Matheran stands for “forest on the forehead”; is the only declared automobile free destination in the whole Asia. Lush greenery, stupendous panoramic view of the Western Ghats, and the once in a lifetime journey in the joyride i.e. the Toy Train ride here can altogether define Matheran, the queen hill station that Maharashtra boasts on.
This is the perfect getaway for the city dwellers those who want a break from the daily tantrums of the urban life for some time and go the lap of nature to regain some energy and lose themselves free from all work tensions. Matheran is outstanding for stress busting! Located at a height of 2,625 feet from the sea level, this charming hill station is closely knitted with the major cities of Maharashtra. Mumbai, the capital can be reached by travelling 90 Kms from there while Pune, the techno-hub of Maharashtra can be reached conveniently by crossing 120 Kms. Therefore, Matheran has been one of the most loved destinations for the weekenders of the state besides the tourists from the other states of India and abroad. As already mentioned this is a complete automobile free zone and the Maharashtra Government declared the place to be eco sensitive few years back. Therefore, travelling in Matheran can be best to inhale only fresh oxygen.
Though Matheran is a round the year destination, but winter can be much appreciated by the travellers who enjoy the season. Monsoon in the Western Ghats is a not to miss stuff. The young at hearts can try this wonderful season at Matheran.
The breathtaking hill station of Maharashtra has nearly 38 look-out points to explore, temples and places to worship, parks, lakes the UNESCO Heritage Joyride and many more. Let’s take a quick look at what Matheran offers to its tourists.
Though Horse riding is the primary source of communication here, still the urban dwellers take the ride as one of the activities here. There are around 500 horses maintained here. Passionate riders can have a wonderful time riding throughout Matheran.
Passionate trekkers never miss a chance to trek whenever they are in hills. Here in Matheran also there are certain places where people have to trek to reach. Besides various trekking routes, the most significant one is through the Garbert Plateau. That can be quite an adventure for the young at hearts.
Alongside tourists here in Matheran can enjoy some passing time shopping in the local markets where variety of pickles and handicrafts can be collected as souvenirs back home.
The 20 Km long and 2 ft gauge track of the Matheran Toy Train line will give you the exact joy of the Joy ride of Darjeeling. If you haven’t enjoyed the toy train ride here, you will be missing the best part of your Matheran vacationing. So don’t take a chance to sit in the joy ride and enjoy the journey of the toy train. If you are a nature lover, this journey will give you back thousand more than the single penny you invested for the vacation.
The Toy Trains at Matheran are honoured to be named as Phul Rani. In 1907, the train track was established under the surveillance of Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy. Important personalities of the then government and East India Company of the Bombay Presidency preferred to stay at Matheran soon after their retirement. Few years back this wonderful joyride has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage.
The toy train starts from Neral to Matheran and stunningly crosses around 281 zigzags to reach the hill top. There are four pairs of trains that run between these two places. But in monsoon only one pair runs from Neral to Matheran up and down.
Matheran is the ideal stress busting destination. The verdant nature and beautiful meek animals are treasured here. This is the place where you are not allowed to take your car or even get any vehicle to transport. Here only horses are the only mode of transportation. Therefore, when you are in the crown hill station of the Sahyadri hill Ranges, which is around 2400 feet above sea level- better you walk or hire a rickshaw if you are afraid to get up on a horse’s back!
Matheran in return will give you back lungs full of fresh oxygen. This is a 100% pollution free zone even in the 21st century- which is literally unthinkable and unimaginable. But this is true. If you are suffering from any chronic disease such as asthma, heart ailment, cholesterol and diabetes, you will definitely get well. we cannot say that living few days in a pollution free zone can cure you completely, we can only say that you will feel good, relaxed, less stressed and fresh- that altogether help us to maintain good health.
Now back to the flora and fauna in Matheran – to start with simply can’t miss to mention the deciduous trees grown so widely to create dense forests. Because of the undisturbed climactic and no pollution reasons- nature has been so wonderfully preserved by this Maharashtrian hill station. The most important trees here are HIrda, Kumbal, Dinda, Shikekai, Tamalpatra and many more. Matheran’s Honey is much acclaimed. Besides supplying unique herbs for the medicine factories, Matheran is also enriched in producing rare and variety fruits. Back-berries that are locally called Jambhuls are found maximum here. This is one of the favourite appetites for the monkeys here. The rare Indian birds like the cuckoo and Bulbul here also feed on the abundant fruits. Besides, seasonal mangoes are widely grown in Matheran.
Besides a significant place to visit, this lake is the primary source of drinking water here. The much ancient Pisarnath temple is located near by the lake.
The important look-out places
All hill stations have different points that are actually marked to guide the tourists to explore the real beauty of the mountains, the forests and the panoramic views altogether. Matheran also has many of such points that have been marked for ages here. Approximately, there are 33 look-out points that promises visitors some unforgettable panoramic views. These points are photographers’ Xanadu. Monkey point, Heart point, Echo Point, Porcupine point and so on are the most significant points of Matheran.
By Air: Nearest airport is Mumbai, 100 kms.
By Train: Regular trains are available from Mumbai-Neral which is around 90 kms. Neral-Matheran, 21 kms,: Pune-Neral, 120 kms.
By Road: Bus routes are available from Mumbai-Neral-Matheran, 108 kms. State Transport buses are available from Mumbai and Pune to Neral.