Panchgani is a town in Maharashtra situated midst five hills. It is an eternally beautiful hill station, a favourite escape clause for the Mumbai-weary. Panchgani is perennially fresh and inviting; its bracing climate complements the verdant surroundings. Flanked by tableland and craggy cliffs, Panchgani is 1334 m; just 38 m lower than Mahabaleshwar. The drive up to the town winds past red roofed hamlets and a patchwork quilt of neatly laid out fields and orchards. As the road meanders uphill, the vegetation becomes greener and denser, the tree canopy widens and bird sounds are magnified.
And then finally, you arrive at a neat, colonial-style town, with a birds' eye view of emerald green coastal plains on one side and the River Krishna on the other. The fresh breeze is just one of the several ingredients that makes Panchgani laid-back and relaxing. A genteel hill resort, Panchgani doesn’t really pander to commercial tastes, as does Mahabaleshwar. In Panchgani, holiday pastimes include walking, riding or simply unwinding at home in the cool of the veranda or drinking tea on the lawns.
How to Reach Panchgani?
By Air : The closest airport is at Pune, 98 kms from Panchgani. Pune is well connected to Mumbai, Goa and Bangalore through many well known airlines. After getting off at the Pune airport you can hire a taxi to Panchgani which will cost you about Rs 2000. Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport is also closely located to Panchgani.
By Rail : The nearest railhead is at Wathar, located at distance of 45 km. The Pune railhead is well connected with major cities and is about about 100 km away from Panchgani.
By Road : Panchgani is well connected by road to Mumbai, Pune and all other cities in Mahrashtra. Regular buses ply from Pune, Satara, Mahabaleshwar and and Mahad to Panchgani through State Road Transport System.
Best Time to Visit Panchgani
The picturesque hill station of Panchgani is a perfect place to spend time with your family or friends and is appealing at any time of the year. However, the best time to visit this place is from September through May when the monsoons have subsided.
The peak tourist season in Panchgani is the winter season fromDecember to February, when schools are shut for the vacations and families frequent this place for longer stays and even use it as a weekend getaway from major metros of Mumbai and Pune.
Rain may not be a spoilsport for all and those who like a few showers can also visit Panchgani even during rainy months of June to September, turning it into a year round destination. Evenings are reserved for the downpour which is usually accompanied by hailstones, but the smell of wet earth and the beauty of lush greenery almost makes up for the spell of rain.
Things to do in Panchgani
Panchgani – a popular weekend getaway for the residents of Mumbai in Maharashtra -- offers an array of choices for things to do to those who are looking for some relaxing time amidst this genteel hill station town.
Untouched by commercialism Panchgani is a colonial style town where walking around the town, picking strawberries, or having tea in the manicured lawns is the way of life. Sightseeing opportunities in the town includes visiting to its English style boarding schools and old Parsi houses. You can hike across to the Rajpuri Caves or you can visit the Pratapgad Fort – famous for the historic encounter between Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bijapur General Afzal Khan.
Other than sightseeing options if you like to sweat it out then you can choose from activities like trekking, or cycling. Panchgani offers some stunning trekking trails that let you appreciate the natural beauty of this picturesque town. Shoppers can pick up stuff like handicrafts, and Kohlapuri Chappals.
With breathtaking valleys, winding rivers, scenic mountains, and scattered hamlets, Panchgani – provides a laidback and languorous retreat from the chaos of the big city life.
Places Near Panchgani
There are many places to see near Panchgani. Make a trip to Mahabaleshwar that is a mere 16 kms away and is the highest hill station in Western India. It was the summer capital of the British at one time and, therefore filled with colonial architecture. Mahabaleshwar has surreal surroundings and amazing views of the countryside.
A trip to Panchgani is complete only after a visit to the famous Pratapgad Fort, that is 24 kms from Mahabaleshwar. The fort, built in 1656 by Shivaji, witnessed the momentous confrontation between the Maratha rebel and Afzal Khan. Nearby are the Temple of Goddess Bhavani and the Dargah of Afzal Khan.
Hotels in Panchgani – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Panchgani ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.