Panvel (also known as Panwell by the British) is about 300 years old, developed around trade routes (both land and sea), during the Mughal rule and hence after by the Marathas, British and the Portuguese. Once upon a time Panvel was famous for its rice market. Panvel Municipal Council (PMC) was established in the year 1852, and is the oldest municipal council of Maharashtra. Panvel Municipal Council's elections started in the year 1910. The first mayor of the PMC was Mr. Yusuf Noor Mohammed Master for the years 1910–1916. The sesquicentennial anniversary (150th anniversary) of the PMC was celebrated in the year 2002. The city prospered and grew due to the influence of large scale trade by land and sea. This was characterised by the large palace-like homes that came up during the Peshwa period. It is also said that old name of this city was Paneli (Panelim in Konkani). There were historic cannons (during the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) situated on Panvel port. On 1 October 2016, Panvel Municipal Corporation came into existence.
Panvel is situated on the banks of Panvel Creek. Panvel is a huge and most populated city in Raigad district. The city is the headquarters of the Panvel sub-division of Raigad district, which is the largest in the district as per number of villages (564) and also Panvel taluka which has 177 villages under it. Panvel lies approximately 40 kilometers east of Greater Mumbai right outside the Mumbai Metropolitan Region .It is surrounded by the mountains of Matheran to the east and south east and outer regions of Panvel.
Weather is humid across the year. There is heavy rain during monsoon. May is the warmest month of the year. The temperature in May averages 30.3 °C. The lowest average temperatures in the year occur in January, when it is around 23.4 °C. Average annual temperature of Panvel is 27.0 °C.
Panvel is surrounded by some major Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) managed regions like Patalganga, Taloja, Nagothane, Roha, Khopoli, Bhiwandi. Some of the Indian industry majors like Larsen & Toubro Limited, Reliance, Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd., ONGC, IPCL are based around Panvel providing mass employment. The JNPT port is also located near Panvel. New SEZ declared by government are coming around Panvel.
Hinduism is majority religion in Panvel city with 78.67% followers. Islam is second most popular religion in city of Panvel with approximately 10.85% following it. In Panvel city, Christianity is followed by 2.13%, Jainism by 1.29%, Sikhism by 0.47% and Buddhism by 0.47%. Around 0.13% stated 'Other Religion', approximately 0.54% stated 'No Particular Religion'.