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Things To Do In Panchgani
Hill towns are always the in thing for adventure lovers who need things to do, be it an exploratory rambling walk on the rough stony hill paths or paragliding up and over the hills. Panchgani and its twin hill town of Mahabaleshwar have wide open spaces, rugged hill sides, pristine mountain fresh water bodies as well as manmade forts, temples and farms that offer ample scope for sightseeing and adventure tourism. If adventure is not for you, just tote a camera and hike to the nearest view points, go on a boat ride, visit fruit farms or villages for a peaceful nature trip.
Take a long drive to the towns in the neighbourhood, each one promising its own remarkable list of touristy things to do. Panchgani and the hills close by have picturesque places that people who love nature and outdoor activities would love to revel in. We will give you a list of the most appealing things that you can do while in Panchgani.
Trip to Tapola
Tapola is a small hamlet in Mahabaleshwar, that is known for its spectacular scenic destinations. Known as the mini Kashmir of the west of India, Tapola is such a quaint little place to visit. You could go in for a weekend holiday trip to Tapola from Panchgani that takes about a short drive, a blissful ride through the fertile landcape. Tapola is renowned for its water sport activities, places where you could pack a picnic hamper to and ruins of ancient hill top forts that can be trekked to.
Pay a visit to the strawberry farms in Tapola. You would find plenty of strawberry farms scattered about in the little hamlet as well as when you drive in from Panchgani. You could buy the luscious freshly picked fruits as well as the beautiful Gerberra flowers. Tapola is about 45 km from Panchgani on the Panchgani Mahabaleshwar route.
If you are in Tapola, you would find plenty of water based sporting activities waiting up for you. The charming Shivsagar lake that forms the backwaters of the Koyna reservoir is one place where you could enjoy kayaking, water scooter rides or just a plunge into the cold waters for a swim. Dhom Dam is yet another picturesque water course where sports clubs arrange for scooter boats, speed boats or motor boat rides. Venna Lake which is a manmade lake near Mahabaleshwar has motor boats, row and pedal boats as well.
Boat rides may be cancelled during monsoon months, so go in for a cooler summer evening or a winter morning ride. The lakes are encircled by rugged hill slopes and are ideal for photography as well.
As the seasons are salubrious in Panchgani, you could always opt for easy day treks or moderately hard treks uphill. Take a hike up the Wai Panchgani road, where you would find the Kedareshwar temple for Shiva. Or take a longer trek to Gureghar Nature Trail that crosses elevated evergreen forests and stops at Triveni Point. If you would prefer longer hard treks, head to Satara which has a number of moderate to hard trekking trails and is one of the favourite adventure zones of avid trekkers. Ajinkyatara Fort, Pandavgad Fort and Sajjangad Fort are some of the prominent hill forts of the Sahyadri near Satara.
Satara is about 48 km from Panchgani. You could take a cab from Panchgani to Satara and explore some of the best trekking routes around the town.
One of the most beautiful places a little away from Panchgani is the Kas Plateau or Valley Of Flowers. The Plateau has around 850 species of flowering shrubs and plants, most of them endangered and endemic to the Kas Plateau. As the monsoon arrives, the flowering cycle changes, so the colours of the carpet of flowers changes once in every 20 days, which is a beautiful phenomenon to watch.
The best time to visit Kas Plateau is in the months of September and October when the flowers are at their blossoming best. 3000 visitors are allowed into the Kas Plateau in a day on three time slots. You can book entry online, if you would love to spend an evening among the flowers. Kas Plateau is about 25 km from Satara and about 50 km from Panchgani.
Waterfalls are always a joy to watch. A misty spray that tumbles down from the heights with a roar is never a place to be missed. If you would love to sit on a rock and watch the falls, visit Chinaman’s Falls near Mahabaleshwar that is a perfect holiday experience, the seasonal Bhilar Waterfalls near Panchgani that is at its best in monsoons and winters.
Another favourite touristy waterfall to visit is the Lingmala Falls near Mahabaleshwar. Formed out of the Venna River, the waterfall thunders down the Venna valley that’s at an altitude of 1278 m. You can spot the waterfall on the Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar road. Ensconced between tall mountain peaks, the Lingmala Falls is a feast to the eyes, especially in monsoon and winter months. Another waterfall to visit with family for a lovely picnic is the Dhobi Waterfalls near Mahabaleshwar that thunders down the Mahabaleshwar valley and joins the Koyna River.
If you are in for some exciting activity that’s going to keep you on your toes apart from trekking, Panchgani has some things in store. The glorious seasons and the verdant landcape would have you spending more time out in the open. There are sports centres in Panchgani that could arrange for camping, jeep safaris round Panchgani, horse safaris and paragliding. Paragliding is one of the most popular sporting activities in Panchgani. The table lands and the soft undulating slopes provide ample scope for zooming up and about the breezy mountain slopes.
How about bicycling through the rough country paths, with the wildflowers on both sides and a gentle breeze blowing on your face? You could also go off on a cycle tour along the forested paths of Panchgani.
Devrai Art Village
Visit the Devrai Art Village which is a non profit organization that trains and encourages the artisans and draftspersons of the Adivasi tribes of Chattisgarh and Gadchiroli. Take a walk along the beautiful gardens of Devrai Art Village and watch the craftsmen bring life into their works that are usually created out of bamboo, wood, fabric, brass, stone and iron.
Check out the Devrai Art Dhokra, the fusion of brass with stone that forms an art work, the origins of which go back to the Indus Valley civilization. If you are in time, you might love to participate in the Karvy Nature, Music and Arts Festival celebrated in Devrai in September to honour the Karvy shrub that blossoms once in eight years. Devrai Art Village that is near Wheelz Amusement Park is about 1.8 km from Panchgani.
Farms and Gardens
A visit to a farm, like to a strawberry farm that you would find aplenty in and about Panchgani, is one of the hottest things to do in Panchgani. Way beyond buying luscious strawberries at the market, it gives a cool feel if you are going to pluck your strawberries from the runners by yourself and eat them, too! Strawberry farms welcome tourists who want a tour of the plantation and have a dekko at how the fruits are grown. You will be given a trip around the farms where you could check out the varieties of fruits and berries that are endemic to Panchgani.
Some farms have restaurants with goodies made with their home produce as well as stalls where you could buy jams, squashes and juices. There are also farms that grow organic fruits and veggies that you could buy for a farm price.
A hill town a little away from Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar is a picturesque place with green carpeted rugged mountain slopes, most of them topped with ancient forts in ruins, or have some of the most charming view points. There are ancient temples, valleys of wild flowers and lush mountain cascades. Tourists usually visit Mahabaleshwar while on a trip to Panchgani.
To top it all, Mahabaleshwar has a good climate that is apt for sightseeing, travelling and indulging in adventure sports like trekking, paragliding or boating. The hill town has its share of strawberry farms too and when you are not eating strawberries, sit by the lakes at sunset and munch into hot buttery corn or fresh juicy carrots. Mahabaleshwar is about 19 km from Panchgani.
Visit to Wai
A quaint little town in the Satara district of Maharashtra, Wai on the banks of the River Krishna is known for its ancient temples, Ghats and dams like the charming Dhom Dam and Balakwadi Dam. Pilgrims visit the town during Wai’s own festivals like the Krishnabai Utsav, Sri Krishna Janmasthami and the annual jatras and fairs make that Wai a religious and historic town.
If you can get a day off from Panchgani, drive to the town of Wai. There are ancient caves like the Lohare Palpeshwar Caves, hill forts like Pandavgad Fort and Kamalgad Fort, Govardhan Sanstha, a goshala and innumerable temples. Wai is about 13 km from Panchgani and is ideal for a weekend trip from Panchgani.