Panchgani is an illustrious hill station situated very close to another hill station Mahabaleshwar in the state of Maharashtra. The hill station which is evergreen with plush trees has very pleasant climate throughout the year, though it is difficult to access it during heavy monsoon rains. Pachgani was discovered and established by John Cesson, as a refuge for the British from the seething heat of summer heat of India. The summer resort which roughly translates as five hills derives its name from the five hills which surround it, which is host to villages in its vicinity, namely Godavli, Khingar, Taighat, Dhandegar and Amral.
Cesson fell so much in love with the place that he developed the place to meet all the needs of the British retirees by planting trees from western world, building roads and establishing a community of service men like tailors, dhobis, vendors, builders etc so that the place would be independent of outside world. He died in Panchgani is buried in St. Peters Church. The British have left their inedible mark on the summer resort through the numerous cottages built in typical colonial style which are strewn across the hills. There are many buildings which are created in the style of British architecture of 19th century.
What is so special about Panchgani
Panchgani is a hill station which is thronged by tourists throughout the year though not many visits the place during the monsoon season due to heavy rains lashing the hill station. The main attraction of the place is its serene environment which is surrounded by the beautiful nature. The choice of trees from foreign land, like the Silver Oak and Poisnsettia, planted by John Cessan add their own unique and mystic aura to the place. The unpolluted and fresh air of Panchgani is known for its high content of oxygen in the atmosphere which is known to help people recover from their illnesses. This is the reason why Dr. Rustomji Bomanji Bilimoria decided to set up a sanatorium for people suffering from then incurable disease of tuberculosis, so that they could recover their health in its pleasant, cool, calm and refreshing environment.
Those people who wish to spend some time in total seclusion in the lap of Mother Nature, then Panchgani is the right place for them. The exquisite ambience of the place makes sure that the tourists will spend a memorable time in the hill station which is going to be cherished by them for a lifetime. For those seeking a luxurious holiday, Panchgani has arrangements even for that in their exclusive cottages and hotels. Relaxation comes naturally in this place as the cool soothing air brushes past bringing the mysterious scent of the wild trees, without any pollution. Though it is thronged by tourists, the place has maintained its noiseless serenity.
Tourist Attractions in Panchgani
The places of tourist attraction in Panchgani are
- The Table land – the second largest mountain plateau of Asia
- Sydney point – atop a hill giving breathtaking view of river Krishna
- Karthikeya Temple in Rajpuri caves
- Wai of seven ghats
- Parsi Point which gives enthralling view of Dhom dam
- Mapro Garden where one can purchase fresh products from the factory
- Devils Kitchen -the huge caves with mythological background
Establishment of Famous Schools
The place is also known for the high quality education it provides for students from all over the country and also from abroad. The retired Britishers who settled in Panchgani attracted others by spreading the word about the pleasantness of the place. The Kimmins School was established in 1890’s exclusively for European boys and girls. This led way to establishment of few more schools, which became renowned all over the country in a short span of time. The boarding schools of Panchgani were inspired by the English way of education and were affiliated to the famed Cambridge University. Even the question papers were prepared in England and then sent over to India by sea route. Though the exams were conducted in India, the correction was made in England.
Following the suit, Indians started their own education centers including those catering the needs of Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Parsi students. The Saint Peter’s boarding school, which was the segregated branch of the original Kimmins School was put on the international map when one of its students whose musical talent was spotted by the music teacher of the school went on to become the famous singer of band Queen – Freddie Mercury. He was known as Farrokh Bulsara back then.
How to get there
Once you are in the hill station you can easily get around by hiring taxis. There are also bicycles and horseback rides available. The best time to visit Panchgani would be between the months of September and May. Those who are travelling by airways will have to arrive in Pune which is situated at a distance of 98 km and then travel either by either road or train to Panchgani. The nearest railway station is Wathar which is at a distance of 45 km, therefore those who travel from Pune can always opt for road transport. The Maharashtra state transport runs has the buses connected to Panchgani from Mumbai, Pune, Wai, Mahabaleshwar, Mahad and many more.
It is not difficult to find a place to stay suiting your requirements and budget as there are many different resorts, cottages, inns and hotels available at Panchgani for accommodation. The restaurants here have variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, along with chats and other snacks which are available in the roadside shops.