9:41 PM

I'm back! I was MIA because my mom came to visit us for two weeks and we got to do a couple of fun things with her.
The steaming heat of Mumbai being quite hard to take we decided to go away for a weekend to a hill station called Panchgani. And since it was a last minute decision we even made extra arrangement for our dog jasmine to tag along, thanks to the website we have been able to book a pet friendly hotel through them.

Panchgani is about 300km from Mumbai and offers a great escape from the city, it's a good 10 degree Celsius cooler than the city, with the result that we all almost felt a bit cold having forgotten to pack a light jacket for the evening, but nevertheless the climate change was much welcome.
The first day we left Jazz in our hotel room as she was quite tired from the car trip (she got quite exited the whole time) and we headed to a small lake where Ishita had a blast at the playground playing with pebbles and swings, then we headed to the dock for a boat ride. The next day we did check out of the hotel and headed to "Table land" in Panchgani itself taking the dog with us.
Table land is one big flat plateau atop the hill where you have a spectacular view of nearby hills all slashed flat just like the one we were on. It's grassy, a cool breeze is flowing, and there is a lot of fun activities to do like horse riding, horse carriage tours and being pulled by a jeep wearing a parachute.
We were on the less adventurous side having a toddler and canine with us so we just walked around, took picture and then went for a horse carriage ride where we learned from the carriage driver that Panchgani takes its name from these flat hilltops which are five in number. Which explained the "Panch" in the name since it means 5 in hindi, DH though had no idea what "gani" stood for and the guy told us it actually means "veranda" or "porch" and refers to these flat tops which indeed look like big flat terrasses.
Just before we hopped on the carriage I told DH that we were walking on old volcanic ground due to the presence of iron rich shiny rocks with holes, DH said it was quite possible considering the western ghats were created out of the middle east plate crashing into the Indian plate, but we asked the horse carriage guy and he indeed confirmed that this has been a volcanic area eons ago. Which indeed explains a lot from the landscape I observed there, from layered smooth hills, flat tops, iron red rocks, dark soil in some places and overall super green vegetation, volcanic areas are known to be the most fertile of soils after all.

Panchgani is really just a weekend getaway for stressed urbanites, there is not much else to do apart from lazing around in a hotel (and there are a lot of these), if you have kids a bit older and no dog with you, there are a couple of small theme parks and gardens to visit as well, which could keep you busy for an extra day.

We came back to Mumbai feeling relaxed and refreshed which was exactly what we intended to do with this trip.

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