Anyone who has ever worked as an IT professional in any capacity must know that sitting at a desk for long hours can be a huge buzz kill. And me, having freshly graduated out of college felt this more than ever! With my passion for travel, it wasn’t long before I was using office resources to google travel locations in and around Maharashta. And another driving factor behind looking up great holiday spots in Maharashtra was to show a couple of my friends from outside Mumbai around. My friends from Delhi and Bangalore seemed skeptical that Maharashtra had anything worth seeing apart from Mumbai’s night life, chaat and the unbelievable traffic. So it was like a personal mission to ensure that they visited some place they hadnt been to!! One such amazing, yet underrated hill station is Matheran (What with the elder brother Mahabaleshwar taking all the limelight). So, one weekend my friends and I decided to make an impromptu trip to the hill station and planned to stay overnight.
We started early on a Saturday morning because we wanted to get to Matheran before the sun could catch up with us. Matheran is a quaint, yet lively hill station and is easily accessible by all modes of transport. The one way trip encompasses a train ride to Neral station, followed by a beautiful 30 minute cab ride along the ghats to reach the base of the hill station. And since we had begun early, the train commute was not as tiring either owing to the pleasant morning weather. The cab ride from Neral ends at a point known as Dasturi Naka and this is the last point any vehicle can take you. After this point, you are expected to connect with nature and hopefully disconnect from Instagram ;).
The first thing we noticed here were the horses. And their pesky owners, trying really hard to take us to Matheran on them! However, my friends and I decided to hike instead and it turned out to be really amusing! My friends, being unaware of the nuisance the monkeys of Matheran were famous for, opened up packets of chips, only for the chips to be stolen by a baby monkey. I honestly believe that years of eating traveler food have practically made these monkeys aware of every kind of junk food there is! However,monkey nuisance apart,for nature enthusiasts who enjoy a good trek, the road up from Dasturi Naka to Matheran is a lovely side walk along a railway track with a gorgeous view of trees dotting the whole road. Alternatively, there is also a toy train ride from Neral straight upto Matheran which takes about 2 hours to reach.
Once we reached Matheran after a good 30 minute trek, Matheran was bustling with activity and people on the weekend. The road was filled with travellers and couples alike.Since we had made it to Matheran in good time, we had time to take a leisurely stroll along the famous,long market, popularly known as “Maal Road”,which was a good place to shop for pretty hats and shoes. This is also where we made a pit stop at the local “Chikki and Fudge” shops, to satisfy that sugar craving after the climb!
Once settled in our hotel rooms,we decided to head out for a good lunch. But march being the onset of the infamous summers, it wasn’t long before the weather got sultry. However, much to the surprise of my friends, the weather turned breezy in no time and it rained!! The mountains covered in mist and the invigorating fragrance of the wet, red soil of Matheran were just what we needed to refresh us! With the scenic view and the chilly weather to enjoy, we headed up to Khan’s rooftop restaurant for some lip- smacking food!
What with the surprisingly great weather and the great food, Matheran was already turning out to be the best holiday ever! And I was overjoyed that my friends agreed with me for once! Having consulted some of the locals, we knew that early evenings and mornings are the best time to step out view watching. We stepped out accordingly to enjoy a lovely nature walk to the various beautiful points in Matheran.
We were eager to catch a view of the hills in the misty weather and also wanted to click tons of pictures while there was still light. So, a horse ride to the points was a good idea, considering some of these points were located far away from the other ones! And needless to say, there were plenty of horse owners trying to get us a deal. We managed to cover the famous Echo and Louisa points together, as they are located only a few kilometers apart. And needless to say, the view was simply breathtaking. I have always felt that mountains offer a different kind of solitude..and standing there looking at the clouds floating and hugging the mountains, was one of the best view I have seen in a long time!
It was here, however that one of my friends had an untoward incident with a monkey. When the monkey tried to steal my friends beer! And not being the kinds who gives up easily, my friend managed to infuriate the monkey over the can! The next morning, we headed out to cover some of the other points in Matheran, like Charlotte Lake, One Tree hill point and soaked in all the greenery and beauty that Matheran had to offer.
A scrumptious breakfast of maggi and tea was all we needed to truly complete our holiday in Matheran! Having had the best experience in Matheran, and having showed my friends are marvelous time, we decided we would keep coming back in the future. Matheran has something for everyone, from bikers and nature enthusiasts, to couples looking for a lovely, romantic holiday! This hill station is a must visit for those who havn’t been here even once.