Panchgani is a hill station and municipal council in Satara district in Maharashtra, India. According to 2001 census in India, Panchgani then had a population of 13,280. Males constituted 57% of the population, and females, 43%. Literacy in Panchgani was 82%, (which is higher than the national average of 65%), male and female literacy being 87% and 75%, respectively. As of 2001, 9% of the population was under 6 years of age.
Scenic Panchgani was discovered by the British during the British Raj as a summer resort, and a superintendent named John Chesson was placed in charge of the hill station in the 1860s. He is credited with planting many plant species from the western World in Panchgani, including silver oak and poinsettia, which have flourished since then in Panchgani. Mahabaleshwar was the summer resort of choice for the British, but it was uninhabitable during the monsoons. Panchgani was developed as a retirement place for the British because it remained pleasant throughout the year. John Chesson was deputed to find a suitable place. He surveyed the hills in this region in the company of one Mr Rustomji Dubash, and finally decided on this nameless area in the vicinity of the five villages:Dhandeghar, Godavli, Amral, Khingar, and Taighat.
The place was aptly named Panchgani, and Chesson was made Superintendent. To develop the infrastructure, Chesson encouraged various professionals - tailors, dhobis, butchers,vegetable vendors, building contractors etc. to also settle in Panchgani. The area below the bazaar was allotted to them, and is known as the gaothan. Chesson is buried in the graveyard of St. Peter's Church. In 1971 or '72, his death centenary was observed in a big way when for the first time, the town folk and the schools participated together in a ceremony to remember the founder of Panchgani.
Geography And Climate:
Panchgani is nestled at middle of five hills in the Sahyādri mountain ranges,also there are five villages around the Pachgani are Dandeghar, Khingar, Godwali, Amral & Taighat. The Krishnā River flows nearby which made the lake of Dhom Dam on the Krishna 9 K.M. from Wai. BOUNDARIES:- Panchgani is situated about 285 km, 100 km 18 km, 45 km & 10 km respectively, from Mumbai, Pune Mahābāleshwar Satara & Wai. The east of the Pachgani is Wai, Bavdhan & Nagewadi dam, at west there is Gureghar, at south is Khingar & Rajpuri, & on north is Dhom Dam. The temperature in Panchgani is around 12C during the winter, and sometimes reaches 34C during the summer; however the humidity level is very low.
The Monsoon rains hit here hardest and the rainy season spans between June and February, allowing the region three months of relatively dry and sunny spring. The five hills surrounding Panchgani are topped by a volcanic plateau, which is the second highest in Asia after the Tibetan plateau. These plateaus, alternatively known as "table land", are a part of the Deccan Plateau and they were raised by pressure between the earth plates. The area has high seismic activity, with an epicenter near Koynānagar where the Koynanagar Dam and a hydroelectric power plant have been built.
- Sydney Point: This point is situated on a hillock facing the Krishna Valley. One can see from here the glittering waters of the Dhom Dam, and Pāndavgad and Mandhārdeo. Sydney point is about 2 km from Panchgani Bus stand.
- Table Land: This flat large expanse of laterite rock is the second longest mountain plateau in Asia. Some spacious caves including the “Devil's Kitchen” are visible from here.
- Parsi Point: This scenic point is situated on the way to Mahabaleshwar, and overlooks the Krishna valley and the blue shiny waters of the Dhom Dam.
- Devil's Kitchen: Situated at the south of the table land, the Devil's Kitchen has a mythology associated with it: It is believed that the Pāndavas of the Mahābhārat epic had stayed here for a while. Pāndavgad Caves (near Wāi) are also said to be built by them then.
- Mapro Garden: Situated on the curvaceous roads between Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, it is easily accessible by buses originating both from Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. A haven for tourists hungry for strawberry delicacies as well as factory fresh items like jams, syrups squashes and confectionery items by Mapro Foods Pvt Ltd.
Panchgani attracts many tourists throughout the year. A well-known Ganesh Temple
is located close by in Wai. The fresh air and invigorating climate of Panchgani made it a good place for convalescence, especially for those suffering from tuberculosis. Thus Panchgani became famous as a health resort. Till the 1980s, Panchgani was almost entirely an educational centre and a health resort, with only the overflow of tourists from Mahabaleshwar coming. Now the whole picture has changed, and Panchgani is booming for better or for worse. Along with the prosperity for its people has come ecological degradation.
Panchgani is known for its many boarding schools established since the late 19th century. They attract students from the nearby cities of Mumbai and Pune, and also from abroad. By and large the most famous of those students is Farrokh Bulsara, who was at Saint Peter's boarding school from 1953 to 1958, where his musical talent was spotted; he became famous a few years later as Freddie Mercury.
The global charity Initiatives of Change opened "a centre for introspection and dialogue", a 68-acre campus called Asia Plateau at Panchgani in 1967. Over the past four decades Asia Plateau has been used for holding training programmes and conferences of Initiatives of Change, particularly to address issues of corruption and governance within companies and public institutions. On certain occasions, the centre is used for programmes of like-minded institutions. It is also running a model farm and rural training centre called Grampari, aiming at propagating good practices in the Indian villages, in order to foster hygiene, local democracy and economic development.