Nestled amidst the Sahyadri range on the Western Ghats, Matheran is a cosy little hill station that stands at an elevation of 2600 feet above sea level, and is just 100 kilometres away from Mumbai, making it the perfect weekend getaway. With its name literally translating to ?overhead forest?, Matheran is the smallest hill station in all of India, but it is extremely popular in terms of tourists looking for a short trip amid spectacular vistas and serenity.
Matheran is one of the very few places in the world that do not allow any vehicles at all, so the moment you step into this little town, you will be transported back to an idyllic old-world era of red-soiled roads, automobile-free pathways, and lush green hills all around. The cold breeze and the fresh air devoid of pollution is reason enough for tourists to throng to Matheran all year round.
As with any other hill station, Matheran is famous for its viewpoints. It has a total of 36 viewpoints from where you can enjoy alluring views of the Sahyadri mountain range, the most popular of them being Echo Point, Alexander Louisa Point, Panorama Point and Porcupine Point. Most of these points have easy trekking trails, and they offer sweeping views of the mountains, the sunrise, sunset, and everything in between! Charlotte Lake, close to Echo Point, is a very popular picnic spot where nature enthusiasts love to go and take a stroll in.
Located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, this beautiful hill station is untouched by the busy city life surrounding it. It has pleasant weather throughout the year, though this place is most beautiful during the monsoon season and is also just 54 km and two hours away from Mumbai. Matheran has been declared as an Eco-sensitive region by the government and automobiles are not allowed inside the town. It is, therefore, a very tranquil place with no buzzing of cars and other modes of transport. The best thing to do here is enjoying your stay with the most picturesque view of the place and rest your eyes & soul. One can also find a great variety of medicinal herbs & plants. There are about 28 points, two lakes, two parks & 4 major worship places in Matheran.
Matheran is an untouched hill-station which seems suspended in time. The Monsoon and Winter is the best time to visit, though the weather is pleasant throughout the year. Since Matheran has been declared an Eco-Sensitive region by the Government, no automobiles are allowed inside. From Neral railway station, you can take a Neral-Matheran toy train. Your car will have to be parked at Dasturi Naka and you will have to continue on foot. Make sure to wear comfortable footwear so it will be easy to walk long distances. The Panorama Point provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding area and also the Neral town. From this point, the view of sunset and sunrise is dramatic. The Louisa Point offers crystal clear view of the Prabal Fort. The other points are the One Tree Hill Point, Heart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambagh Point, and more. Try not to carry too much of luggage as carrying it around will be a chore. Before setting out, see the availability of the toy train as it sometimes shuts down, especially during Monsoon. The train is often full, so turn up in good time to ensure you get a ticket. Stay hydrated and don?t over-exert yourself or it will be a waste of a completely good trip.
Extremely beautiful and lush green. Vehicle-free zone. Clean, no pollution.
Getting around the hill station involves a lot of walking.
Matheran is a huge attraction for trekkers and photographers who wish to explore nature. The city is a popular weekend getaway for people from Pune and Mumbai who wish to relax in a calm environment.
The Chanderi Caves is a must-visit place in Matheran for all adventure enthusiasts. The trek up to the caves is an exhilarating experience, and staying over for the night ? camping out in the fresh clean air ? is an activity plenty of tourists enjoy. Another appealing trek, especially for history buffs, is the trek to the Prabal Fort. This fort has some history attached to it, and is famous for being a trekkers delight.
Despite being a tiny, laid-back hill station, Matheran offers some of the most adrenaline-pumping activities for those who are up for it. The zipline valley crossing between Louisa Point and Honeymoon Point is a very famous attraction for adventure enthusiasts, and you should definitely try it once if you have the heart for it, because it is an extremely thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you?re on the lookout for a place where you can relax and unwind and spend a leisurely evening, Paymaster Park, located in the heart of the city, is the perfect place for you to be. The park has an enviable variety of flora, and is a very popular attraction for nature lovers.
Matheran?s shopping centre consists of small boutiques and local shops, where you can buy locally produced goods such as leather items, footwear, and other simple handicraft items. A very sought after locally produced Matheran item is Chikki, which is a confection comprising jaggery and cashew nut. The local cuisine of Matheran includes traditional Maharashtrian fare like vada pav and pav bhaji, and of course, the very popular chikki.
Situated in the Western Ghats, at an elevation of 800 m above sea level, Matheran is India's smallest hill station. A vehicle free zone, this pristine hill station is popularly called 'forest on a head' due to the rich flora and fauna of the place. The hill station is a natural health resort and is rejuvenating for tourists. Apart from being a perfect escape close to nature, Matheran is popular for the several adventure activities you can indulge in. A favourite for trekkers, the actual magic of the place is experienced while exploring the region on foot and getting lost in the beauty of the serene town.
?Phul Rani? is a small 2 feet gauge line toy train service connecting Neral to Matheran. It is an astounding experience, meandering tourists up the hill, treating them with an amazing scenic beauty of greenery and hill-top view. This small ride of around half an hour is enjoyed by kids and adults alike. There is no advance booking to be made for seats. Booking takes place at Aman Lodge at Dasturi Park, 45 minutes in advance. 7 trains run in a day within a gap of 1-1.30 hours, starting at 9.30 AM. The last train from Aman Lodge is at 3.30 PM. 1st class tickets cost INR 300 per head for adults and INR 180 per head for children. 2nd class tickets cost INR 45 per head for an adult and INR 30 per head for children.
Trekking to Matheran takes place via Garbett Plateau to reach Garbett Point, starting from Bhivpuri station. The climb up to Garbett Point is easy. However, the route is a bit long.The difficulty level is otherwise easy, barring the sun and heat which can drain you off energy. During the monsoon season, it is necessary to keep an eye on snakes that might come your way during your journey through the forests. This trekking experience is perfect for adventure and nature lovers alike. The scenic and breathtaking beauty of Mathern is the most desirable outcome of this trek. The best time to embark on this journey is during May - October when the weather is cool and pleasant.
Day 1- Start your day early with a walk around Charlotte Lake. Visit the Pisarnath Temple. Enjoy the natural beauty from the numerous lookout points in the city. Day 2- Enjoy sunrise from Panorama Point. Indulge in adventure sports like paragliding and Valley Crossing, a unique activity in Matheran.
Matheran is a tiny surprise given the variety it offers. Indulge in Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Chinese, Moghlai and Punjabi cuisines across the many restaurants of the town. The standout items than one must try, while here, include the staple Vada Paav , an authentic and rich range of kebabs, as well as some Chikki , a popular sweet in the area. Also sip into some refreshing Kokum Sharbat . Liquor is also available but only in certain restaurants.
It shouldn't be that cold . carry a warmer and make sure you pack light as there is a lot of walking to be done.