Honeymoon in Panchgani, Maharashtra, India
A close neighbour of Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani is a picturesque and frequented hill resort. This is an ideal base for some good trekking. Situated at an altitude of 1334m, it gets its name from the five hills around it. Tucked away in Satara district, it is best approached from Pune. The way to Panchgani from Mahabaleshwar, which is 18 kms, is absolutely spectacular. The Krishna River that meanders through the farms, ravines and hamlets on one side and the coastal plains on the other side has a special charm. Panchgani displays architecture of Old British buildings and Parsi houses. Horses are the best mode of travelling, which will gently gallop you through the thick, lush green trees, to unmarked routes, to the caves and the Kamalgad fort. The bazaar is also a place worth visiting. For long distances though taxis are available, bicycles and horses are the best mode of transport.
Panchgani derives its name from the five hills around it. At an altitude of 1334 m, it is just 38 m below Mahabaleshwar. These 38 m translate themselves into a breathtaking 18 km approach, that swoops around and bends with abandon, offering splendid views of the river Krishna on one side, and the coastal plains, on the other. Panchgani is the quintessential hill station. It can be seen in the architecture of the old British buildings, the Parsi houses, and the boarding schools that have been around for a century or more.
Amble along the walkways, thickly canopied by lush trees and vegetation, and delight in the secrets you stumble upon. The river Krishna snakes through tiny hamlets, farms and ravines. Select a horse from one of the numerous stables and canter along unchartered routes through hidden lovers' routes, to the caves and the Kamalgad fort. Or while away your time at the bazaar. Taxis are available, but bicycles and horses are recommended for travelling long distances.
Pratapgarh is one of the forts built by shivaji to strengthen and to dominate the road system of the empire. Pratapgarh is closer to Mahabaleshwar and one can trek to this Shivaji's hill fort of Pratapgarh from Mahabaleshwar. The other option being to take a bus, which covers the 2.2 km., journey in an hour to reach the foot of this hill. To reach the fort one has to climb 500 steps.
Chattrapati Shivaji dedicated his life to the two mottos. The first mission of his life was to win back what he considered to be Maratha and for the Marathis against the usurping Mughal invaders from the north. The second motto of his life was to reinstate India's native Hinduism against what he believed to be the alien instruction of Islam; Shivaji built this fort with the former motive in mind.
It is best to climb these steps early in the morning or mid afternoon. During the climb one can see the distant sides. Corner bastions support a double bank of fortifications. The rounded main gate also called the 'Maha Darwaza' towers up with vertical slits. The windy rugged rocky heights of Pratapgarh are invigorating and one cannot but help fantasizing about the exploits of the great Maratha warriors under the able leadership of the Great Chattarpati Shivaji. As one climb up the 500 steps one comes across the Bhavani Temple (a local name given to Goddess Parvati) in the Power fort. "Chattrapati Shivaji" built this temple in a religious emergency, as he was unable to visit the Bhavani temple at Tuljapur. It was built in the last decade of the 17th Century. The windswept Bhavani temple possesses a pair of rugged lantern pillars.
The hill resort of Panchgani is just sixteen km from another popular hill resort of Maharashtra namely, Mahabaleshwar. Situated in the Western Ghats Panchgani is close to important cities like Mumbai and Pune.
The airport at Pune is nearest to Panchgani at a distance of 98km.
Nearest railhead is Wathar, 45 kms om Miraj-Kolhapur section of South Central Railway. However convenient railhead is Pune.
Mumbai-Panchgani via Pune, 270 kms. Mumbai Panchgani via Mahad, 266 kms.
State Transport buses ply from Satara, Pune, Wai, Mahabaleshwar, Mahad tp Panchgani.
In winter the temperatures are around a cool 16 C. Whereas in summer it can get quite hot reaching 35 C. The annual rainfall is 216 cms. September to May is the best time to visit.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Panchgani is a pleasant hill resort that does not experience major temperature variations. Though the monsoons are rather heavy. The temperature ranges between sixteen and thirty-five degrees throughout the year. The months from September to May are the best time to visit Panchgani. Panchgani Tourism is at its peak during the winter months.
Mahuli is 5 km east of Satava. It is near Mahuli that the Krishna River joins the Yenna River. One old temple is dedicated to Sangameshvara and the other temple to Vishveshvara, Lord of the Universe. There are also other temples dedicated to Rameshvara and Bholeshvara. All these temples have distinctive features such as towers with fluted domes with two-storey mandapams. In addition to these temples Mahuli hill fort has three summits of varying heights. In addition to the temples and fort there is a mosque also that one can visit.
This is the most windy point in Panchgani. It is near the Dhom dam.
Table Land is one of the Largest Table land in Asia, and many films have been shot here. This point is the most famous point of all the points in Panchgani.
Bhim Chula an exaggerated name for this place and Harrision valley both are breath taking points in Panchgani.