Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani – In Monsoon
I had a plan to visit the Ozar Temple, lenyadri caves, Shivneri fort (birth of Shivaji) and Chakan Fort, Mahabaleshwar, Raigad, Pratapgad fort in one single trip. The plan proved to be well feasible as Day1 spots were in one line, day 2 spots were in second line.
My entire itinerary ( 4 days) was
|Day 1||Pune started 4.30 AM ->Ozar temple-> Lenyadri -> Shivneri Fort-> Reached at 8.30 PM night at Mahabaleshwar At this time I had covered 350 KM.|
|Day 2||Mahabaleshwar -> Raigad. Come back to Mahabaleshwar by 6 PM 85 KM|
|Day 3||Mahabaleshwar->Panchgani local site seeing 6 hrs time taken|
|Day 4||Abhishek Puja at Kshetra Mahabaleshwar temple -> Pratapgad Fort (20 KM)->Mahabaleshwar Bus stand to catch Pune. Reach Pune by 7 PM.|
|Total distance covered start to end was 690 KM|
There are certain points where we can not see the nature view during monsoon season (June,15 to Aug end). But still I feel there are other points from where you can fulfill your this desire. Day 1 and Day 2 I already described in different articles in this web site. Here I am sharing my experiences of local site seeing at Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani.
It is absolutely (emphasize absolutely) great experience to visit Mahabaleshwar in monsoon and I am sure you will never repent. But you should be ready to welcome rains anytime, get drenched any time,hiding your camera, hold your journey waiting some where for rain to stop, sipping tea and pakoda.
125 KM from Pune, 230 KM from Kalyan,Mumbai, 30 KM from Mahad
History of Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar comprises three villages: Malcolm Peth, Old “Kshetra” Mahabaleshwar and part of the Shindola village.
Mahabaleshwar is the source of the Krishna River that flows across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The legendary source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow (I did not notice cow anyway )in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Old Mahabaleshwar. Legend has it that Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the trimurtis by Savitri. Also, its tributaries Venna and Koyna are said to be Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma themselves. An interesting thing to notice is that 4 other rivers come out from the cow’s mouth apart from Krishna and they all travel some distance before merging into Krishna. These rivers are the Koyna, Venna (Veni), Savitri, and Gayatri.
Also Mahabaleshwar strawberry contributes to about 85 percent of the total strawberry production in the country
History of Panchgani
This is twin city of Mahabaleshwar ( 20 KM).
During British time superintendent named John Chesson was made incharge to search for a cold and scenic place in the Maharashtra region. He found this nameless place in 1860 surrounded by five villages: Dhandeghar, Godavli, Amral, Khingar, and Taighat and also surrounded by 5 hills of Sahyadri mountain ranges so the place is named as Panchgani.
Chesson encouraged various professionals – tailors, dhobis, butchers,vegetable vendors, building contractors etc. to also settle in Panchgani. The area below the bazaar was allotted to them, and is known as the gaothan. Chesson is buried in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Church.
Panchgani is not only famous as a hill station or its schools but it is also famous for the strawberry farms. An event of Strawberry Festival is held every year in summer.
November near Diwali time is best season to visit. Then September to March. If you love rainy season then June 15 to Aug end.Whole Mahabaleshwar will be sprawling with water falls and you will be drowned in clouds\fog.
Planning for local tour
MTDC arranged for a local driver . In discussion I came to know that the below list varies from season to season. Morning 9.20 AM driver reported at hotel. First he wanted to start with Old Mahabaleshwar. Points are grouped under different trips and each trip has different fare.
If locals say points are closed. It does mean that you can go but views will be partially visible. I suggest even if views are not visible visit these points..
Choose trips according to your choice. Given below is some idea about points.
The points were covered by me EXACTLY in below ORDER.
|Visit in below order||Points||Visibility in Rainy season||Comments|
|1||Krishna temple||visible||First temple while vising Ati Mahabaleshwar temple.|
|2||Ati mahabaleshwar||visible||Shiva linga is here. Inside portion was dark so could not see.|
|3||Kshetra Mahabaleshwar||visible||Original temple is 4,500 years old and it seems Pandavas came here. Later this temple was renovated once by Shivaji time.It contains Rudraksh roop Shiva linga|
|4||Panch Ganga Temple||visible||Said to be origination of Gayatri, Savitri, Koyna, Venna, Bhagirithi( once in 12 years) and Saraswati ( once in 58 years)|
|5||Hunter point||Partial visible||beautiful views of the Koyna Valley and the surrounding Sahyadri mountain ranges|
|6||Connaught peak||Partial visible||Horse riding|
|7||Arthur Seat||Partial visible||Elphinstone Point,Hunter point, Marjorie Point, Tiger’s Spring,|
|8||Strawberry Show||visible||Nothing much. Took ice cold strawberry Juice here. Too freshening.|
|9||Kate Point||visible||Fantastic views of water falls,elephants head,needle point,Koyna dam view, Koyna river, hovering clouds,valley scenes.You can do horse riding here.|
|10||Bilhar water falls||visible||Driver showed this fall from very far.|
|11||Parasi point||visible||Very good views can be seen for valley and|
|12||Table point||visible||Have a horse ride( bargain by 50%). He will show you a few points stretch in 3 KM area. Some views you can see Devils kitchen, Pandava caves, village etc|
|13||Sydney point||offers beautiful views of the Krishna Valley|
|14||Venna Lake||Partial visible||I guess this must be good place in summer. Rains the visibility was very low.|
|15||Lingmala Point||Partial visible||The water falling down looks like thin silver streaks.|
|16||Lodwik point||Partial visible||A twenty five feet high column erected in memory of the late general Lodwick.|
|17||Bombay point||Partial visible||Very popular sunset point. Shows the sahyadri range koyana valley & pratap garh.|
|18||Falkland point||Partial visible||beautiful koyana & valley view|
|19||Babington Point||Partial visible||view of the gorgeous Koyna valley, Chinaman’s waterfall and saddle back.|
|20||Chinaman’s Falls||visible||can be reached by going through the Carviali Road.|
|21||Wilson point||Partial visible||Sun rise. Did not visit this place.|
|22||Sydney point||Driver ditched me and escaped this point. Offers beautiful views of the Krishna Valley|
Points covered by me in rainy season were as below.
I am sorry the photos are not clear due to clouds and rains following me throughout the day trip. But I say it is worth worth to visit Mahabaleshwar in rainy season. In fact I would like to visit this place again in rainy season.
Ati Mahabaleshwar Temple
In glamour of Sree Kshetra Mahabaleshwar this temple is losing visitors and devotees. This is also said to be very old temple.
Sree Kshetra mahabaleshwar
This is just 2 minutes walk from Ati Mahabaleshwar Temple
I had taken a one day prior appointment for Pooja “Shiva Abhishek”. The temple fee for this Pooja is Rs.101.
It took 45 minutes (starts only in morning)for this Pooja. Photography is not allowed inside temple and there are cameras inside the temple. This temple has Shiva linga in form of Rudraksh and is regarded as a very auspicious by locals as well as through out India. This Rudraksh is said to be Tri Gunaatamak (Bramha,Vishnu Mahesh). This is mentioned in Skand Puran third chapter.
The original temple is regarded as 4,500 years (kalyuga start time)old and Pandavas came here.As per the priest there the third renovation of this temple was done in 1205. There is a Ganesh idol of 16th century in this temple with 18 arms 18 puraans.
In fron of Rudraksh shivling there is one bid covered hall with 4 pillars and a big Nandi statue in middle. Left side is Kaal Bhairav , old Ganesh idol and Shiv Shayan Kaksh (Shiv Sleeping room) with 6 pillars.
You can also call them on phone to do puja on your behalf and Prasadam will be sent to you by post. I heard they send Prasadam without fail.
This is just 1 minutes walk from Sree Kshetra mahabaleshwar temple and is regarded as source point for Gayatri, Sivitri, Koyna, Krishna and Venna. It also receives water from Bhagirithi (once in 12 years) and Saraswati (once in 58 years). This famous temple was built by Raja Singhandeo. He was the king of the Yadav of Devgiri in the 13th century. In the 16th century the temple was improved by the Maratha ruler Shivaji.
This place is near these temples. There are many points just very near such as Elphinstone Point, Hunter point, Marjorie Point, Tiger’s Spring, castle rock point. Since it was very rainy I just roamed about view gallery but scene views were not visible at all. High wind was blowing. Spent 30 minutes here as I enjoyed cloud, rain and greenery around, coffee.
While going to Kate Point the driver stopped at a Strawberry show room. Had strawberry ice cold juice and a brief information was given by a staff there about strawberry that the crop is for 6 months, every plant gives 2.5 KG etc.
There was no effect of fog or cloud in this point. This point has very scenic views but still photos are not clear due to fog at remote and rains. Horse riding is available here also.
Bilhar water fall
While going for Parsi point he showed this fall from kilometers far distance. I heard that people got here for camping etc.
A good view of Krishna river valley and green mountains. Telescope is there on paid basis. Adjacent to Parsi Point there is good neat restaurant for your lunch etc.
This flat large expanse of laterite rock is the second longest mountain plateau in Asia. These rocks are older than Himalayas.
There is horse riding chance for seeing 13 points (Rs.800 charge) on this plateau on horse. But since it was rainy I just saw the view point and plateau.
I think if you can walk 13 KM and weather is good this place will be very good for you.
There was Pandava cave (Devil’s Kitchen) below the ground but since it had narrow stairs leading to that I dropped idea of seeing that.
Mythology associated with is that it is believed that the Pandavas of the Mahabharat epic had stayed here for a while. Pandav Caves (near Wai) are also said to be built by them then.
I am sure this lake would be a very good place to relax and boating around. But due to monsoon season the games are stopped in middle of lake, boating also cancelled. The whole lake was covered with cloud\fog.
This is very old church which was used by British since they came to this area. With much difficulty and inquiry from locals I could find this church. One Hindu Bhonsle family (13th generation) looks after this church. I met the person and he runs a tea shop awarded by church in same campus.
From Aug,2015 this museum is stated. It is just beside the church.
If you love rainy season,see cloud around you,green wet forest and water falls, away from crowd, visit this place in monsoon.