After much delay and research, we finally zeroed on to Mahabaleshwar. Both of us wanted a break, wanted to re-live the magic of Manali, the peaceful green terrains, snow capped mountains in the backdrop and a clean, pristine river flowing through the hill station.
We decided to chuck the idea of visiting Delhi in winters, though it’s a sight in itself. We wanted to dodge everybody and just relax.
Mahabaleshwar became our obvious choice because of various reasons - already a planned trip to Goa in Feb, Mahabaleshwar's proximity to Mumbai and a lot of stories about the hill station's beauty.
After a lot of research, we decided to opt for 'Valley View', one of the best (and costliest!!) resorts.
As we neared the place, I kept waiting to see something breathtakingly beautiful, something striking and peaceful and something which could stress the fact that Mahabaleshwar was a hill station!!
Both of us were very disappointed. There was nothing to talk about, very dry mountains, no streams that I had imagined, no place to sit undisturbed with your eyes closed, no cool breeze (except in the night) and no need to wear warm clothes. I loved the chappals, the mini-chappals, walnut chocolate fudge and strawberry cream though.
Our resort was a big disappointment too. I am next to being finicky when it comes to having clean toilets and bed sheets. And when you are paying an exorbitant price for it, I think you have a right to expect. Am sorry for the following disgusting explanation, but we had a WC with a 'sanitized' band around which wasn't even flushed! Yuck!! I have already apologized see.
The food was also pretty ordinary, the indoor swimming pool was also a disappointment. I hated the service and wanted to run out of that place. We went out searching for a good hotel. Sid likes everything to be planned weeks before, so the idea of canceling our reservation and checking out in another hotel all of a sudden, baffled him. But must say, he played along well, didn't protest much. We shifted to another hotel next morning, great rooms and good service at exactly half the price.
Went out sight-seeing, shopped some, cut short the trip and booked our tickets for Bombay for the very next day.
The journey was bad, very tiring and unnecessarily long. We opted for a Neeta Volvo instead of Raj Travels as we didn't want to wait till the afternoon for the bus. We took the first bus to Bombay. A word of advice here - never - as in never - go for anything except Raj travels busses if you have to visit Mahabaleshwar. They are very organized, have a fixed schedule and take the shortest route.
Our bus took exactly 10 hours instead of normal 6 hours. It went to all possible lanes of Pune, nearly called out people from their houses to board the bus. Ok, some exaggeration there, but I have every right to crib.
The whole plan to unwind went kaput. We were exhausted by the end of our trip. I am very sure we went at the wrong time to Mahabaleshwar, it can't be famous for nothing. I know it gets the second highest rainfall in India, so it has to be beautiful... just the wrong timing I sincerely hope.
P.S. The last paragraph was added to please my friends from Bombay who would obviously be blinded by the love for the place.
Planning to make another blog just for my photographs, will inform asap.