March 4, 2012

If Mahabaleshwar is known as 'The Grand Canyon of India', then No doubt Panchgani is 'The Switzerland of India'. Panchgani refers to 'Five hills of Sahyadri' which are 'Larger extension of table land'. Another explanation to it - five villages around the Pachgani named as, Dandeghar, Khingar, Godwali, Amral and Taighat. The magnificent views of the backwaters of Dhom Dam can be adored along the whole nothern ridge of the mountains. Other than that picturesque scenary of Krishna valley with cultivated green fields, numerous hamlets over the mountain make this more special. Panchgani is also well known for its number of schools, and sanitariums. 

Panchgani can be visited throughout the year, however it rains heavily during the monsoons. The best time to visit is from September to March. Our curvaceous route for the day from Pune was: Magarpatta - Katraj (Snake Park, Pune) - Pune Banglore Highway (NH4) - Wai - Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar - Tapola [Reverse in return while boating at Venna lake] 
This time, In our group we had Tarachand, Komal, Sonal, Rajesh, Mausmi, Gyan, Meenal and not to mention me. We enjoyed the sunrise in the early morning with breakfast. Everyone had got some or the other yummy stuff with them.

Tourist Points at Panchgani:

Harrison Folly: We had our first break of the day at this point. It was a very large table land, where your shadow will follow you in different directions. We enjoyed good view point with Panchgani on one side and Wai on the other. This point wouldn't disappoint you. Sometimes Paragliding activity also organised from here by private enthusiasts.

Sydney Point: One funny incident happen as we took wrong turn, and reached a 'Flies point - Makkhi point' 'The garbage point', :P where none of us was able to breathe. All of a sudden many flies were inside the Tavera as someone kept the window open for a few seconds. At this point, entry fee is charged for entering Panchgani [Per person and for the vehicle] Once at the top of the Sydney point, one can see blue shiny water of the Dhom dam. It is situated on a hilltop facing the Krishna valley. We had some quick clicks at this point. 

Parsi Point: We passed through the scenic point situated on the way to Mahabaleshwar, and overviewed the Krishna valley and glittering water of the Dhom Dam. This point is good to visit during monsoon, but still, good to relax and have snacks. 

Table Top Point: Panchgani is topped by a volcanic plateau, 'The Table Land' which is the second highest in Asia after the Tibetan plateau. This is the most famous and most visited point in Panchgani. We spent 2-3 hours admiring the beauty of this place. For entertainment one can go for horse riding, Merry-go-round, mini train etc and for food lovers there are quite a few food/chaat stalls. With a couple of games counters, the place took us back to our childhood days of being at Fun-Fairs.

Pandav Feet at Panchgani Table Land.
We opted for horse-cart as sun was at top of us. It charged 300 for 4 sitters that included below points:
  • Pandav Feet: As per belief, Five heros of the great epic 'The Mahabharat', had cooked here, and left their feet marks. 
  • One Tree Point: Famous shooting point for Indian Movie Songs - precisely the love songs.
  • Shutting Point: This is the point where you have most panoramic views. 
  • Ganesh Visargen Point: There is small water place at the table top point. This point in major utilised for horse bath. 
  • Pandav Cave (Drop Point): Also known as 'Devil's Kitchen', has a mythology associated with it. It is believed that the Pandavas of the Mahabharat epic had stayed here for a while. 
Pandav Cave at Panchgani Table Point
The place had been an important part of many Indian movies - 'Gadar', 'Swadesh', 'Taare Zameen Par', Agent Vinod' to name a few. We also paid a long distant visit to Palankhet, Sydney point, Gliding Point, Five Table land during our horse-cart ride. (If you have ample time, just roam on your own, rather than opting for horse-cart or horse-riding)

Tapola, The mini Kashmir: 
The road trip to Tapola was amazing with couple of yards covered by umbrellas of Banyan Trees. The blue water bodies on both sides - Koyna and Solshi rivers made it even more pleasant. The hot Sun didn't let us spend too much of time here and we moved ahead to the next stop...We'll definitely come back sometime again in monsoon.

On our return trip, We covered Lodwick and Elephant head point at Mahabaleshwar. One hour walk in dense forest was awesome. (For info on Mahabaleshwar during monsoon, please visit "Trip to Mahabaleshwar)

An eve at Venna Lake: This was the most entertaining part of the day. All of us were ready to row the boat on our own. We decided not to rent a driver and started rowing ourselves. The naive drivers (i.e. we) were floating it to the un-intensional directions. :P  While two were enjoying the driving lessons, others were busy in admiring the beautiful sunset. We struggled for parking the boat back on the shore and took a sigh of relief when were off the boat. We yelled "Bach gayee!!!" 
Sunset at Venna Lake

Mapro Garden: The Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar belt is known for its Strawberry Gardens. Situated on the curvaceous roads between Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, it is easily accessible by buses originating both from Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. A heaven for tourists hungry for strawberry delicacies as well as factory fresh items like jams, syrups, mock-tails, squashes and confectionery items by Mapro Foods Pvt Ltd. At the tasting counter, you can actually taste the squash of your choice before purchasing it for free. We picked up 'Kesar' flavoured squash, some chocolates and Kachchi kerry. 

Oops, how did I forget to mention about the astrologers roaming around. I was always caught up by them as target and got a new name "CHAPTER".  


Rajesh K said...

Nice info, It helped me. Just visited Panchgani last weekend only with my frds.

Saurabh G said...

good photos very nice photography

Pressure Cooking Accessories said...

This iss great

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