Panchgani - Nature's Carnival

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I am not surprised, to find myself humming 'Summer Wine' in Panchgani, that all- time Nancy Sinatra's favourite of anyone born before pop descended on the human race.

The connection of course, is Strawberries and in Panchgani the strawberry imagery is both at the subliminal and the material(eye) level. The summer capital of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency engages the senses not just on the strength of its natural beauty but also because of the charming tales spun around its most favoured points.

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  • Land of beautiful Sunset and Sunrise

Nature is extraordinarily munificent here - rugged hills, steep falls, thick forests and rivers that flow every which way they please.

Charming old cottages from colonial times dot Panchgani, a tiny town with a feel for the good old days. The soothing breeze rustling through ancient silver oaks is just one of the several ingredients that make Panchgani laid-back and relaxing.

There isn't a lot to see in Panchgani, but there is a lot to do. It involves walking, ambling by chappal shops or just sitting and watching the world go by, indulging in local specialities such as the big trade mark channad or chomping on mirch-masala-ed bhuttas (corn).

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  • Breath-taking view at Devrai Art Village

Drive to Parsi Point for what is perhaps the best view around - Krishna Valley down below. Panchgani literally means 'plateau with five hills' and one of the nicest drives is to Tableland, quiet fittingly Panchgani's crowning glory. A vast, flat plateau, Tableland offers the most spectacular view of Panchgani's pretty , colourful rooftops against the hilly backdrop.

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  • View at Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road.

During peak season there is plenty of fun for the children up here in the form of Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, a toy train, pony and horse rides and many games stalls.

Sherbaug is botanical delight with a huge cactus collection, just beyond the check post. Between October to April, they promote activities for all as clay pot making.

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  • Table top has one of the best view of Western Maharashtra

Also check out Devrai Art Village and The Book Village. Wednesday market or Budh ka Bazar for everything from organically grown fruits and vegetables to pots and pans; Rajpuri caves, 6kms from the town.

Things to do around -:

With almost 20 designated sight seeing spots, there's something to do every minute of your trip to Panchgani. Taking along a guide is a good idea.

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  • View from the heights of Dhom-Dam

Start from Hunter Point, for it's clear of Pratapgah Fort, then move on to Mahabaleshwar's highest , Wilson point , which offers a spectacular view of the sunrise. Also on view are the twin peaks of Makrandgad Fort. Visitors come to Sunset, or Mumbai , point to ride about on horses, but this place is worth a visit even if it's not time for the daily performance: the sun plays to the gallery every evening.

Also check out Kate's point, Lodwick point, Elephant's Head Point, Arthur's Seat.

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Venna Lake

On the Panchgani- Mahabaleshwar road, Lake Venna is the ideal place for an evening outing after you are done with all points, high and low.

Also check out Mahabaleshwar Temple, Panchgana Mandir, Morajee Castle where Mahatama Gandhi stayed when he visited Mahabaleshwar in 1945, and the colonial style bungalows.

Having a Crush

If it's Panchgani, it must be strawberries- jams, crushes, jellies , you name it and they've got it. Archies's strawberry farm, near Kate's point, is a great place to gulp a few milk shakes. In full bloom the place is a riot of red.

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A visit to MAPRO must figure in your itinerary. A customer friendly counter allows you to sample products before buying.

Try strawberry smoothie and cinnamon tree for sure.

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  • Strawberry punch at MAPRO Garden

Several kinds of cuisine can be had - from Chinese, to India , Continental, even Mexican! Try Imperial Stores for the Pizzas and burgers, but be warned that their ice-cream portions are miserly. Aman Restaurant is good for Kebabs and Tandoori items.

Ice-cream fanatics, enjoy - Panchgani Mahabaleshwar is your kind of place. And no, Strawberry is not the only flavour available !

The Batata vada stalls do brisk business at Mahabaleshwar Temple

( Mahabaleshwar is 19 kms away from Panchgani)

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There are no gourmet restaurants in Panchgani, period. But the fun is to indulge in street cuisine, drink lots of sugarcane juice and get strawberry ice-cream all over your face.

You get the best patties and scones at the old-fashioned Roach Bakery ; and keema pao and tea at Lucky Restaurant . Panchgani also has the best rose ice-cream to be found anywhere.

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  • Delightful and homemade breakfast at Lucky's

There are two places that serve excellent pao-bhaji, one being Akbarally and the other , Hirkani, a tin-roofed joint right on the roadside. Go for the unlimited thali.

Getting to Panchgani

Pune to Panchgani :

Pune to Panchgani distance is 101 kms . Panchgani does not have a train station, and the nearest station is Pune, at a distance of 69 kms from Panchgani.

Two hours away from Pune. Its a great small journey from Pune to Panchgani.

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Lots of beautiful scenic views, mountains, dams, gardens etc. So much fun during round and round roads. Over all its great to go there. There are beautiful scenic views to stop and review the nature is the great experience. Two hours of journey is very small to review the nature of this beautiful kind.

Mumbai to Panchgani  :

4 h 40 min (244.3 km) via Bengaluru - Mumbai Hwy/Mumbai Hwy/Mumbai - Pune Hwy and NH4.

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This route is equally scenic with a lot of places where you can Stop and Eat tasty Maharashtrian street foods.

Panchgani will remind you of good-old days and we have made it even more special for you.

We await your arrival at one of the World's Biggest Hostels made out of Shipping Containers.

To Book Visit,  www.zostel.com/zostel/panchgani/

Crafted By, Anushka Arora


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