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Bus Ride to Mahabaleshwar a Hillstation on the western ghats of Maharashtra

Monday, November 10, 2014

If you have been reading my previous blogs, you would have known by now that I decide on treks at the last moment. So there is hardly any time left for planning. 
Reservation Tickets to Mahabaleshwar
Just two days in advance we decided to go visit Mahableshwar a hillstation on the western ghats of Maharashtra. As it was just the two of us, we decided to head off without asking people on social networking websites. Car would not be economical and hence we decided to travel by public transport.

We had decided to visit Pratapgad and the various points of Mahabaleshwar on Day One and Panchgani on Day Two. As per my google search results. 
This ain't the sunrise but the moon
As we were planning to travel by public transport, TIME would be a major concern for us. But we decided to go with the flow.

I checked out the timings of the State Transport buses by MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport) in the night to Mahabaleshwar, they were as follows 8:30 PM, 9:30 PM and 10:30 PM departing from Mumbai Central depot. There was also a bus to Mahableshwar departing from Borivali Bus Depot at 10:30 PM. 
Mahabaleshwar Bus Depot
But for Manohar to come all the way from Chembur would be a hassle. So we settled for Dadar as the pickup point as the bus from Mumbai Central would halt there to pickup passengers. 
Bus to Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai
As it was a six hour journey we were advised to do a reservation of our tickets. Else we would have to travel standing in case the bus was packed. in case unreserved then seats are on first come first serve basis in the bus. Being the last bus we didn't want to take any chances. Manohar got the booking done for the two of us at Chembur ST bus depot. 
We met as decided at Dadar near the bridge as all buses that ply out of the city stop here for passengers. At 10:45 AM the bus arrived. This was not the typical Lal Dabba (Red bus). We sat on our seats and the bus took off.. After collecting the balance of the passengers at Vashi and Panvel the bus final headed to Mahabaleshwar. It was dark outside so we were not sure as to what route it would take. 
Bus Time table, but the bus frequency is as per season as confirmed by Inquiry Desk
The seats of the bus are not very comfortable but if you want to save on time and money then this is your best bet.

The ST bus drivers race on bumpy pothole tar roads as if they are racing on a Formula One circuit. The roller coaster ride is fun in the start but gets painful later as you are continuously swaying in the bus.All that I could hear was the sound of the engine and all that I could feel was the chilling wind that still managed to get to us even though the windows were shut. In spite of all this I still manged to get some sleep in the bus. Manohar was wide awake all the time.
White board showcasing information on the tour packages offered by the State Transport in Mahabaleshwar 
Most of the passengers were covered in woollen and wrapped in shawls. 

The bus does a couple of stops on the way. I woke up when we reached the Mahad depot at 3 AM. I looked out and I noticed the moon light that had lit up the land around. Finally the bus raced on the curvy roads of the ghats, for a change there was no over taking. It was a wonderful sight to see. The hills and valleys were lit up and the sight was extremely beautiful, Sadly the light was not enough to capture on my camera nor on my phone.
Tickets for Pratapgad Darshan and Mahabaleshwar Darhan
After we crossed the ghats, Mahabaleshwar had finally arrived. By the time we reached the depot, the time was 5:15 AM on my watch. 

It was so cold, I was literally shivering in my jumper. Rubbing my palms against each other was not helping me keep myself warm. There was no bonfire either so I had to do light exercises to generate some sweat, which helped me keep warm. 
Manohar and Me
There are private buses plying to Mahabaleshwar also. But a mere six hour journey would take us nine hours to reach, had we taken that option. As these buses spent around three hours in Mumbai collecting prospective passengers. Such a waste of time. 

The next way of travelling here is off course by personal vehicle.

A couple of sign boards at the bus depot helped us plan our day. Else we would have to rely on taxis here. Taxis are a expensive affair too. 
Wada Pav for breakfast at ST canteen in the Depot premises
There was a ST bus plying to Pratapgad at 9:30 AM only to return back at 1:30 PM. The same bus then doubles up as the Mahabaleshwar Darshan bus at 2:30 PM showing tourists around the various points in Mahabaleshwar. 

Remember the bookings for both the buses start at 8:00 AM sharp. So do book your tickets. As not standees are allowed in the bus

Now how do we kill time. As we had nothing to do for the next four hours. We decided to head out out of the depot and all that we saw were closed shops and hotel agents asking us if we want a place to stay or freshen up. 
Misal for breakfast at ST canteen in the Depot premises
We headed back to the Mahabaleshwar ST Depot. There is a ST Canteen in the Depot premises, which serves Wada Pav and Misal. Both of the dishes were wonderful. The canteen serves south indian snacks and scrambled eggs too. The timings being 7 AM on wards.

The Mahabaleshwar ST bus depot also houses bathrooms and restrooms (indian style). Manohar tried them, clean and decent. Just a headsup incase the need be.

Awaiting the bus to Pratapgad.


resorts in Mahabaleshwar said...

Great post and wada pav looking yummy.

Unknown said...

Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging.
hill stations tours packages

U Cab said...

Impressive photography, getting feel like roaming in the Mahabaleshwar. Enjoyed it. :)

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