The former capital of the Bombay Presidency, Mahabaleshwar, 250km southeast of Mumbai, is easily reached from Pune, 120km northeast. The highest point in the Western Ghats (1372m), it is subject to extreme weather conditions. Early June brings heavy mists and a dramatic drop in temperature, followed by a deluge of biblical proportions. Tourists tend only to visit between October and early June; during April and May, at the height of summer, the place is packed. For most foreign visitors, Mahabaleshwar’s main appeal is its location midway between Mumbai and Goa, but it has some good hiking trails, and a boating lake, and is close to the Pratapgadh fort (see below). Otherwise, the main activity is to amble up and down the pedestrianized main bazaar (Dr Sabne Road) and graze on the locally grown strawberries for which the town is famous.

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