The Land of Strawberries––we’re talking about Panchgani, of course––has always been the ideal weekend getaway for anyone who has grown up in the neighbouring cities of Pune and Mumbai. The allure of driving through the ghats with only a day’s worth of clothes never fails to excite. Mapro Gardens for those who come with a sweet tooth and Table Land for those who come to fight their fear of heights, Panchgani has something for everyone who decides to randomly show up. And for those who plan on spending the night, there’s something completely bizarre in store.
Zostel, one of the oldest and most reliable hostel chains in the country, has backpacker hostels located in various cities like Goa, Spiti, Mumbai, Alleppey etc. Its latest venture situated above Krishna Valley in the quaint little town of Panchgani, however, is slightly different for it’s made completely out of repurposed shipping containers––the insides of which are smeared with stories. In sync with the emerging street art culture, Zostel has street artists like Nilesh and Afzan on board, who’ve managed to reflect Panchgani’s ethos in their art. “Owing to the local’s interest in art, I thought I should create her wall art”, says Nilesh while talking about the life-size portrait of Frida Kahlo in a video posted by Zostel on their Facebook page. The common room’s design has been inspired by the concept of backpacking, which is at the core of Zostel’s philosophy as a business enterprise. Nilesh has also dedicated one of the walls to ‘Peter Baba’––the man who introduced strawberry cultivation to the farmers of Panchgani.
A unique blend of style and culture, its cantilever designs will make sure that you get a moment with the vistas and if that’s not enough, you can stand at the edge of the cliff and soak in the spellbinding views before heading out to explore the beauty around. Or you can just stay in and indulge in a game of carom or Foosball––whatever speaks to your heart! Launched on 15 June 2018, this Zostel has a private container dorm, six-bed mixed container dorms, and six-bed female container dorms––and is the perfect place for any traveller looking to make some friends along the way. Amenities include laundry services, parking services, free wifi, hot water, and breakfast for visitors.
To make reservations, you can visit their website.
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