I stay about 100 kms away from this wonderful place and that explains my frequent visit to Panchgani. Have visited the place seven or eight times in the last three decades.
Driving down from Pune to Panchgani is a very pleasant experience as the roads are well developed with most of the route converted to six lane traffic. We stopped at a road side dhaba (eating house) and had masala dosa with sambhar.
These small roadside eateries sell items at a quick pace depending upon the regular inflow of customers. The food is cooked right there in front of you and hence one is assured that it is fresh. It also gives you that additional satisfaction of knowing what you are eating. As it was winter time we enjoyed the hot food and the tea.
About fifty meters away we saw this blacksmith hammering away with all his might. The whole family pitches in to keep the business going. That is probably his wife stoking the fire with the makeshift bellow (picture below)
Like I said, it is these small things that you see along the way that counts. The climb up the ghats slowed down our progress but it gives you a very good view of the surrounding area. Noticed many wind mills on the way and I recollected reading somewhere that the Satara belt is soon going to be converted to a wind farm.
Once you leave the main Satara road and hit the by lane (towards Panchgani) you have the added advantage of driving under a canopy of trees.
We stayed at a heritage hotel at Panchgani and the hospitality and the service was excellent. The best thing that I liked at this hotel was the food which was unlimited and of very good quality.
One of the land marks of Panchgani is the table land. It is a natural formation and I believe many Indian films were shot at this location. Now a days they conduct parasailing here and for the ones who dare to try it out, it is an exhilarating experience.
For those who want to visit Mahableshwar, it is just 18 kms from Panchgani. This place is famous for its small orange carrots. There is a lake going around Mahableshwar and the locals selling these carrots is a common sight.
Mahableshwar has different strategic points like Arthur’s seat, sunset point etc. Arthur’s seat is quite fascinating as it was almost like looking down from heaven. The force of the wind is so great that it blows up the cloud from down below.
This picture (above) was clicked on the way from Panchgani to Mahableswar. It’s a wonderful view from both sides of the road and I found that the shadow on the mountain sides created a well defined pattern. Incidentally they have used this picture in Wikipedia.
Located at a height of 4718 ft, the weather is very pleasant and ideal for cultivation of strawberry and poinsettia. In fact we stopped at one of the Strawberry jam factory and had a conducted tour around the place. You get to buy their products at subsidized rates.
For those who want to travel by air, the closest international airport is Mumbai (about 226 kms away) whereas Pune airport is just 120 kms