At 1,372 meters above sea level, Mahabaleshwar is one of the most spectacular and the largest of Maharashtra's hill-stations. Mahabaleshwar is Sanskrit fro God of Great Power. The first Briton to set foot here was Sir Charles Malet in 1791. Under General Peter Lodwick and Sir John Malcolm, the governor of Bombay, a sanitarium was built in 1828. Mahabaleshwar was then considered a British territory and was named 'Malcolm Peth' for some years. The bazaar is still named so. John Malcolm was completely taken in by the hill-station.
Under British rule, roads were built, following which resorts quickly sprang up. Bungalows, churches and the Mahabaleshwar Club was built. A Polo ground and race course were opened. In the 19th century, as soon as the sanitarium was founded, an open jail reformatory center was established. Convicts from China and Malaysia were stationed here. They were involved in constructing roads, grinding cornflour, maintaining potato cultivation's and other vegetable gardens in the English resorts. Now, the Public Works Department bungalow stands on the site of the prison.