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 1863. 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. Actually 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 Britishers 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 Dubash (Grandfather of Xerxes Dubash), and finally decided on this nameless area in the vicinity of the five villages: Dhandeghar, Godavli, Amral, Khingar, and Taighat. The place was 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 St. Peters Church graveyard.Panchgani is nestled in the middle of five hills in the Sahyādri mountain ranges. The Krishnā River flows nearby which has made the lake of Dhom dam on the Krishna, 9 K.M. from Wai. 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 lands, 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.Panchgani is at an elevation of 4300 feet above sea level & 200 feet below Mahabaleshwar which is 19 kms west of it. The Difference between the coldest & hottest seasons of the year in Panchgani is not much. Thus the climate is pleasant throughout the year. During the coldest months of Oct- Feb, the temperature here is 20-25 0C during the day and 10-15 0C during the nights. During summer period of March-May, temperature here is 25-300C during the day and 15-200C during the night . Monsoon is usually between June-September & rainfall is approximately 65 to 80 inches. Panchgani escapes the heavy rains & fog of Mahableshawar & is sheltered some what from the East winds by Table Land. The geological formation of Panchgani is volcanic. All along the road up the hill, trap is found & the soil on the hill has a mixture of oxide of iron which reddens the stratum into laterite & the slopes of table-land show bubbles which were thrown up during the cooling of molten volcanic rock of Prehistoric age.
About Panchgani Hill Stationi Municipal Council
In December 2016, the latest Municipal Council consisting of The President & seventeen members were elected by the people of Panchgani. The present President is Mrs. Laxmi Karhadakar & The Vice President is Mr. Vinod Biramane.The civic amenities in the municipal area are provided by the municipal council. The council generates funds for the developmental activities through internal (taxation, duties etc.) and external (government grants and loans) resources. The minicipality ensures the implementation of Building Control Rules and Development Control Regulations. The building plans are approved by the Town Planning Department, Satara.
The tar road network was completed in Panchgani in 1968. The maintenance of these roads is of utmost priority given the heavy rains received. Presently, road projects worth nearly Rs. 4 crores are underway. The water scheme was started in 1968-69. Presently the water supply is entirely handled by Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran. Efforts are underway to introduce 24/7 water supply. Street Lighting has been provided wherever necessary. The drainage and sewerage system of Panchgani was established during the British times. Presently, new underground drainage system is being laid at a cost of Rs. 159.8 lacks under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT). Keeping in mind the conservation of this eco-sensitive area, three new Sewagw Treatment Plants (STPs) are being implemented. The maintenance of scenic points and gardens and provision of civic facilities at these places is of importance given the ever incresing inflow of tourists every year. The parks ahve been upgraded with the latest toys along with slides, swings & merry-go-round. An electrically operated mini train is a center of attaraction to the young and old .The unique table land of Panchgani is the second biggest plateau in Asia and several measures are being taken to conserve and preserve it as per the orders of the Honourable High Court. A large number of trees have been planted all over the town, protected with tree guards. On the barren side of the Table Land around 1000 trees were planted. These trees have added to the beauty of Panchgani.Panchgani has been awarded the most prestegious 1st price in the district for the Sant Gadge Baba Swachatha Abhiyan.
The Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani area has been declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone in 2001. Presently, a High Level Monitoring Committee and a Heritage Committee monitor the development in the Eco-Sensitive Zone