Unwind Yourself At Matheran
Where Is Matheran
Located on a sidetracked plateau of the Western Ghats that overhang the Konkan, stands Matheran. The name is a Marathi term, denoting the “Woodlands Overhead”. It was discovered by a British, Mr. Huge Mallet, the then Collector of Thane, in 1850. Matheran is located at 803.47 meters above sea level. Here time stops still and the world seems a distant planet that you had forgotten long back.
It is just 90 kms from Bombay (2.5 hrs’ drive). Varied types of plants and herbs, having medicinal value are found in abundance in the mountain jungles of Matheran. Probably the number of monkeys in these hills outnumbers the human population, and both the red-faced breed as well as the black-faced ones are found here.
Matheran is probably the only place in India where automobiles are prohibited inside the town. Vehicles are restricted upto Dasturi Naka, which is 2 kms from the town. One can enjoy the ancient mode of transport / conveyance by horseback or hand pulled rickshaws. Resultantly you get to enjoy a pollution free weekend where you can unwind yourself from the daily routine. There is also a Toy Train, which runs between Neral (in the foothills) to Matheran. This is an ideal mode of transport if you are traveling with children, as they are bound to enjoy the ride. You too will relish the breathtakingly beautiful scenario and get to believe that Matheran, and not Kerala, is God’s Own Country.
How To Go There
It is well connected by rail both, from Mumbai and Pune upto Neral Junction Station, a station at the bottom of the hill. From Neral a small Toy Train (Narrow gauge) takes you through a zigzag route of about 21 kms. to Matheran in 2 hours time. Some marvellous valley scenes can be observed during this journey. Three small stations called Jumma Patti, Water Pipe and Aman Lodge are on the way to Matheran.
While going to Matheran by road, take Mumbai-Pune Highway upto Chowk Village and turn to Karjat road. From Karjat, this road goes to Dasturi Naka, i.e. entrance of Matheran via Neral. Parking facilities are available at Dasturi Naka, Matheran. From this point into the town center, either a trek on foot or on horseback or by hand pulled rickshaws, as motor vehicles are prohibited within the hill-station area. During rainy season Train Services are not regular. Taxi takes about 20 minutes to reach Dasturi Naka from Neral. To go around Matheran, one has to walk or avail the services of horses or handcart (single seater).
What To See Out There
There are 36 points in Matheran out of which some are given below with their location and distances (approx.) from Post Office. Remaining points are on the way to these main points.
Khandala Point It is on the M.G. Road, ½ km away from Post Office. One can see Garbut Point in front of it and at the right side of it, Khandala Hills, Bhivpuri Power House and Karjat town.
Alexander Point It is on the Madhavji Road and about 1 km. from the Post Office. From this point one can see Garbut Point, Towers of Bhivpuri Power House, Karjat Palasdari Lake, Borgaon Village, Rambaug Point and Chowk Point.
Rambaug Point It is about 2 kms from the Post Office. From here Garbut Point, Karjat Town and Khandala Point can be viewed.
Chowk Point It is about 4 km from the Post Office. From here Karnala Fort, near Panvel, Vishalgad, Prabal Fort, One Tree Hill, Karjat, Palasdari and Chowk Village can be seen.
One Tree Hill It is about 3 kms from the Post Office on Shivaji Road, On the top there is one solitary Jambhul Tree that marks the spot. A tent Hill, Chowk Village, Mumbai-Pune Highway and Panvel City can be seen.
Charlotte Lake This lake is about 2 kms from the Post Office has beautiful scenery and greenery. On the left is Pisarnath Temple, Echo Point, Louisa Point are on the right side of it. Since this lake supplies drinking water to the town, boating, swimming and fishing is strictly prohibited.
Echo Point It is about 2 kms from the Post Office. On the right one can experience Echoes reverberating in a low tone from this place. During September-October, good view of waterfall can be seen, to the delight of your eyes.
Louisa Point & Lions Head It is about 2 km from Post Office. The place is essentially a plateau. From left to right, one can see Echo Point, Lake Gardens, Chowk Point, Tent Hill, Prabal Fort, Panvel, Lights of Mumbai City at Night. On the right, one can see end of point shaped like a ''Lion’s Head''.
Porcupine Point It is about 3 kms from the Post Office and is well known for the magnificent sight of Sunset from here at dusk.
Malet Spring It is about 1-1/2 km from the Post Office. During whole year passers by and tourists can drink the cool water of this spring.
Monkey Point It is about 3 kms from the Post Office and so named because there were monkeys abounding on that side formerly. From here facing Hart Cliff, one makes a noise or sound, it echoes back nearly six/seven times and the echo is distinct, clear and full.
Panorama Point It is about 6 kms from the Post Office. The view from here is magnificent. This place is most suitable for picnic. This point commands one of the widest view of the hill, both of Matheran and other side of it. Peb Fort, Chanderi, Jagged peaks of Mhas-Mal, Navara-Navari can be seen from here. On the west side of it with Prabal fort as background is a fine view of wooded ravines and bare cliff of Hart, Monkeys and Porcupine Point. Sunrise can also be seen from this Point.
Mount Berry It is about 5 kms from the Post Office. A splendid view of train coming up the hill right from Neral Water Pipe and perfect Aerial view of Neral Town can be seen from here,
Garbut Point It is nearly 5 kms from the Post Office. While going to this place one meets with a wonderful union of sky with the earth, in other words, of the horizon. This point must be seen for its colourful Dawn and Sunrise. One should not miss this Point at the Sunrise.
Your Stay There
As in other tourist places, there are umpteen number of hotels, lodges and resorts to cater to pockets of every size and shape. I stayed in the Hotel Rugby, as my company has a tie up with them. The Hotel Rugby is a little on the costly side, but if you can afford it, there is nothing like it.
Hailing as I do, from Siliguri, a town situated on the foothills of the Himalayas, I had at first phooed my wife’s suggestion that we visit Matheran, claiming vociferously that no hill station can be as beautiful as the ones that we have in the North Bengal. And today, after spending 4 days out in Matheran, I am eating my words. Not for saying that the North Bengal hill stations are the best. But for realizing the fact that each and every different range of mountains has its own set of charms and beauty.
It is during these visits to the wilderness that we bow down and realise that there is some supreme power who crafted our existence.