Spend some time in a hill town in the west of India to see a diversity of landscapes and rock formations shaped like monkeys and an elephant.
With high mountain peaks, forests, waterfalls and a lake, Mahabaleshwar's wild scenery attracts large numbers of visitors every year. During the time of the British Raj it was the summer capital of Bombay. The hill town is located in the Western Ghats range where you can embark on long mountain treks and see unusual rock formations.
Enjoy a day of fun and relxation at Venna Lake, a short drive from town. Go boating or horse riding then stop for something to eat at one of the snack bars along the lake’s shore. Hike through the forests to reach Lingamala Falls.
Mahabaleshwar is known for its many sightseeing points that look out across the hilly terrain. Hike up Duchess Road to Kate's Point, at an elevation of 4,230 feet (1,290 meters). From here, you can see the Balakwadi Reservoir and the colossal Dhom Dam as well as the peaks of Kamalgadh, Mandardeo and Pandavgadh. Next to this lookout is Echo Point. Yell something into the wilderness and hear why this place has earned its sobriquet.
Nearby is Elephant Head’s Point, a set of cliffs that look like the head and trunk of an elephant. For more photo opportunities go to Monkey Point. The cliff is so called because the rock formations resemble three monkeys sitting next to each other. They recall the three wise monkeys that embody the ancient principle of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
There are many other scenic vistas in the area such as Arthur's Seat, Lodwick Point and Sunset Point. To make sure you see all of these, book a guided walking tour or purchase a map and make your own way around.
You can fly into Pune, 75 miles (120 kilometers) away and then drive or take the train to reach Mahabaleshwar. There are also regular bus services from Pune and from Mumbai, the state capital. Before visiting Mahabaleshwar’s spectacular natural attractions, stock up on food and water from the main market.