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Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar

Discussion in 'Maharashtra' started by Jassar, May 8, 2017.

  1. Jassar

    Jassar New Member

    I would like to visit the hill station Mahabaleshwar and can not really decide on when I should go. The weather at hill stations is quite different and I would prefer going when it is not too cold or too hot.

    As my knowledge about the destination is very less I would like some advice on when the best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is?
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Jassar, welcome to the forum!

    best-time-to-visit-mahabaleshwar.
    (Images from Ankur, CC BY, Tarun and Urban Wanderer)

    Overview

    The favourite hill station getaway of locals from Pune and Mumbai is none other than Mahabaleshwar. Why not? With its salubrious climate all-year round, truly fresh air, surrounding greenery and oh so, sweet strawberries, this hill station is hard to resist. But did you know that during the British rule, the hill station become an open prison area for Chinese convicts? It's true and we actually owe it to these convicts, who grew various fruits, vegetables and even tea in the lush lands of Mahabaleshwar, why the hill station is now the Strawberry Capital of India. While there are no traces of these Chinese convicts in the region now, since they were freed after the colonial rule, they have left behind the best-tasting strawberries in the country, which then became the legacy of the hill station. Mahabaleshwar is an interesting destination, filled with religious, natural and historical sites, enough to keep one busy for a day or two. For the first-time tourists, this guide would highlight the best time for visiting the hill station, so you can plan your trip accordingly.

    Best Time to Visit Mahabaleshwar

    Just like most hill stations in India, the climatic seasons of Mahabaleshwar can be divided into three. These are the following: summer, monsoon and winter. Each season provides for a different side of the hill station so in a sense, you can visit it at any time of the year. But for those with specific interests or goals in mind, there's a designated season for you. Say, you would rather avoid the hill station during peak tourist season, or maybe you would love to see the hill station in its full greenery. For such interests, Mahabaleshwar can be visited at a certain season, to fulfil your travel goals, as they say.

    1. Summer Season (March to Beginning of June)

    mahabaleshwar-in-summer.
    (Images from Esha)

    If you're not afraid of the crowds that throng Mahabaleshwar during the summer season, then this is the best time for you to explore the hill station. The climate during this time is just right, not too hot, nor too cold. During the month of March, temperatures remain around 23°C to 27°C. By April and May, temperatures climb a bit higher, reaching 30°C and beyond. Though not as common, temperatures can even reach around 35°C during these months. For the aforementioned months, rainfall is sparse in the hill station. By June, temperatures go around 33°C or lower and by the end of this month, rain showers would be more frequent. This is perhaps the most humid time in the hill station, as the season is transitioning from summer to monsoon.

    The summer is also known as the peak tourist season of Mahabaleshwar. Hotel rates are at their highest during this season, especially for the months of April and May. For some attractions, especially those that involve activities, you would be required to queue so this can be a downside. If you're planning on booking a travel agency, their rates might also be raked on the higher side. During the day time, the climate on the hill station would be on the warmer side so light cotton clothes would suffice. Bring some sun gears such as caps, scarves, hats and of course, shades. By night time, the climate would be chillier so bring some light jackets still. For sightseeing, you can pretty much cover all the attractions of the hill station during this season but it might not be as enjoyable due to the crowds.

    First on your itinerary during summer should be the view points, which would truly give you a clear view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Mahabaleshwar is home to many view points but recommendations are Arthur's Seat, great view of the Savitri River from here, Elphinstone Point, where you can view the nearby Pratapgarh Fort from, Wilson Point, no better view point than this for sunrise or sunset viewing, and Connaught Peak, requires a bit of trekking to reach but gives one a panoramic view of the valley. You can also visit Old Mahabaleshwar, where the famed Panch Ganga Temple can be found. Don't forget to visit the nearby Krishna Devi Temple and Mahabaleshwar Temple as well. Boating in the Venna Lake during late afternoon is also recommended. You can skip the waterfalls as they won't be as mesmerising during this season.

    Several festivals are also celebrated during this season in the hill station. During the month of March, the onset of the Hindu New Year is celebrated through the Gudhi Padava Festival. This colourful festival is marked by the special Gudhi, which are colourful scarves hoisted in the windows or terraces of houses, decorated with neem or mango leaves and a garland. Aside from this, food, cultural performances and processions are hosted on the streets of the hill station. Of course, the Strawberry Festival, held during March or April, is another can't be missed spectacle. During this festival, in time with the harvest of strawberries, products made from the fruit are showcased to tourists. There are also free tours of strawberry farms during this festival.

    2. Monsoon Season (End of June to September)

    mahabaleshwar-in-monsoon.
    (Images from Kshama)

    For the offbeat travellers or the nature lovers, there's no better time to visit Mahabaleshwar than the monsoon season. By the end of June, rainfalls begin to ravage the hill station though not as intense yet. This season officially begins during the month of July, with temperatures remaining below 30°C. Rain showers are more common during this month, with intense rains almost everyday. By August, temperatures would go even lower, around 26°C to 28°C. Days would be usually cloudy and overcast but rainfall would be less intense. By September, rain starts to lessen and by the end of the month, days are usually a bit sunny. Temperatures in this month remain around 26°C so it's very mild.

    The monsoon season is the off-peak tourist season of the hill station. For hotels and resorts, you can enjoy the discounted rates which can help you save some money. Travel agencies might also slash their package rates to lure travellers to take them. Rain showers and rainfalls are frequent during this season but that doesn't mean that you can't do sightseeing. Mostly, rain showers are intermittent throughout the day, with afternoons having the most intense ones. You can bring your light woollens and rain gears such as umbrellas, waterproof boots or raincoats. For sightseeing, you can still do it but keep in mind that some attractions, like view points, or activities, like boating, are not such good places to visit during this time.

    Instead, you can opt for nature attractions like waterfalls. The Lingmala Waterfalls, comprised of two waterfalls, namely: the Bada Dhabdhaba and the Chota Dhabdhaba. The former meaning big waterfalls and the latter meaning small waterfalls. They require a bit of trekking to reach, around 30 minutes more or less. The Dhobi Waterfalls is a small cascading waterfall formed from the damming of the Koyna River. While during the summer this waterfall won't look as glorious, it transforms into a cascading beauty during the monsoon. You can also visit the Panch Ganga Temple, where the origin of five rivers can be found, which would also have more flowing water during this time. While boating on the Venna Lake might be risky, you can still enjoy its serene view from the banks during this season.

    During August or September, the Ganesh Chaturthi is also celebrated in the hill station. This festival is celebrated in fervour in Maharashtra, including Mahabaleshwar. It is a tribute to the birth of Lord Ganesha, a 10-day festival of fun but important rituals. Special idols of the deity is made during this time to be displayed on homes and even public areas. Aside from the usual procession, there are also cultural performances of folk dances or orchestral music. Part of the festival is food offerings, which are different for each region, but usually consists of Modak, a variation of dumpling with a sweet stuffing.

    3. Winter Season (October to February)

    mahabaleshwar-in-winter.
    (Images from Sushant)

    If you want to enjoy the cold climate and misty views of Mahabaleshwar truly, then a visit during winter season is mandatory. October might still see sporadic rain showers that are less intense. Temperatures are around 24°C during this month. The months of November and December are colder, temperatures usually remain below 20°C. By January, expect temperatures to reach below 15°C, sometimes even going below 10°C. Rain showers are rare during this season, as well as snowfall, since Mahabaleshwar doesn't really receive below zero temperatures.

    The winter can be considered as the mid-peak tourist season of the hill station. Rates for hotels and resorts during this season are on the mid-range. While day time temperatures are tolerable, night time temperatures might get even lower. Bring heavy woollens and socks to combat the cold climate. Sightseeing is a good activity during this time since you can cover all attractions easily. View points might be foggy though so opt to cover them during afternoons only. For the waterfalls, it's best to visit them post monsoon, which is either October or November, so that they are still on their full glory. Crowds during this season are not as many but you certainly would still be able to see some tourists in popular attractions.

    The mentioned attractions above like the Panch Ganga Temple, Krishna Devi Temple and Mahabaleshwar Temple are worth visiting during this time. View points like Arthur's Seat, Elphinstone Point and Connaught Peak can be visited during day time, preferably afternoons. You can also include the Pratapgarh Fort, an ancient fort that is important in history because this was where Shivaji won his first ever battle. The Mapro Garden and Venna Lake, along with the Pratap Singh Park, are good attractions to cover as well. If you still have time, you can take a nature trail in the Gureghar Forest too, so you can enjoy spotting the wildlife of the region.

    Winter is very festive as December is when Christmas is celebrated. Similarly, New Year's Eve is also held in January which many hotels and restaurants celebrated in great vibrancy. Also celebrated during January is the Makar Sankranti, a Hindu festival dedicated to Surya, the deity for the sun. Aside from fun activities such as kite flying, processions and fairs, the exchanging of Halwa is also done during this time. With the exchange of this sweet dish, the past grudges are also forgotten of the individuals involved.

    Conclusion

    As you can see, the different seasons of Mahabaleshwar have varied pros and cons. Summer might be crowded but it offers mild climate for those who easily get cold. All attractions are open during this season but rates for hotels are on the higher side. Monsoon brings out the greener side of the hill station but the random rain showers can lead to itinerary delays or postponements. On the upside, rates for hotels are at their lowest during this season and crowds are very sparse. Winter is the coldest season, where you can enjoy showcasing your newly bought heavy woollens. Rates are on the mid-range and crowds are not as bad.

    I hope this helps you!:)