Panchgani was discovered during the British Raj and was tagged as their summer capital. British superintendent, in the name of John Chesson, can be credited for the improvement and grooming of the hill station during the 1960s. He planted several plant species from the western world, including silver oak and poinsettia, to beautify the place. Initially, Mahabaleshwar was the summer capital of the British, but they could not retire there during the monsoon. Later, they decided on Panchgani for the same as the town remain pleasant throughout the year.
History goes to say that John Chesson was assigned the task of finding a suitable spot for the summer vacation retreat. He finally settled on the scenic area between five villages- Dhandeghar, Godavli, Amral, Khingar, and Taighat. Post discovery of the beautiful region, John was made superintendent, and the place was named Panchgani. Chesson then, improvised the infrastructure and appointed tailors, butchers, dhobis etc. to inhabit the place and that’s how Panchgani came to be as a town.
Other than the verdant green valleys, soothing environment; the red, juicy strawberries are a major attraction of Panchgani hills. Rightly known as the ‘strawberry garden of India’, the farms of Panchgani are full of enchanting views of luscious berries, especially during February and March. And we have nobody but the British to thank for bringing these beautiful berry plantations from Australia.