All about Mahabaleshwar.....
Mahabaleshwar Festivals and Culture
This nature's blessing is the source to five rivers namely,
Krishna,Venna,Koyna and Gayatri adding to its spectacular ambiance. The
place has a vibrant history of rule, with King Singhan of Deogiri being
the first one to come and set up a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which
is now revered as the famous Mahabaleshwar Temple and a tank at the
source of River Krishna. Do not miss the visit to this ancient temple.
The vivid history of Mahabaleshwar in itself defines the vibrant culture
and heritage of the place. You will be delighted to discover a fine mix
of the rich ancient Maharashtrian culture and modern sophistication.
Marathi is the most commonly spoken language with Hindi and English
being the other main languages. Ganesh Chaturthi is the main festival in
Maharashtrian culture and is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur. The
people here are rooted to the customs and traditions and have their
unique way of celebrating with their invigorating folk dance and music.
Almost all the festivals celebrated by Hindu, Christian and Muslims are
celebrated by people here with lots of enthusiasm. Some of the main
festivals are: Gudhi Padava, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Diwali, Christmas,
: The most important and popular festival of Maharashtra, Ganesh
Chaturthi is celebrated in the month of August - September. This
festival marks the birth anniversary of Ganesha, the Hindu god of
wisdom. Idols of Ganesha are installed and detailed arrangements are
made for lighting and decoration. The festival is held for 7-10 days.
The idols of Ganesha are immersed in the ocean or rivers, where
thousands of processions meet. The immersion of idols is accompanied by
drumbeats, devotional songs and dancing. This marks the end of the
Festival : The Lord Karthikeya temple is located at Rajapuri Caves
in Panchgani. The temple is dedicated to Lord Karthikeya (Lord Muruga,
Son of Lord Shiva).
temple premise is a calm and cool place and is best suited for people
looking for serene environment for relaxation and meditation. The
spiritual atmosphere adds impetus to relaxing moments. Rajapuri caves
got the religious importance due to this famous temple. Thaipooyam
festival during January-February month is celebrated here with lots of
enthusiasm. Thousands of devotees visit this temple during this period.
: Maharashtran New Year's Day is celebrated on the
first day of the Hindu month Chaitra ( March-April). This festival is
known as the Gudhi Padava in Maharshtra. This day marks the start of the
Hindu solar year.
Maharashtrian culture, with all its colorful customs, rituals and
traditions. The song, music and dance that accompany almost every
festive occasion add joy and excitement to the lives of the people from
every walk of life.
Mahabaleshwar Religious Places
Panchaganga Mandir :
As per the hindu mythology five holy rivers
krishna, venna, koyna, Savitri & gayatri show their token appearance
here in five springs flowing closely. They are seen flowing in five
stone conduits & joining in one horizontal half channel leading to the
Goumukhi cowface spout. Though the Gaomukh it falls in the cistern
below. On the northen side there is a similar conduit through which the
holy 'ganga' appears every twelve years. From the conduit on the
southern side flows the holy saraswati when the following astrological
times come together, namely, Bhadrapad month, shasthi (6th day) ,Tuesday
sun in hasta nakshatra, Rohini nakshatra in predominance & Vyatipat.
This miraculous yoga (coincidence) is known as the "Kapila Shasthi
Yoga", which is believed to be very auspicious occassion as per the
Shri Shankar Mandir : The Mahalinga of the lord Shiva is of
Rudraksha shape & believed to be 'self-bodied' (swayambhoo) It is called
Trigunatmaka meaning Brahma-Visnhu-Mahesh are on it for ever. On the
head of the mahalinga you see the marks of the five holy rivers (Panchaganga)
& their waters never loose their level. Mother Jeejabai was weighed by
gold by Raje Shivaji in this temple & then the gold was distributed in
charity. This Mahalinga is considered to be superior to the twelve
Krishnabai Mandir : This is also an old temple. The carving in the
stones of the columns & the ceiling is attractive. You can also see the
grand view of krishna valley from the temple.
: On the road to Arthur’s Seat, after Marjorie Point you should reach
these caves in stone after a short while.
Mahabaleswar Temple: The Mahabaleshwar Temple has Lord Shiva as its
presiding deity. The temple is encircled with a 5 ft high stone wall.
The Mahabaleshwar hills were named after Lord Mahabali which means great
Lord Karthikeya Temple, Panchgani: The Lord Karthikeya temple is
located at Rajapuri Caves in Panchgani. The temple is dedicated to Lord
Karthikeya (Lord Muruga, Son of Lord Shiva). The temple premise is a
calm and cool place and is best suited for people looking for serene
environment for relaxation and meditation. The spiritual atmosphere adds
impetus to relaxing moments. Rajapuri caves got the religious importance
due to this famous temple. Thaipooyam festival during January-February
month is celebrated here with lots of enthusiasm. Thousands of devotees
visit this temple during this period.
Rajapuri Caves: Rajpuri Caves hold religions significance, owing to
the belief that these were used for penance and religious rituals by
Lord Kartikeya. Surrounded by many water kunds (ponds), these ancient
caves are also believed to have sheltered the Pandavas during their
exile. Owing to the belief that the holy Ganges also flows into these
kunds, devotees have a bath in these water bodies to cure all kinds of
diseases and evils. Most popular attraction of the caves is a temple of
‘Lord Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva.
Catholic Church: Visit the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Church, one of
the souvenirs of the prosperous yore of Mahabaleshwar. The church is almost
in rumbles but the stained glass windows are beautiful. A Hindu family
looks after the deserted church.
Mahabaleshwar Monuments :
Pratapgad Fort: Pratapgadh is truly a place to visit and remember the
heroic deeds of Shivaji Maharaj. As Pratapgadh is very close to
Mahabaleshwar, it is always crowded. The 45 minutes journey is
wonderful. Pratapgad Fort which is 24 kms, away is a place worth
visiting. It was built by Shivaji in 1656. The height of the fort is
almost 3500 feet. It was built to control the rebellious Satraps of the
surrounding Javali Basin. Legend has it that Shivaji was blessed with a
shining sword at the temple of Goddess Bhawani here. It was the site of
the famous battle between the Maratha chieftain Chhatrapati Shivaji and
Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate.
: The square hill fort of Kamalgad in mahabaleshwar covers a flat area of 3-4
acres. The fort is surrounded by steep rock and can only be reached by
perilously scaling this rock.
Although it’s believed that The Kamalgadh fort was build during the
Marathas as the other forts in the area were administered by a mokasadar
from Bijapur. Early documents written now are in defunct Modi script of
the Marathi language refers to the fort as ‘Kattalgad’. A detailed study
of these documents is underway. In April 1818, Kamalgad surrendered
after resistance to a British detachment commanded by a Major Thatcher.
Under the British, it was used to execute prisoners of war.
Held in the month of March/April (during the
Easter weekend), the Mapro Strawberry Festival at Mapro Garden, has
become a much awaited annual event. Started four years ago, when
strawberry production far exceeded market demand, Mapro conceptualised
this unique four-day festival dedicated to promoting strawberries,
encouraging overall fruit consumption and boosting tourism in
Mahableshwar and Panchgani. The Festival is supported by the All India
Strawberry Growers Association (AISGA), to promote strawberry
cultivation in the country.
The Festival has grown in size over the years with a turnout of
thousands of enthusiasts. Through the Festival, tourists get to
experience Mapro’s array of products and state-of-the-art technology.
The Festival showcases raw strawberries and innovative strawberry-based
products such as strawberry pizza, strawberry bhel, chocolate dipped
strawberries and strawberry sandwiches among others.
The four-day event also includes free strawberry farm visits, Mapro Food
Park visits, and other cultural and entertainment activities. Over 250
farmers from nearby villages participate in the festival, opening their
farms to tourists, and Mapro garden offers strawberries that you can eat
to your heart’s content, completely free!