Mahabaleshwar 1

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Flag of India  , Maharashtra,
Saturday, November 28, 2009

Winter is a good time when in India to travel. On onset of the arrival of winter in 2009 we picked up Mahabaleshwar as our travel destination.

Hotels - There are a lot of good hotels in Mahabaleshwar, but we were specifically looking for something among the greens and away from the bustling market area. A lot of hotels center on the market area though. Among the various options, we settled for the Ramsukh Resort due to its location and the vistas it offered.
The other good places you could consider are the brightland resort and the MTDC resort. MTDC resort needs to be booked well in advance due to high demand. MTDC is a budget option. There are other budget options available in the market area.

Departure from Mumbai -

We started at about 7:30 AM and took the Thane-Belapur road to connect to the Mumbai-Pune highway. We then hit the expressway and halted at the food court for breakfast. Its good to start early to beat traffic.
We crossed Pune and continued on our way forward and followed the directions to Mahabaleshwar. Once you exit the expressway, you should take the NH4 all the way passing Chandni Chowk in Pune. It would be a good idea to tank up soon after crossing Pune. After about 90 minutes drive you will come across a road sign pointing towards Mahabaleshwar on the right. This road will take you towards Mahabaleshwar via Panchgani. Panchgani is home to several well known schools and you will pass them along the way. There are a couple of nice viewing spots along the way. A stop over at Mapro farm for lunch is recommended. The sandwiches are very good as well as the fruit juices on offer there. They have a nice strawberry farm too.
The roads are rather narrow and you could be taken by surprise from an oncoming vehicle. Driving with caution is recommended.
Buffet dinner is by the poolside restaurant and very very good.

The narrow roads offer stellar views as you cross Panchgani and get into Mahabaleshwar. The valleys then give way to dense forests, the roads get narrower. You got to pay a toll to use these roads at a makeshift checknaka on the way.
Even large Volvo buses are permitted on these ultra narrow winding roads which makes driving a real challenge. Extra cuation is to be exercised here.
We finally reached the Ramsukh resort located in some remote area in the jungles. (http://www.ramsukh.com/)

The resort is fantastic. They have a movie theater in campus as well. The buffet lunch and dinner are a treat and very tasty. The available food is vegetarian though.
The valley view suites are ideal to stay, but for the more glamorous the Maharaj/Ixora suites are well worth the money spent. They also offer exclusive 'Solitaire' suites which are really not worth the extra buck.
In a nutshell - If leaving by car, try and hit the Mumbai-Pune expressway by 8:30 AM.
A 7 hour drive with 2 breaks will see you at Ramsukh by 2:30 PM or so.

We checked in at the hotel and generally relaxed. The room had a fantastic view of the valley facing the east. Thus, seeing the early morning sunrise from the sunrise was a mesmerizing experience.
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