Panchgani also called Paachgani is a famous hill station and municipal council in Satara district in Maharashtra, India. It is renowned for the many premier residential educational institutions.
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.