons to travel light and fill up your bag while in return. The main market of course is a shopper’s paradise in true sense. From winter clothes, to toys, to sarees, upholstery, exclusive art pieces, not to forget stylish footwear, this market exhausts you with its offerings. In all my trips, I have bought shoes at dirt-cheap cost and winter earmuffs are my absolute favourite.
You can find many travel souvenirs to get it for your loved ones, at an affordable price. This market is abundant with choices, so again, travel light and shop until you drop, on your way back. If you are visiting in the strawberry season, make sure to pack kilos and kilos of fresh strawberry, but on the day of your return journey. There is never too much of strawberries 😉
Stay tuned for the next blog, as I share our experience on picking strawberry direct from a farm and other fun things to do and places to visit in Mahabaleshwar.