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Mahabaleshwar, Queen of Hill Stations, in Western India – The Historical Perspective
This popular hill station was the summer capital of the Bombay presidency during the days of British Raj. At an altitude of 1372 metres, Mahabaleshwar has pleasant walks and good lookouts, and the area has interesting historical connections with Shivaji. Fame came to this region when the erstwhile Maharatha King Raja Shivaji killed the Moghul Sardar Afzal Khan at Pratapgad.
However, the merit of turning this region into a Holiday Resort goes to Col. John Brigg, the Resident of Satara. As the first step in that direction, a good road from Satara to Mahabaleshwar via Medha was built. Just like Maharaja Pratapsingh, Maharaja Shahaji also took interest in the development of Mahabaleshwar and Venna lake was constructed in 1842. On this occasion a point was named after Sir James Carnac.
By 1842 many private bungalows along with a government sanatorium came up. During British Raj it acquired the fame of being the summer Capital of Bombay Province. After independence, with the growth of tourism, the popularity of Mahabaleshwar reached a new high. Its geographical situation also proved to be a boon. Being so close, Mumbaites favour it even for a short trip. Also, tourists bound for Goa can easily go to Mahabaleshwar as an off-shoot.
Thus have tourists expressed their love for this queen of hill stations. By visiting and revisiting. This relationship dates back to a long past and in the coming years it is sure to get still stronger.
Away from the busy life of the cities, this hill station provides a fantastic escape for the nearby city people. Mahabaleshwar is famous for its scenic beauty and the splendid views of the valleys and the sea, which is quite visible in clear days. Pony rides on the lanes of Mahabaleshwar are quite thrilling.
Youngsters enjoy cycle rides atop the scenic points in Mahabaleshwar. It also houses a splendid lake called Venna lake where boat rides and fishing are a exhilarating experience.