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India
strawberries
strawberries (0)
Trip Date:2010-03-12 - 2010-03-16
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Countries visited:India
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Mahabaleshwar Strawberry tour

It is offseason in March to visit Mahabaleshwar but we( 2 of us) as always were eager to see Mahabaleshwar at any time of the year. We booked rooms in MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) Resort 45 days prior to our visit time. Its almost full at all times. We booked a standard room at Rs800 per day online. We had already booked our airtickets before that.

Our iternary : Delhi - Mumbai - Mahabaleshwar - Pune - Delhi

Day1 - Mar12,2010 : We boarded our spicejet flight around 6AM in the morning from Delhi and landed around 9:30AM in Mumbai. Just before landing one gets a good aerial view of the area around Mumbai (large buildings and slum clusters) on the right side of the plane. As we came out lot of taxi drivers swarmed us. We took taxi for Rs3800 to Mahabaleshwar. I had driving directions downloaded from Google Maps. It was very accurate. After getting out of Mumbai we were on to highway to Pune-Mahableshwar. Its a smooth ride, best roads in India. We took some breaks in between for breakfast and lunch. There are lot of good stoppages in between and well maintained too. After crossing Pune, Ghats (Hills) start. Climb is not as steep as it is in Himalayas. Roads are wider and smooth. We found that hills are all yellow, very little green due to end of autmn season. It was a bit dissappointment for us as we have seen all green hills on net when searched for this region. May be we were at wrong time of the year. It was very hot weather. But soon we forgot that as we liked the hills slopes, geography. There are wide open areas in between hills. Soon we reached Panchgani, hills here were green and weather turned a little less hot. Then we entered Mahableshwar and it was all green and beautiful. I was amazed to see footpath along the road in mountain area. We came to know that it is strawberry season here. We were very happy to know that. We bought some strawberries from a street vendor quite cheap. Strawberries were fresh, juicy and sweet. We reached MTDC around 2:30PM. Its around 2km further away from bus stand but in beautiful location. We got our room, it was normal room, not so well maintained. We took quick rest and then went to have lunch in resort itself. It has seperate big eating area. It also has Kerela massage center. Lunch was ok. We took a little nap and arounf 4:30PM we went for a walk upto the market. Walking is fun here as roads are clean winding through green forests and as it was autumn, dry leaves made them more beautiful.
Market is very good. As we were dissappointed with hot weather we tried to change our plans and do quick exit from Mahabaleshwar but it could not be worked out, so we decided to stay as planned in Mahabaleshwar. And we were happy that we kept our plans and sooner we realized that its a good place to be at any time of the year. Market was interesing, it had very good variety of ladies's chappels (slippers), handbags, ice cream shakes, foods etc. We had another round of Strawberries there and we also had famous Strawberry shake with icecream and Strawberries.

Day2 - Mar13,2010 : We took taxi for Rs1200 to see various spots in Mahabaleshwar. We asked our driver Santosh to customize our spots as were not interested to visit any forts/man-made architecture. Santosh is very nice person (his contact # +919923132914). He is very simple and understanding. We visited quite a lot of spots and liked Mahabaleshwar more and more. Places we visited were:
Parsi Point: View of Krishna river valley, has swings for children.
Table Land: Vast flat area on a hill top. We walked all along the boundary of the flat area and it took as quite a lot of time. There are horse trams which one can take instead of walking.
Mapro Garden: Small garden and good eating area on the side of Mapro factory. We tried 2 mocktails here, they were good.
Wonder Point : View of Dhom Dam on river Krishna is amazing.
Kete's point: Another place to have a good view of Krishna River valley.
Starwberry Graden: We visited one strawberry garden on the way back to our resort. It was quite an experience to see real strawberries on the real plants.
Lodwick point: This was further away from our resort and one had to walk a km to get there. Walk was beautiful and we liked it but got tired on the way back. Santosh asked us to take a rest in resort and then he will take us to sunset point in evening. We were happy to hear that.
At around 5:30 it rained heavily for half an hour and weather surprisingly became cool and area more beautiful.
Bombay point/sunset point: Later in the evening we went to sunset point. Almost all the tourist were there to see sunset. Location and view were good.

People are same verywhere..view near resort:

Day3 - Mar14,2010: We decided to have long walks in the jungle and do nothing (no sightseeing). We went to the right of the MTDC resort and took a path to the left of the road small distance from resort. It was covered with leaves and was beautiful. There was no sound except our walking on dry leaves and birds. We spotted a dear to far away on our path. We walked for around an hour. On the way we saw a big plan area which was empty when we reached but soon tourist swamped that. I think its called polo ground. One can walk through these jungle paths to all directions. These are beautiful and safe. We came back to resort and took some ayurvedic massage at the resort (cost Rs800 for back massage). Later in the evening we again went to market. Market this time was buzzling with people as it was weekend and lot of people form Mumbai and Pune came. All the hotels were full. We went beyond market and took a big round circle around market. We saw houses behind market and found out how much damage people do to envinorment behind this beautiful market.

Day4 - Mar15,2010: We took Neeta's Volvo to Pune around 9:15AM. Bus we had was not so well maintained but ride was very smooth. Since it was going to Mumbai, we had to get down at Pune by-pass. We got down around 12:30PM, walked for a km and got some auto-rickshaw to our hotel "meru" in Dhole patil road. Weather was very very hot. Hotel was simple and good. We took some rest and went for a walk. Its like Delhi. One difference i found was that auto-rickshaw drivers were wiling to go by meter and were not charging high. We had our dinner at Madhuban restaurant near dhole patil road. It was very nice experience. Food was tasty and cheap, ambience was good.

Day5 - Mar16,2010: We went to some popular markets in Pune and took our flight back to delhi at around 6PM and reached delhi around 9:40PM.

Overall I liked mahabaleshwar and will soon re-visit it.

Tips:
- Driving directions downloaded/printed from Google Map website
- If you want luxurious stay, do not opt for MTDC
- Get tourist map of Mahabaleshwar beforehand or from market in Mahabaleshwar.
- Taxi driver Santosh (contact # +919923132914) for local sightseeing in Mahabaleshwar.
- AC bus from Mahabelshwar to Pune is not recommended for people who feel suffocation in a closed place.
- Mocktails in mapro garden eating area.
- On weekends, Hotels are full. Better to avoid weekends or book in advance.
- Monsoon season is best to visit in order to see waterfalls in Mahabaleshwar. In March there were no waterfalls.
- March is strawberry season.
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