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A Mahabaleshwar City Guide – a misty and magical nature lover’s paradise

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Perched amid a glorious succession of deep cutting valleys, rolling hills, and shining lakes, the hill station of Mahabaleshwar is a hypnotic holiday destination. As well as countless views to enjoy, the area is bursting with excellent trekking routes that snake through thick folds of leafy forest and woodland, with plenty of attractions to explore along the way. Any touring foodies and shoppers will also find a good deal to keep them entertained.
Where to shop

 

 

If you’re in the market for some leather goods, soft and comfortable slippers, intriguing handicrafts, and quality fabrics, you’re in luck. The Town Bazaar is replete with traders selling all of these, plus tribal souvenirs, unique walking sticks, and other gifts of various shapes and sizes. Over the years, the spot has garnered a reputation for producing gorgeous examples of traditional bridal wear, with the town’s saris being sourced by upmarket boutiques from further afield. Mapro Gardens and the local honey farms are ideal for anyone partial to sweet preserves, while the historic Imperial Stores at the end of the main street will cover just about all your basic needs.

 

Where to eat

 

 

Enjoying a prestigious reputation as one of India’s best berry-growing regions, Mahabaleshwar is predictably home to an excellent choice of cafés and restaurants that serve sweet fruits in their finest forms. At Mapro Garden – a colourful and lively produce centre – you can find an irresistible selection of ice creams, milkshakes, jellies, jams, and juices to gorge on. Hirkani Garden, which sits just off the road from Mahabaleshwar to Panchgani, is a rough and rustic diner that cooks up some of the finest locals flavours. Both the Town Bazaar and the countryside immediately surrounding the centre are good for finding some fabulous food.

 

Where to stay

 

 

The centre of Mahabaleshwar makes for a great base from which to explore the wonderful countryside. Ideal for backpackers and adventurers, the city is home to plenty of comfortable budget hotels with basic perks. A few plusher options are out there and might come with a pool, a good restaurant, and splash of stylish décor. The scenic outskirts of town boast a number of upmarket luxury retreats complete with spas, poolside bars, and stunning views sure to take your breath away. Perfect for honeymooners, these hotels will require a bigger budget, but you’ll get your money’s worth.

 

Travel tips

 

 

To get the best prices at the Bazaar you’ll need to be prepared to haggle, as some of the traders have a tendency to overcharge tourists – so bring your best game. It’s advised to pack a good supply of layers in both summer and winter as the evenings can get fairly crisp, if not cold, thanks to the heavy mists rolling through. It can get particularly busy here from March to June, so come prepared for crowds – the Strawberry Festival each March or April is worth it, though.