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Panju Island, Mumbai Overview

Panju Island is a lesser-known place located in the Vasai Creek in Palghar district. The island is used to connect the mainland of Vasai to another island, Salsette. The place offers a stark contrast to modern-day living. With its ancient buildings and lifestyle, salt pans, mangrove forests, the island is a dream-like destination for every curious travaller.

Panju, which is also the name of the village here, is accessible from Naigaon as it lies between the railway stations of Naigaon and Bhayandar. Spread over 600 acres, the village of 1,500 plus population offers a glimpse into the life of the agricultural community here. Narrow labyrinth roads, congested colonies, matchbox-like houses, expansive salt pans, mangrove forests define the island.

Fishing, salt farming and agriculture used to be the primary occupation of the people here. Today, the younger generation seems to be keener on working on the mainland. The villagers own over 100 boats, most of which lie unused and in a sorry state of affair.

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History

It is said that all the financial exchanges were happening here during the time of Maratha commander Sir Chimaji Aappa, who was the son of Balaji Vishwanath Bhat, the first Peshwa and younger brother of Bajirao Peshwa. In the Battle of Bassein(1802), Bajirao Peshwa II reclaimed the Vasai Fort from Portuguese. Even today, the remains of the fort can be seen from the southern shores of the Panju Island. Decades later, when India was seeing the uprising of freedom fighters, Panju, then a village of just 300 people, had produced 21 fighters. A monument in their memory stands tall at the Naigaon jetty.

What To Expect

Unaffected by the modernisation, the dwellers here still follow the old way of living. Exploring their lifestyle, architecture and culture depicts the self-reliance of the people here. The credit goes to Prabhakar Moreshwar Bhoir who had relentlessly worked for 37 years as the Sarpanch to preserve the identity of the village. 

 

Travelling to the island is like travelling back to a time when life was led in a simpler way. The villagers do not use any motorised vehicles to this day. They still depend on the bicycles. Understandably, the island is free of pollution, and  commercialisation too hasn’t spread its arms till here. The infrastructure of the village is restricted to a Hanuman Temple, a school and healthcare. Even so, the village is billed as having an excellent sex-ratio and literacy rate.

Best Time To Visit

The maximum temperature at Panju doesn't cross 35 degree celsius and the minimum temperature fluctuates between 17 and 27 degree celsius. The climate is similar to that of Mumbai. Except in rainy seasons, when the tides are high, one can visit the place anytime.

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