Mahabaleshwar is nestled in the lap of the Sahyadri Mountains, and it is a place well known for its numerous rivers, majestic peaks, and scores of strawberry farms. We, at Ghumau Kya, wanted to explore as many of these places as we could during our trip. So, the next day we took off from the resort early. By early, I mean before sunrise; or rather, way before the sun was even supposed to show its face. Since we couldn’t have breakfast, I hungrily guzzled down a half-finished bottle of soft drink from the night before, an action that amused my colleagues to no end, and which is still used to make me the butt of all diet related jokes.
Sleepy-eyed, we made our way to our first chosen spot of the day. It was still somewhat dark, so the roads were deserted, the moon was still out, and we encountered a light fog on the ghat as we drove down from Rockford Resort. The sight of darkness giving way to light as the sun slowly peeked over the horizon was absolutely magical, especially since the view around us was also great.
Wilson Point is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar. It is situated at an altitude of 4735 ft above sea level, which makes it a great spot for viewing sunrise. We reached Wilson Point earlier than expected, and spent about half an hour shivering in the freezing morning wind until the sun took pity on us and finally decided to emerge and warm us up. It was an incredibly memorable couple of hours we spent there, the marvel that is a golden winter sunrise keeping us glued to our seats. Meanwhile, our drone captured some gorgeous shots of the landscape.
Our next destination was a quiet spot unsullied by the modern world. While the Lingmala Waterfall is quite large, we spent most of our time on the lower deck, admiring the smaller falls. Since we had gone there early, no other visitors were present and we could pretty much do what we wanted. Treading carefully through the rocks and dirt, we made our way to the shallow edge of the water and quite surprisingly saw clear reflections of ourselves in the ripples. The lake was so crystal clear, we could see the rocks at the bottom.
After posing for numerous photographs, we finally decided to give our camera a rest and hiked up to the upper deck. It is a rather long trek, mind you, and we were out of breath by the time we reached the top. But the view was well worth it in the end.
Did you know there was a time when Indian farmers didn’t have a clue to the existence of strawberries? Good thing the British brought this fruit over and planted some in Mahabaleshwar. Once the knowledge of this new crop had caught on, well… the rest is history. And now Mahabaleshwar is called the land of strawberries.
Mapro is short for Mahabaleshwar Products and it started out in the 1980s as an extension of the Mapro Factory, which attracted visitors to see how jams and syrups were produced. Soon, its popularity grew and so did its concept. They started with selling just ice cream and jams, and now years later, it has turned into a full-blown tourist attraction, with a shopping area, a pond and a restaurant within its premises.
The place is beautiful and super colourful, and we had a great time shopping for delicious chocolates and syrups, and later enjoying another glass of that yummy Strawberry Cream we had so fallen in love with. Almost all the spots in the area are insta-story worthy, and so is the food. Truth be told, we didn’t want to leave Mapro Garden at all.
Just 5 minutes away from Mapro is Velocity theme park. It’s full of fun rides and indoor games, a perfect place for hanging out with friends or family. Games include go-karting (which we totally did, and it was awesome), gyroscope, bungee ejection, drop tower, rodeo bull, and air hockey among others. We thoroughly enjoyed the go-karting but had the most laughs on rodeo bull and the loudest screams on drop tower. Going to Velocity turned out to be the best part of our day. While the previous places we visited were just as fun and memorable, the rides at Velocity got our hearts racing and adrenaline pumping, and we’d never be able to forget that.
Parsi Point was one of the places we wanted to cover on our trip. It would have been cool to start the day with sunrise and end the day with sunset at two of the most famous viewing points in Mahabaleshwar. But it was so foggy that day, we couldn’t even see Parsi Point, let alone the sun.
Dejected, we climbed back into our car and headed in the direction of Panchgani, seeing the lights in the market and eventually stopping at a wonderful-looking, completely lit up restaurant called Purohit’s Namaste Veg Restaurant. We were knackered from all the walking and theme park rides we had done that day, but our exhaustion withered away the moment our order arrived. The food at Purohit’s was divine, and we had managed to end the day with a bang.