Outlook Travellers’ guide on weekend trips from Mumbai notes Panshet as one of the places around Pune. A place where you can’t do anything. Just be there. That’s what we did indeed. That Panshet has an MTDC resort made it an easy choice of destination. But the real sweet spot was not that, but dams—which always held our fascination and never fail to arise within us mixed feelings: fear, awe, delight, and many more. The MTDC resort is conveniently located on a hillock between the two dams—Panshet and Varasgaon. Backwaters of both lie almost parallel and run into kilometres. And the endless roads abutting the backwaters are often a pleasure to drive, despite being in a pretty bad shape.
Panshet is about 45 kms from Pune, on the right side of the Pune–Satara highway. One crosses the Khadakvasla dam before reaching Panshet. We did, however, end up taking a different road through some remote villages and rustic roads that have perhaps never seen black tar.
There are two boating clubs—one in the Panshet backwaters and the other in the Varasgaon backwaters. Both are walking distance from the resort. There are row boats, speed boats, and kayaking options. That’s pretty much you can do here. But the best thing to do is to take long walks on the road chatting with the chirpy birds or smiling at the occasional villager who passes by. If walking is not for you, then get into the car and take a long drive. Many people have their weekend holiday homes along the backwaters, offering pretty views. If winter in Panshet is this much enjoyable, the place will be more enchanting in the monsoons.
The road by the Panshet backwaters stretches about 30 kilometers to a village (that’s a dead end). The road by Varasgaon backwater will take you to Dasave at about 30 kms from Panshet. Dasave is where the controversial Lavasa city is being built.
The Panshet MTDC resort is recently renovated and opened after being closed for over 6 years. Rooms are simple and clean. The restaurant menu has basic food choices, but whatever available is tasty.