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Strawberry Festival in Panchgani

Strawberries are rich, red and pulpy with tiny seeds melting in the mouth; worth every bite. How fascinating will it be if people were given an option to meander through fields full of ripe, juicy strawberries, pluck them and eat them at ease and pleasure? Moreover guests don’t have to pay a penny. It might seem like a utopia. But it’s a reality at the Panchgani Strawberry Festival held every year in the month of March/April for four days in Panchgani Hill Station in Satara district of Maharashtra. Panchgani was discovered y the British as a summer destination for its cool moderate climate; ideal for strawberry cultivation initiated by the British and the legacy continues till date by their Indian counterparts.

Strawberry Festival in Panchgani

Mapro Garden in Panchgani is renowned for strawberry farms and production amounting to 85% of strawberry cultivation and sale in India with 80% of it utilized for consumption immediately. Mapro Garden is situated very close to Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra hosting the Strawberry Festival visited by scored of strawberry maniacs greeted to fresh strawberries devoured instantly. An initiative undertaken by Mapro four years back to clear the excess strawberry produce, the Strawberry Festival was kick started in order to boost the strawberry consumption and aggravate tourism in Panchgani- Mahabaleshwar. The event spanning 4 days is managed by All India Strawberry Growers Association (AIGSA) in order to encourage strawberry production in India.

Exotic varieties of strawberry on display and consumption like Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, SweetStrawberry Festival in Panchgani Charlie and KamaRoza apart from raw strawberries; delicacies like Strawberry Chocolate Pizza, Chocoberry, Strawberry Bhel, Strawberry Sandwiches and Strawberries dipped in chocolate sauce. The event sees 250 and more farmers participating in the festival and displaying their produce, Strawberry Farm visits, Mapro Food Park tour and cultural events / dance or musical performances. Mehendi stalls, watercolor tattoo stalls and Live Orchestra belting out foot tapping Bollywood tracks, Lezim (a musical instrument with cymbals) dance performance by local artistes from Pratapgarh in Maharashtra on the event grounds is captivating and refreshing.

Walking idly along the Strawberry promenade and picking sweet, juicy red strawberries from the plantation estates and devouring them till the stomach revolts is indeed fascinating for tourists seeking thrill and entertainment in Panchgani.

So much is the attraction and popularity of the Strawberry Festival in Panchgani that (MTDC) Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has kick started 9 day strawberry festival in select Malls in Mumbai, Nashik, Aurangabad, Pune and Nagpur in order to enable farmers to directly exhibit and sell their produce to customers at these outlets. Besides the fruit being used as a topping for fruit salads, juices and milkshakes, Ice creams, strawberry extract is also used in jams, confectionery, jelly, squash and many more.

Strawberry Festival will be held from 28th -31st March 2015, in Panchgani this year expected to draw thousands of tourists.

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