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Old 19th July 2012, 23:14   #1
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Default Matheran in Monsoon!!

This is my second thread in the Travelogue section. My first one was about my trip to Goa which you can find here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...goa-again.html (Goa Again!!):

Last time I made that trip with my hostel friends – well this time too. One my friend is doing PhD in Canada and had come to India for a few days. We wanted to have a get-together. Watching a movie/going to a mall/dinner was not fun. We wanted to go somewhere outside Bombay. So which place can we go which will be fun and can be done in a weekend? Lonavala? – well all of us had been there too many times. Matheran? – HHmmmm. Last time I went to Matheran was during my school days and now I do not even remember anything. All of us agreed on it and the planning began – Well there was not much to plan but still. Following is only for those who want to know about how to reach there:

We decided to reach Matheran via train and not by a taxi directly from Bombay. First you need to reach Neral (NOT NERUL!) on the central line. You can take the Karjat Fast train from Dadar. Cost might be about 20 bucks. One interesting thing I came to know was that if you take a return ticket on a Satruday – it is valid till Sunday night! Note that for a weekday the ticket is valid only for that day.

So here are the train timings from Dadar:

5.58 am – Karjat S
7.03 am – Karjat F
9 am – Karjat F
9.43 am – Karjat F
There are many more but I am just listing the early morning ones.

It will take approximately 1.5 hours to reach Neral. We did get to sit in the train at Dadar but you might not be lucky. If you want a place you should look at sitting from CST. Outside Neral there are many roadside restaurants where you can have breakfast – Misal Pav/Poha/Medu Vada etc. Now Matheran is about 20 mins away from Neral. You can take a taxi to reach there. Taxis come in the form of Omni’s with a fixed cost of 60 per person (can seat up to 6 in one car!). The drive to Matheran is through the ghats which is pretty scenic.

But the drive is pretty tough – There are steep slopes, hairpin turns. These taxi wallas are experts at driving. I think if you are not confident of your driving on slopes then it is better not to take your car. Now in 20 minutes you will reach a place called Dasturi naka – where all the taxis/cars stop. No vehicles are allowed inside Matheran so all cars have to be parked at Dasturi – I am not sure about the parking charges as we had taken a taxi. You will be greeted by the Monkeys at the main gate itself – There are lots of monkeys in Matheran too. You will need to pay entry fees to enter Matheran (Rs 40 per person). When you enter there are two ways of going up Matheran – Either take a horse or walk. Since we all were trekking enthusiasts, we decided to walk along the toy train tracks. It took us about 1.5 hours to walk up.

Matheran can be very messy during the rains – There are no roads as such – it’s just rocks and red soil. Many people might not like walking in rainy conditions. Only those who like trekking will enjoy Matheran during rains.

We had not booked any hotel before coming to Matheran – we thought we would search hotels after reaching here – quite risky if you are travelling with family but since we were all young guys, not booking a hotel in advance was not an issue. One thing I found was choosing a hotel in Matheran is quite tough – in the sense there are very few choices IMO. In Goa - you will find all kinds of rooms at all kinds of prices. But in Matheran either the rooms are too expensive or extremely cheap. Note that when I say expensive I mean it from the prospective of a college guy. We reached one hotel – Usha Ascot – one of the well known hotels. A deluxe suite for 6 guys was Rs 20k (meals included). We found it to be way more expensive for just 1 night. After some more searching we found a hotel called Lakeview (near Alexander point). We took 2 rooms (3 in each room) for Rs 1200 for one night. So per head cost came out to be just 400 per night. Of course there was not room service or swimming pool. But the bed was nice, bathroom was reasonably clean and there was water supply. We were looking for a cheap room because we were just going to use it to sleep at night.

If you ask me what are the things to do in Matheran, I would say not many. There are plenty of points out there and each of them offer an amazing view. Covering many points in a single day might be a little hectic and tiring but youngsters can aim at doing that. Note that all points are the same – the only way they differ is the view they offer. So one thing in Matheran would be to view different points.

Another must do activity at Matheran is Fly Zipping – basically going from one point to another point hanging on a rope in mid air. Note that this activity takes place at many points but the only activity worth doing is the one at Alexander Point (from where you “fly-zip” to Rambaugh point). This would cost 400 per person (there is an offer of 1 free on purchasing 5 trips). It will seem really dangerous and it takes place at a considerable height and you will be fly zipping for 54 secs (length of 400m). Adventurous people should certainly try that.

Pictures to follow...
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Old 19th July 2012, 23:18   #2
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Get down at NERAL and not Nerul!

Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120714_085354.jpg

Red soil + Green trees - thats the only colour combo you will find in Matheran during monsoons.

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Muddy tracks - Such tracks will be found everywhere.

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Walking along train tracks all the way up to Matheran

Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120714_103615.jpg

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Last edited by Saanil : 19th July 2012 at 23:22.
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Old 19th July 2012, 23:32   #3
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Main market of Matheran

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Charlotte Lake

Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120714_172523.jpg

This is Fly Zipping. You the see the rope going towards the other side? You slide down from there at this height all alone!

Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120714_155833.jpg

Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120714_150633.jpg

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Last edited by Saanil : 19th July 2012 at 23:35.
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Old 19th July 2012, 23:40   #4
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120714_175421.jpg

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Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120714_175436.jpg

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Old 20th July 2012, 00:29   #5
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Some really nice pictures.
I am intrigued by these stacked table top mountains.
Will visit one day.
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Old 20th July 2012, 07:22   #6
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

This place is beautiful, thanks a lot for posting the pictures. When we were in Pune we desperately wanted to visit this place but something or the other came in the way of going there. Now i know what we missed.

Is there a decent amount of trekking that needs to be done? Asking as it would be deterrent to kids and elderly.

Please post more pictures whenever you can.
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Old 20th July 2012, 13:54   #7
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Is Neral - Matheran train service is running in monsoon ?
And are you able to walk comfortabley in rains since there are NO paved roads , is it all muddy on roads and diffcult to walk in rains ?
I was planning but i think you cannot walk in muds and its diffcult to walk there in rains , so please update me on this.
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Old 20th July 2012, 14:11   #8
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by download2live View Post
Some really nice pictures.
I am intrigued by these stacked table top mountains.
Will visit one day.
Thanks for appreciating the pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
This place is beautiful, thanks a lot for posting the pictures. When we were in Pune we desperately wanted to visit this place but something or the other came in the way of going there. Now i know what we missed.

Is there a decent amount of trekking that needs to be done? Asking as it would be deterrent to kids and elderly.

Please post more pictures whenever you can.
Well yes - there is decent amount of trekking if you plan to visit many points and decide to do so on foot. Otherwise you can always visit some selected points and commute on horses. Horses might increase the cost a little - I do not have any exact estimation of the cost of the horse as we did not inquire much about it. I was quoted Rs 200 for going from Market to Dasturi.

You will also find hand pulled rickshaws there (again no idea about cost). But the thing is - When you see the horse/rickshaw puller struggle through the muddy roads you kind of feel bad - at least I felt so. I am not preaching or anything but just saying what I felt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeep joshi View Post
Is Neral - Matheran train service is running in monsoon ?
And are you able to walk comfortabley in rains since there are NO paved roads , is it all muddy on roads and diffcult to walk in rains ?
I was planning but i think you cannot walk in muds and its diffcult to walk there in rains , so please update me on this.
You must be referring to the toy train. No it was not running when we went there. I think they do not run trains during monsoons.

Walking is not that tough - of course it is messy. You shoes/clothes will get dirty but that is the point of trekking. I do not think that youngsters should have a problem with walking. It might be a bit exhausting but not much of an issue.
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Old 20th July 2012, 14:43   #9
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Great pictures!

I was in Matheran last weekend.We too had a problem getting rooms for 9 ppl but after lot of search, we found one nice place called "Laxmi Hotel". It costed us 3100rs for two rooms.But the best part, there was a small garden on the back side of the lodge and where the garden ends, the valley Starts! It was simply marvelous.

I did enjoy the Zip line as well.400 rs was on the higher side but what the hell.I wont get chance to do this everyday.The view from the line is just crazy.At first, i was completely scared but the fun was leaving both your hands and just enjoying the nature.The last few feet, you have to pull yourself towards the end of the zip line which i found the best part. Felt i was in a defense academy
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Old 20th July 2012, 17:47   #10
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Dear Saanil,

Thanks for posting these pictures. It's been nearly 8 years since I left behind my life in Pune/Mumbai. The monsoon in the western ghats, the mist and the red-soil/green foliage are some of the things I still miss. Lovely to view them again, through your lens!

Best,

Nilanjan
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Old 20th July 2012, 17:52   #11
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Matheran holds a special place for me. I love that place. And the walk in monsoon rains is nothing short of stunning.

Your pics look great.
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Old 20th July 2012, 19:39   #12
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

A Nice Travellogue. I am also planning to visit Matheran sometime next month. I hope the tips you asked for in the "route / planning section" was helpful to you.
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Old 20th July 2012, 23:32   #13
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pratheekkunder View Post
The last few feet, you have to pull yourself towards the end of the zip line which i found the best part. Felt i was in a defense academy
Thanks for the post. Yes - The last few feet where you have to pull yourself is also a good experience. It would be of great help if you could post any contact/location of the hotel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanm View Post
Lovely to view them again, through your lens!

Best,

Nilanjan
Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
Matheran holds a special place for me. I love that place. And the walk in monsoon rains is nothing short of stunning.

Your pics look great.
Thanks a lot guys for your appreciation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
A Nice Travellogue. I am also planning to visit Matheran sometime next month. I hope the tips you asked for in the "route / planning section" was helpful to you.
Thanks a lot sir! Your comments were very valuable. Appreciate your comments.

As I said earlier there are plenty of points to visit in Matheran. But if someone is short on time which ones should they visit? Following are the points we covered:

1. Louisa point

2. Alexander point (only because the Zip Lining activity starts from here to Rambaugh point – see map)

3. Lord’s Point (Near Charlotte Lake – which is also worth visiting)

4. Echo Point

5. Khandala point

Also attaching a map of Matheran just to give an idea of the number of points and their location (Source: Wikipedia). Khandala point was the smallest point and was the nearest to the main market. The points which blew my mind away were Louisa and Lord’s point.

Matheran in Monsoon!!-matheranmap.jpg

Also I have a video of me zip lining. I have put it on dropbox. You really have to see it to believe how awesome zip-lining is...

Last edited by Saanil : 20th July 2012 at 23:35.
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Old 21st July 2012, 01:08   #14
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Your thread brought back my memories of a bygone era. This was in my college days. I lived in Maharashtra for a very long period. In those days I and a closed group of friends did many such popular tourist circuits. Matheran was the last one the group did. We went there in Monsoon and the experience was out of the world. In those days we did not have high budgets. We were all students. So we rented a house for 5 days of our stay there (yes, we stayed 5 days in Matheran). The day time used to be for roaming around the peaks and evenings for the main mall or whatever it was (basically the market around the station. Rainy evenings used to be fun time in the 1-room tenement that he we rented for ourselves.

Matheran is still as beautiful and lush as it was then.
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Old 21st July 2012, 10:48   #15
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Default Re: Matheran in Monsoon!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post

Is there a decent amount of trekking that needs to be done? Asking as it would be deterrent to kids and elderly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeep joshi View Post
And are you able to walk comfortabley in rains since there are NO paved roads , is it all muddy on roads and diffcult to walk in rains ?
Posting some pictures on how the muddy tracks look like.
Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120715_113725.jpg

Matheran in Monsoon!!-20120715_113731.jpg

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Although I am not much of a foodie, Matheran offers you decent food options. As far as I saw all restaurants were in the main market only and since our hotel was a bit far from the market we decided you have our dinner in the market and then move towards our hotel (rather than going to room first, getting fresh and then coming back to the market to have dinner). Like Lonavala, here too you can taste Chocolate Fudge and Chikkis!

Note that unlike Goa, there is nothing to do in Matheran at night. Most of the streets do not have lights except the main market and there is nothing to do in Matheran at night. What we did was stayed inside our room and remembered our good old hostel days. If you are staying at a hotel like Usha Ascot/Byke then you might go to a disco or something but I do not think Matheran has any night life (correct me if I am wrong here).

So we covered all points mentioned in the list above except Louisa point on Saturday. We were very tired and got up at around 8.30 am on Sunday. We decided that we would just visit one last point and spent an hour or two there, have lunch and then leave for Bombay. So Louisa was the last point we visited and it really amazing. Just sitting on a rock, looking at the mountains with the wind blowing across your face gives you some sort of inner peace. All of us just sat there for a long time and admired Nature.

Last edited by Saanil : 21st July 2012 at 11:04.
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