Kids’ day out to Mahabaleshwar

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.

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the middle road


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.

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strawberries, Yumm!

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.

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Looking for Santa..

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We found him!

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.

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I want to go back to the lake..

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.

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Riding the road king..

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The Horse is Named “King”!!

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Lake – close up.

We then went for boating in the lake.

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Bye bye 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.

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one last stop at Mapro farms

Kids again went back to the trampoline and bungee jumping. We spent another hour relaxing here, while the kids were busy having fun.

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Trampoline fun

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the path back to home..

It was time to drive back now.

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with my didi!

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.

22 Comments

  • Tipsy Tips says:

    Very witty write-up Yamini. :) You are very funny. At the end you leave us with a craving for strawberries. Now I have to get myself a strawberry treat. :-)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Yamini, many thanks for helping us re-publish this. The story reads as fresh as what it was many years back. Time flies. Wishes.

  • Yamini says:

    Thank you all for such encouraging comments. I take a bow. :)

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Very well written Yamini and yes starting the day with picture of icecreams with fresh strawberries buried under it, too bad esp when you can’t enjoy it ;)

    Kid’s really seemed to enjoy the outing a lot.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Beautiful post.

    I was a little disappointed to note that there are no strawberry pics. No, not those beneath the ice-cream but the ones on a tree!

    But no worry, the kids made up for it :-)

  • Deepak says:

    Great Post Yamini….,

    for the infoooo of all our fellow Ghumakkars favourite Mapro Products are Avlble at Reliance Fresh Chain of outlets in Delhi-Ncr….

    these not so famous Local Brands are Better in Taste
    Similarly when i brought H.PM.C. Range of juices ,jams fruit cocktails etc
    on my last visit to Shimla

  • Jastinder Sethi says:

    I have just today seen your post, Yamini, and it took me back.in fact decades back to 1965 when my two kids(with difference of 5 years between them) were studying in St.Stanislaus,Bandra, and were always keen to drive out of Mumbai for a long week-end.And guess.what place to visit but Mahabbleshwar and Panchgani. 35 years in Mumbai and at least 35 visits to the place.,with break at Khopli to fill radiator water! And what a beautiful drive it used to be during the Monsoon with nothing but green everywhere. And strawberries,bagful, used to come back with us. We met Mapro people then, and even today we prefer Mapro products than kissans-shanns etc. Our trips used to be in our Standard Herald those days. Your kids days at Mahableshwar takes us all (my wife included) back to Heaven Mahableshwar becomes during Monsoon! Dont compare it with hills of North, they are different class. Great ,and thanks for taking me back to Mahableshwer which last I visited was 1999, just before relocationg myself away from the far far maddening crowd of Mumbai.

  • yaminiarora says:

    Thanks everyone for such encouraging comments. Now that I have tasted blood… I’d be more proactive in chronicling my travels. :)

  • Patrick says:

    Lovely kids and wonderful trip. Good show Yamini.

  • Jitender says:

    Hey, very nice..the pictures are very well describing the enjoyment…

  • Shikha says:

    The pixs just leave me with a smile …..beautiful write-up

  • Jhanvi says:

    Great story and great narration… the pics of kids … even better!
    :)
    Must Write more.

  • Nandini says:

    That was really nice Yamini! Plus the pics made the narration very lively! And you driving up alone with two kids in tow was very commendable!

  • Rajneesh says:

    Hi Mam,
    Good to hear from u..
    Really a day out is like a dream come true.
    Reading gets me more excited to be there

    Thanks
    Rajneesh

  • Ram says:

    Welcome aboard Yamini. Your beautifully narrated post supported by some excellent pictures, made me nostalgic about our first couple of visits to Nainital along with our two daughters. Nainital too is situated around a lake and has apple and peaches in plenty at the Chaubatia Gardens.

    Thanks for sharing your delightful experiences.

    And as Nandan has said – please do keep on writing and make the readers happy.

  • Virender Sindhwani says:

    very well described and detailed article with lovely pictures.

  • Faisal says:

    Hey! Kudos article. Wonderful snaps….

  • Esha says:

    Lovely story and the pictures are fantastic! The kids look so grown up and so cute! Now, I just need to get my hands on some strawberries!

    Lots of Love, Esha

  • nandanjha says:

    Welcome aboard Yamini.

    Der Aaye Durust Aaye. It took me about 18 months of nagging :), glad to see your story here.

    Lovely pics and very well described. Little one is always on the right side except in last couple of pics :)

    Write more.

  • yaminiarora says:

    One correction here.

    The place where I took a right turn from underneath the flyover, from the Mumbai Bangalore highway is called Shirwal not Shirur. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Ushma says:

    Hey Yamini

    It was great reading about you and your kids trip to M’war. It was as if you are taking us to a recce trip to the place itself.

  • Anand Saha says:

    Nice! Reading this, I think I will plan a two day biking trip on that route :)

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