Panchgani, as the name itself suggests, is the sangam of five hillocks. Panchgani is at a distance of 110 kms by road from Pune. It is one of the most visited hill stations in Maharashtra as it falls on the way to Mahabaleshwar.
The route is Pune-> Wai-> Panchgani. Just before the Wai flyover on the NH4 Pune-Bangalore Highway take a left turn, go under the flyover and take a right turn for Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. It is a 2.1/2 hours drive by car.
There are number of buses of MSRTC and private operators plying to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar.
Nearest station : Satara Railway Station at a distance of about 45kms..
Nearest airport is Pune at a distance of about 105 kms.
We stayed at Hotel Mount Castle, located on the main road 1 km before Panchgani market. Surprisingly, though it was a Sunday and the next day was a public holiday, there were rooms available for spot booking. These holiday resorts are generally not available during week-ends. We got a heavy discount on the Executive type room on the ground floor. The room has a porch and sitting area from where you can see the valley behind. The room was clean and spacious. The hotel has a swimming pool but it requires cleaning up. There was also a problem of hot water supply in the tap but hot water was provided in bucket. Vehicles are to be parked in the open as there is no covered parking in the hotel and the entry and exit are on slopes. The food at the hotel was good both non-vegetarian and vegetarian.
About 500 meters ahead of this hotel is another hotel ‘Ravine Hotel’ near Sydney Point entrance, which is has a beautiful garden with valley view and salt water pool. It has a big children’s play area, swimming pool, spa, lawn tennis, and other indoor games. There are number of budget and quality hotels in Panchgani.
There is a MTDC approved resort by name "White House" and another resort "Windsor Park" at Bhillar on the hill side road next to the Radha temple.
In Panchgani, following places are worth visiting :
Devil’s kitchen (where Pandavas cooked their food). Acces to Devil's kitchen is from table land.
Rajpuri Caves (distance of 10 kms with a temple of Lord Karthikeya ).
Sydney Point for a view of Dhoom Dam and sunrise and sunset.
Parsik Point from where you can see the lake.
Table Land. This is reported to be the second largest plateau in Asia covering a distance of 6 kms. There are five hill points which make it a paanch-gani. That’s how the place got the name Panchgani.
On top of the Table land, there are a number of horses and horse carts for a ride to cover the various points. Ganesh Visarjan Lake is on the left side where, according to the cart rider, the title song of Mangal Pandey film was shot. There is a mark on the rock which they say is "Pandavas Foot print". Further up there is "one tree point" where there is a single tree located in the entire area. The cart rider will tell you that the song of 'Raja Hidustani' film was shot here. There is a spot for paragliding visible from the table land top.
I had read in some review that there is a place called Billar 6 kms. from Panchgani which is known for flowers. We went in search of the spot but on reaching Bhillar we were informed that there is no such spot but on further enquiry we were told that there is a place called "Gulab Point". We travelled almost 10 kms to reach this place but it turned out to be a private property named after the mother of the owner. Inside, there are steps to top of the hillock from where you can see the entire surrounding area.
Panchgani Municipal Council charges Road Passenger Tax and Pollution tax per person.
Panchgani is a week end holiday spot for travelers from Pune and Mumbai. It is also visited by travelers from Guarajat and other states to beat the heat.