Panchgani – The Scenic Seat of Learning

Panchgani is a magnificent hill station located in the Sahyadri mountain range of the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra in India. The hill station is topped by a splendid volcanic plateau or tableland which has the distinction of being the second highest plateau in Asia after the Tibetan plateau. Part of the Hindi film “Taare Zameen Par’ was shot on this volcanic plateau. The beautiful River Krishna can be seen from the plateau meandering its way through Panchgani.

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Panchgani is a seat of learning with many reputed schools. Trekking enthusiasts can trek through Panchgani’s verdant forests and valleys. Walking, cycling, pony rides and picnics are some of the other popular activities. Taxis, horses and bicycles are available for commuting.

Shopping: You can buy leather goods like shoes, slippers and bags and wood handicrafts in Panchgani. You may also like to try out interesting food items like Chikki or caramelised nuts, Channa or roasted gram, honey, jams, crushes and preserves.

Attractions

Major attractions here, among others, are:

1. Bhilar Falls

The beautiful Bhilar Falls cascading down from a height of 4,500 ft is on the route from Mahabaleshwar to Panchgani.

2. Devil’s Kitchen

Devil’s Kitchen is a cave located at the southern end of the table land. The Pandavas of the Mahabharat epic are believed to have stayed here for a while.

3. Fort Kamalgad

Fort Kamalgad (translated to lotus fort) also known as Kattalgad is situated about 10 km west of Wai and is 4,511 ft high. The fort is surrounded by lush thick forests. One can hire horses to go to the Fort.

4. Fort Pratapgad

The magnificent Fort Pratapgad is situated at an altitude of 3,543 ft at a distance of 22 km from Mahabaleshwar. Fort Pratapgad is divided into an upper fort and a lower fort with 4 enormous bastions in the 4 corners of the fort. The Bhavani Temple and an equestrian bronze statue of the great Maratha King, Chatrapati Shivaji are found inside the fort. The dargah of Afzal Khan, the famous general, is near the fort. At the foothills of the fort are the rivers Koyna and Nira.

5. Harrisons Folly

Harrisons Folly is a viewpoint from where one can have mesmerizing views of Panchgani and Wai. Paragliding is available for adventure sports lovers.

6. Mahabaleshwar Hill Station

The picturesque hill station of Mahabaleshwar is located at a distance of 18 km from Panchgani. Its attractions include Mount Malcolm, Holy Cross Church, Mahabaleshwar Club, Fort Pratapgad, Chinaman’s Falls, Dhobi Falls and Lingmala Falls. Famous view points with spectacular views include Wilson Point, Carnac Point, Helen’s Point, Elphinstone Point, Babington Point, Bombay Point, Falkland Point, Kate Point and Lodwick Point.

7. Parsi Point

Located on the route to Mahabaleshwar, Parsi Point offers splendid views of the Krishna Valley and the waters of the Dhom Dam.

8. Rajpuri Caves

Rajpuri Caves are at a distance of 7 km from Panchgani and famous for the Swami Karthikeya Temple. There are several ponds around these caves whose waters are believed to have medicinal properties.

9. Sherbaug Park

Sherbaug Park is a theme park located near Parsi Point in Panchgani. Its attractions include cactus plants, a rose garden and a children’s park. It holds a collection of eggs, nails and teeth of dinosaurs. One can also find rabbits, swans, ducks and turkeys here. The park has fun activities like clay molding and pot making for children.

10. Sydney Point

Sydney Point is a scenic view point located on a hillock overlooking the Krishna Valley, on the way to Wai. Magnificent views of the waters of the Dhom Dam, the Pandavgad Caves and the Mandhardeo can be had from here.

11. Table Land

This flat tableland, composed of laterite rock is the second longest mountain plateau in Asia with a length of 4.5 km. The “Devil’s Kitchen” caves can be seen from here.

12. Tapola

The pretty place of Tapola is at a distance of 25 km from Mahabaleshwar. The Shivsagar Dam is found here. The Rivers Koyna and Solshi meet at Tapola. Very popular as a picnic spot, Tapola is a must visit place for tourists. Boating is another attraction at Tapola at the Shivsagar Dam. Motor boats and water scooters are available for hire.

13. Wai

The temple town of Wai is situated about 14 km from Panchgani. Chakreshwar Temple, Chimneshwar Temple,Kaunteshwar/Harihareshwar Temple, Kaleshwar  Temple, Vitthal Temple, Ganpati Temple, Rameshwar Temple, Ramkund Temple and Chilavali Devi Temple are some of the important temples in this ancient town.

Quick Facts

Location: Panchgani is located in the Sahyadri mountain range of the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra in India.

Altitude: Panchgani is located at an altitude of 4,378 ft or 1,334 m.

Climate: Panchgani boasts of a pleasant climate with winter temperature around 12°C and summer temperatures at a peak of 34°C. Average annual rainfall ranges from 55 in. to 60 in. The monsoon season is from June to September. Light woolen clothing is recommended in summer, moderate woolen clothing in spring/autumn and heavy woolen clothing in winter.

Best Time to Travel: September to May is the best time to visit Panchgani.

Accommodation: Luxury hotels, budget hotels, guest houses and resorts are available. A few owners of Parsi estates also let out their estates to vacationers.

Getting There

By Flight: The nearest airport to Panchgani is Pune at a distance of 98 km. The nearest major international airport is in Mumbai at a distance of 285 km. Mumbai and Pune are well connected to other Indian cities by air, rail and road.

By Train: The nearest railway station is Wathar at a distance of 45 km from Panchgani but the railway station at Pune at a distance of 98 km is very convenient for most tourists.

By Road: Panchgani is well connected by road with Pune and Mumbai. There are regular bus services to this place from Pune, Satara and Mumbai. It is at a distance of 18 km from Mahabaleshwar, 285 km from Mumbai and 98 km from Pune.

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