A small hill station on the way to Mahabaleshwar, though I have been to both I felt Panchgani deserves a special mention. Nestled among the five villages of Dandeghar,Khingar,Godwali,Amral and Taighat, Panchgani or Paachgani as it is locally called -gets its name from the five mountains of Sahyadris it is located in between.Panchgani is a land of peace as the British too felt and made it their summer resort.
Though commercialised now, it still retains its old world charm. When you see an old dressed in traditional Maharashtrian white dhoti n cap amongst all the tourist it does takes u back in time to our core.
Panchgani is one of the cleanest places I have come across.may be it is the calmness and chill which gives it an illusion like that I do not know. But I always admired it for its clean pavments on my many trips here.
An educational hub with more than 40 residential schools, Panchgani is surrounded with a lot of hills and plateaus, one amongst which is the famous table land. Though I was not really keen to visit it because of its too filmy touristy effect I nevertheless thought to give it a go. As mentioned,This is quiet famous among the Indian crowd for it being an idol location,for shooting many indian movies..what I found fascinating about table land in not the vast expanding table like structure but the caves below,which are owned by a family owing to their ancestors having discovered them. It’s amazing how they are maintained and even have a restaurant running.
I still get flashback of my early morning walks to Sydney point. The cold with one around except for a few horses making their rounds still feels like a fresh experience. Riding my way through the villages gave me a deeper outlook into the local life of the land.
Though this is a hill station and more of a touristy place I was amazed to see, know and hear about the animal rescue run by Janice Smith foundation which I really appreciate. Hearing the story from a local, really touched me to hear about this simple lady Janice Smith who rescued these homeless animals.
My visit to the Mapro garden was crazy as there is a wide and I really mean a huge variety of products including chocolates, syrups, squashes and much more and I couldn’t make up my mind as to what should I pick up and what should I not for my people back home. Having heard about the old bakery from a friend I tried it out and I must say they were had some pretty delicious stuff. They also have a very old yet very efficient post office running. And not to forget about the delicious strawberries which are grown here.