One of the cleanest hills stations in India
The post globalization period has seen the evolution of forests into concrete forests and advancement in the automobile technology has increased the density of vehicles on the roads which inexorably has increased the global warming leading to increase in temperature of our environment.
The constant hustle bustle in the metropolitan cities is a real headache and many a time we just want to escape to a quite, clean, green and beautiful place for a weekend.
In this post we are going to talk about one of the most proximate weekend gateways for people residing in Mumbai and Pune i.e. Matheran.
Matheran's proximity to many metropolitan cities makes it a popular weekend getaway for urban residents. Matheran, which means "forest on the forehead" (of the mountains) is an eco-sensitive region, declared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. It is Asia's only automobile-free hill station and is one of the cleanest hill stations in India.
Matheran is located in Raigad district in Maharashtra . It falls under the Karjat Tahsil and is also the smallest hill station in India. It is located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level.
Matheran was identified by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane district in May 1850. Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay laid the foundations of the development as a future hill station. The British developed Matheran as a popular resort to beat the summer heat in the region.
There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the 'Panorama Point' that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. 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 Echo Point, Lord Point, lion's head point, charlotte lake etc . To stay there, there are plenty of hotels, resorts and even some corporate guest houses like Rugby (RIL). There are a lot of Parsi bungalows. Beautiful old British-style architecture is preserved in Matheran. The roads are not metalled and are made of red laterite earth which makes it very ideal for trekking. There are many viewpoints in Matheran which give a panoramic view of the plains below.
Below are some pictures taken by us when we visited the hill station in 2013. (Swipe right, use fingers to zoom)
The scenic beauty of the place is breath taking and Matheran is ideal if you are a fan of going for moderate trekking but if you are reluctant to walk to all the points, don't worry as the horses come for your rescue.
The climate of Matheran is pleasant mostly throughout the year but the real experience is during the night as nights are mostly cold.
Go with your friend and family as the place is really amazing for taking pictures and spending a weekend away from the noisy city life.
How To Reach there?
Getting to Matheran is half the fun; It is well connected by rail both, from Mumbai and Pune up to Neral Junction Station, a station at the bottom of the hill. From Neral you can continue on the toy train(Narrow gauge).
While going to Matheran by road, take Mumbai-Pune Highway(NH-4) upto Chowk Village and turn to Karjat road. From Karjat, the same road goes to Dasturi Naka, i.e. entrance of Matheran via Neral.
From Neral to Dasturi Car park the road is quite steep and curvy and are similar to the hairpin bends.
Once your reach Dasturi, you have to park your car there only at the Matheran Dasturi Car park Vehicles of any kind are not permitted in the town, which makes it a very quiet, serene place.
From this point onwards i.e. Dasturi till Matheran the journey is spledid. A small Toy Train (Narrow gauge) takes you through a zigzag route of about 21 kms. to Matheran in two hours time. It's a very scenic two hours ascent as the train winds its way around the steep slopes. Some marvelous 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.
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Feel free to ask us for more information regarding the hill station.
We advice you all to visit the place in the winters other than the rainy season of course. It feels like you are in a Himalayan Hill station rather than that of a western ghats one of course if you don't mind the non availability of snow fall in Matheran.