“Sometimes, Journey is more beautiful than the destination.”
Translated as ‘forest on top’, Matheran is a stunning hilly getaway with amazing climate, close to Mumbai (90 Kms) and Pune (120 Kms ). To take a break from the bustling city life and to fill your lungs with some oxygen, this destination is a perfect weekend getaway from the city to knock out all your stress.
Nestled in the Sahyadri ranges of the Western ghats at a height of 800 m (2650 feet), the ecosystem of Matheran is unique with it’s dense arboreal growth. With a carpet of green shrubs everywhere & red mud walk ways, the picturesque Matheran has been kissed with abounding natural beauty. Except the noise of twigs breaking under your foot and occasional wind wafts, the serene woods always maintain drop-dead silence here.
How to get there?
Mumbai to Neral-> local trains (approx 2.5 hours)
Neral to Matheran-> Toy trains (approx 2 hours)/ taxi (approx 20 mins) till Dasturi Naka station
Dasturi Naka car park to town centre-> by foot / horse/ hand pulled rickshaws (In this automobile-free hill station, cars are not allowed beyond a point )
Quick tip: Remember to book tickets at least a week before, if you opt to travel by toy train.
Best time to travel
Matheran is mainly famous for it’s salubrious weather. During monsoon, the hill station is almost cladded with clouds blocking the views. Post-monsoon, it is even more beautiful with lush greenery and little waterfalls all around.
Where to Stay?
There are many luxury and budget hotels with undulating green vistas.
What to see?
Starting with the toy train, this cute locomotive drags itself slowly on the zig zag slopes along the side of the hill encompassing all the killer scenic views. There are nearly three dozen look-out points. The Panorama Point gives a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Louisa point, One Tree Hill, Monkey Point, Echo point, Porcupine Point and Charolette lake are some of the attractions.
Charolette lake– If you are seeking solitude, head to the lake and spend sometime in peace dipping your feet into the water.
Things to do in Matheran
There are umpteen places to visit, you can walk any time into the jungle or trek high and soak up in the beauty. Dense green cover through out, plays peek-a-boo with the sun. Sunset and sunrise views here are mesmerizing to gaze at, sitting in silence.
Travellers like to roam around in horses and enjoy their rides through muddy slopes. An experience you mustn’t miss. If you are here for a long weekend, you can opt for horse riding classes at the Olympia racecourse that’s run by local horsemen. The choice of horse is entirely yours; you can choose from different varieties and colours- tall or short horses, or those coloured brown, black or white!
Try the adrenaline pumping zip lining at honeymoon point across 3000 feet deep valley. Once you are in mid-air and you get to see clouds start to disperse, you realize the actual depth when you look down, you will feel your heart popping out.
After an exhilarating walk, to catch a breath and have a sip, there are many chai & juice points. Don’t miss the ‘Kokam sherbet’ (lemon soda). It’s so refreshing! There are many places near the market that offers a scrumptious Maharashtrian thali.
Shoppers can find a lot of stuff in this small town- chikki (peanut brittle), honey and leather goods are good to buy here. You will also find decorative items here such as glass birds, cane goods and dried wild flowers.
- Be careful with food in your hands, you can get mugged by a monkey ready to trouble you around every nook and corner
- Carry a pair of comfortable shoes as you have to get on your feet where ever you go.
- There are 1-2 ATM’s that too out of cash most of the times. so, carry enough cash with you.
- Some snacks, water, a jacket and a torch would be useful to carry for long walks into the woods.
Matheran is a quiet getaway literally, as vehicles are not allowed here. Once here, you feel as if you have travelled back in time almost skipping a couple of centuries with little trace of smoke and automobiles. So you see, in spite of lakhs of tourists flocking in and out each year, the serenity and beauty of the place remains intact. So, if you are looking for an unusual weekend trip, Matheran is the place to be!