Travel to Panchgani

Panchgani Tourism

Panchgani is a small scenic hill town, close to and just below Mahabaleshwar, a more popular and bigger hill station in Maharashtra. The name is derived from Hindi which means 'five hills'. Panchgani falls on the Sahyadri mountain ranges and River Krishna flows close by. The hill has a flat table-top like area or volcanic plateau, the highest after the Tibetan plateau. This flat location gives an amazing view of the coastal plains below, and hence is popular with Mumbai film crews and now equally popular with tourists.

The route to Panchgani itself offers an incredible view of the coastal plains and the river Krishna. The dense forest with many western plant species such as silver oak and poinsettias add to the charm of the place. These plants from the 'western world' were planted by a British superintendent, John Chesson, and have since flourished in the region. Panchgani's proximity to Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra's biggest hill town, has made this quiet town a popular hill station with many tourists visiting Panchgani en route to Mahabaleshwar.

Panchgani was found during British rule and some settled there during the 18th century. The place still retains the old world charm with the British style colonial houses dotted around the hills. There are also many old Parsi homes. Tourists can visit and view the old colonial British and Parsi homes to get a feel for the times gone by.

As it was originally a retirement place for British, a number of schools and boarding houses were started here in the 19th century. There are still a number of schools in Panchgani and some are very reputed. The century old boarding houses, an example of British architecture, are themselves a tourist must see.

Kaas Plateau in Panchgani is a major biodiversity hotspot and thus as a World Natural Heritage sites of India by UNESCO. It is a place with magical landscape and lakes with endemic wildflowers and butterflies. About 1000 hectares of the area has now been designated a reserved forest. The many varieties, colours, shapes and sizes of blossoms make Kaas plateau a kaleidoscopic maze. of the valley stand in stark contrast to the azure of the sky with numerous delicate butterflies fluttering their way through this kaleidoscopic maze; attracting naturalists and scientists. Best season to witness the blooms is from August to October.

Kaas Lake is also a major attraction with its unique underwater flora which has made it popular to amateur and professional botanists.

Named after the five hills around it, Panchgani at an elevation of 1293 meters has a pleasant climate all year round. This salubrious climate has made Panchgani a favoured destination for health spas and the place is dotted with many resorts. In fact, at one time Panchgani was a famed tuberculosis sanatorium.

Apart from trekking and soaking the ambiance, adventure sports such as paragliding and horseback riding are popular options for the tourists. The scenic view in and around the station makes it an ideal paragliding destination. Even now horseback is a very accessible way to travel around Panchgani.

Places to see in and around Panchgani

  • Panchgani has many scenic spots with very descriptive names. Some are en route to Mahabaleshwar.

  • Sydney Point- This is about two kilometres from main Panchgani town and is popular for the great view of the Krishna valley from the hillock. The Dhom dam is also visible from here.

  • Table Land- The volcanic mountaintop, popularly called the table land of Panchgani is a huge carpet of grass. This flat stretch is a very popular location for Mumbai films.

  • Parsi Point- On way to Mahabaleshwar there are many tourist stops. This is one of them ideal for a rest and a view of the Krishna valley.

  • Sherbaug is a Resort cum Theme Park- Close to Parsi Point; this is a heritage property and belonged to the queen of Indore, Chimnabai Holkar. Majestic trees with overhanging branches and chirping birds, colourful butterflies make it a popular children's park. The place has India's largest man-made waterfall, a rose garden, cactus collection, and fossil museum too. It also offers craft activities for children.

  • Devil's Kitchen- It is a large cave near the table top flat land with a rich mythology associated with it. According to popular legends the Pandavas had stayed here for a while.

  • Wai- The village of Wai is 20 kilometres away. There are a number of caves here said to be built by the Pandavas. These are popularly known as Pandavgad caves.

  • Kamalgad Fort- The fort surrounded with steep rocks at its base is also referred as Kattalgad. It is 16 kilometres from Wai.

  • Dhom Dam- The earthfill and gravity dam on the Krishna River on the outskirts of village of Wai is a popular place for picnics. Surrounded by mountains and the lake with clear blue water; the place is ideal for camping and swimming, Places to see around Panchgani

  • Mahabaleshwar- The former British summer capital is at an altitude of 1370 meters in the Sahyadri hills only twenty kilometres from Panchgani. The source of the river Krishna is here. The route from Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar is very scenic and full of breathtaking twists and turns. Mahabaleshwar has many old British buildings and two famous temples- the Mahabaleshwara temple and Atibaleshwara temple.

  • Pune- The second largest city in Maharashtra is just 98 kilometres away. The railhead is very convenient as it has many connections to various cities and towns in the country. The Osho Ashram and the Gandhi national memorial are worth a visit in Pune.

  • Satara- Satara is 40 kilometres south of Mahabaleshwar. It is associated with Shivaji (the famous Maratha leader). The Raigad fort has Shivaji's Samadhi or memorial tomb.

Best Time to visit

As Panchgani falls on the Sahyadri hills on the Western Ghats, it has a cool climate. September to May is the best time to visit Panchgani although it is a pleasant place to visit throughout the year. In winter the temperature is around 16 Degree Celsius and in summers it can touch 35 Degree Celsius and can be quite hot. Panchgani gets heavy rain during monsoon months of July and August and it is best to avoid travel in these months.

Shopping in Panchgani

You can buy jams, chutneys, fruit juices and candies at the bazaar in Panchgani. Most of it is local produce from farms, with a very British feel to it; especially the Strawberry and Raspberry jam which is very famous. The Maharashtrian Kolhapuri chappals or footwear is also available. Mahabaleshwar has a bigger market called the Malcolm Peth bazaar, and a better variety of footwear.

Nearest Airport

Pune, 98 kilometres away has the nearest airport.

Nearest Railway Station

The nearest railhead is at Wathar, 45 kilometres away on the South central railway line. However, Pune, which is 98 kilometres, is a more convenient rail head as it has more connections.

Last Updated on : January 5, 2018