Panchgani is a quintessential hill station located 100 km from Pune in Satara district of Maharashtra. Glass-fronted bungalows, stone churches, mist clinging on to trees, the clutter of horses hoofs and the laidback lifestyle of its residents – all hark back to an age when Panchgani was one of the prominent hill stations of British Raj and offered sanctuary for its officials from the sweltering summer of the plains.
Panchagni derives its name from the five hills surrounding it. At an altitude of 1334 m it is just 38 m below Mahabaleshwar. The hills are topped by a volcanic plateau, which is the second highest in Asia after the Tibetan plateau. The area has high seismic activity.
Panchgani's famous 'table land' has been the location for many movies. Taare Zameen Par and Raja Hindustani were shot in Panchgani. The fresh air and invigorating climate of Panchgani made it a good place for convalescence, especially for those suffering from tuberculosis.
- There are no ATM’s in this town.
- You may not find any store in the market accepting credit cards.
Panchgani derives its names from the five or 'panch' hills around it. Dhandeghar, Godavli, Amral, Khingar and Taighat.
British discovered and developed Panchgani as a summer resort. A superintendent named John Chesson was in-charge of the hill station and is credited with planting many plant species from the West. The British were more in favour of developing the neighbouring Mahabaleshwar as summer resort but it was uninhabitable during the monsoons. Chesson was deputed to find a suitable place. He surveyed the hills in the region surrounding Mahabaleshwar and finally decided on the place which later became Panchgani. Panchgani has grown in popularity as a convalescence center. The first tuberculosis sanatorium was set up in Panchgani in the 1940s.
Panchagani sits close to culturally and historically significant areas of Maharashtra. Its scenic locales have been the venue for shooting of several movies. Taare Zameen Par and Raja Hindustani were shot in Panchgani. Wai, located at the base, is also famous for film shootings. Films like Gangajal, Omkara, Dabbang, Swadesh, Ishqiya, Singham and many others were shot in Wai.
Wai is also important pilgrimage centre and several temples are located close by. Festivals are a part and parcel of the temple rituals. Shri Krishna Janmashtami or Gokul Ashtami at the 105-year-old Govardhan Sanstha in Wai is very famous. Krishnabai Utsav to honour Krishna river is a major festival. The jatras or annual festivals of Mandhar Devi temple and Bagad of Bavdhan temple are also very famous and attract large crowds.
If you are a shopaholic and don’t mind haggling, don’t forget to check out the Wednesday market or Budh-Ka-Bazaar for some amazing souvenirs. Check out Mapro for some tasty jams and marmalades; Roach and Sons- Panchgani's oldest bakery and Kerala Bakery at Wai – for some yummy cakes and pastries. Don’t forget to try out strawberries which are locally grown.
Where to stay
Panchgani being an important travel destination, has several options to stay. Be it premium hotels, resorts or budget hotels, Panchgani offers accommodation to suit every budget.
Where to eat
Panchgani offers very few options when it comes to eating out. Don’t expect fancy restaurants to eat. However, one can find eateries offering Punjabi and South Indian food are available. Vegetarian and non vegetarian restaurants are available.
Best time to visit
Panchgani is a pleasant hill resort that does not experience major temperature variations. However, monsoons are rather heavy and best avoided. The temperature ranges between 16 and 35 degree Celsius throughout the year. The months from September to May are the best time to visit Panchgani.