First of all let me start with a plot spoiler. If you have been to hill stations in North India, to the likes of Simla and Kullu manali, Mahabaleshwar may come as little disappointing. Without spoiling the fun any further, here’s what we discovered about M’war.
I live in Pune, and to people around here Mahabaleshwar is the Strawberry County. I haven’t in my whole lifetime seen so much strawberry, as I saw in 2 hours at M’war. The whole experience was so mouth watering seeing so many ripe and luring strawberries all strewn around you.
We started from Pune on Christmas morning at 7AM and it took me about an hour’s time to touch the Mumbai Bangalore highway. Mahabaleshwar is all of 110km from Pune. I am fairly new to car driving so I was at my cautious best all through the drive. It was a smooth ride on the Bangalore highway, but the trip from Shirwal, where you take a right turn from beneath the flyover up to M’was was quite chaotic, since it was a narrow village road.
From the moment you take this turn, you’ll see sign boards advertising Mapro, a local brand that sells various types of fruit crushes. I am particularly fond of their curacaos and strawberry/kiwi crushes. If I ever move out of Pune, these will be the first things I shall miss. We crossed Panchgani town, the place made more popular by Ishaan Awasthi in Taare Zameen Par. I kept teasing my kids that if they continue to distract me while the drive, I shall leave them here at some boarding school like Ishaan Awasthi’s parents did. Believe me it did work. Around 5 km further from Panchgani is Mapro Garden. It is difficult to miss and it will be a bad decision to miss it.
Kids had huge fun there. We had our long overdue breakfast here. Strange that it may sound, we started our breakfast with a cup of Minestrone soup each, followed it up with a platter of grilled sandwiches and concluded the meal with fresh strawberry with cream. Strawberry with cream must be the best offering on their menu and was decently priced too.
Kids then had their rounds of jumping on the trampoline and had loads of fun with Santa distributing sweets to everyone. There was this beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the centre of the compound too.
Kids didn’t want to leave this place, but we had to move nevertheless. Around 2 km further from here we stopped for go-karting. It was almost noon by then. We drove straight to M’war now, and went uptill the Arthur’s point, from where you get to see panoramic view of the entire landscape.
It was almost lunch time by now. We came back towards to outskirts of the city to arrive at Venna lake, the biggest attraction of the town. Kids enjoyed a few rounds of Horse riding on very interesting sounding horses like “King, as in Singh is Kinng”, Hritik, Shahrukh, Baadshah, Shahid, Shehanshah; while we had our most refreshing rounds of fresh vegetables, like red colored radish, and orange colored carrots. All of us then enjoyed farm fresh bhunna (roast) sweet corn.
We then went for boating in the lake.
We were famished by the time we finished the entire boating episode. Hardly in a position to wait for a restaurant to serve us food, we rushed back to our favorite Mapro garden. We had a thin crust wood baked pizza with a strawberry shake sitting by the pond side, and we were fresh as dew, ready to rock n roll again.
Kids again went back to the trampoline and bungee jumping. We spent another hour relaxing here, while the kids were busy having fun.
It was time to drive back now.
The drive back was more exciting compared to the drive in the morning, because of my being more familiar with the terrain now. I give myself a 4 on 5 for the drive going by my status of being a novice to driving. But what really matters the most was that it was a great day out for kids. I hope you’d agree too.