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Old 25th March 2009, 15:14   #1
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Default Matheran

Matheran - A tiny hill station at 800ft. above sea level is a mere 90kms from bustling organized chaos that’s Mumbai.

Matheran-math.jpg


To reach the base station Neral (close to Karjat) you can take a train from either Mumbai or Pune or if you prefer to drive/ride, you can take the old Mumbai Pune highway and turn off at Chowk to reach via Karjat.


Matheran-hrpnbends.jpg


The drive upto Matheran from Neral is full of steep hairpin bends and if you are not confident of driving all the way up, you can park your car/bike in the many private parking lots there and take the mini train all the way up. However if you decide to drive up or take a taxi you can only drive upto ‘Dasturi Naka’ which is about 3kms from the main market area of Matheran. No motorised vehicles are allowed beyond Dasturi Naka where a huge parking lot is maintained by the Matheran Municipal Council for you to leave your rides behind.



Matheran-dasturinaka.jpg


From hereon you have options of riding into town ala Clint Eastwood and John Wayne or maybe ride the handpulled rickshaws or just walk the distance along the railway tracks to reach your preferred destination!



Matheran-ricks.jpg



The walk should not take you more than an hour from Dasturi Naka. The train ride from Neral all the way to Matheran takes about two hours as it crawls along on its way up.



Matheran-train.jpg


We drove up all the way to Dasturi Naka and found a nice parking spot where the car would rest for a couple of days. The drive up was thrilling and we crossed the railway tracks quite a few times. The entrance charges for the car is Rs.25/- and Rs.10/- per day for parking. The Matheran Municipal Council also charges a flat Rs.25/- per head for entering Matheran.
We were besieged by horsemen and rickshaw pullers as we got out of the car and when we said we preferred to walk up, there were porters who wanted to carry our backpacks. Bidding all of them goodbye we started our trek along the tracks to reach our hotel where we had made our booking. Took us about 45mins to reach the hotel which was a mere 10mins walk from Matheran Railway station.


Matheran-matrlwystn.jpg


The main market is around the Matheran railway station and this is the place to do all your shopping for leather goods and Chikki/fudge for which Matheran is famous.
Once in Matheran you again have a couple of options – go for long walks in any direction and you are bound to visit some ‘point’ or the other or refer to the map that is printed on the reverse of your entrance ticket to visit all the 38 points marked therein.
My research revealed that a max of 4points are worth the visit and while visiting them you will visit maybe 20 others by default! So, to begin our point visitation, decided to visit the Sunset point aka Porcupine Point. If you wish, you can take a minor detour and visit 5 other points (refer the map).



Matheran-1monkeyyawn.jpg


At this point we had a great entertainer who kept us entertained till the sun started its spectacular show.



Matheran-sunset.jpg


The sunset spectacle lasted for a bare 10minutes after which it was back to the hotel. Fortunately the path is well lit and of course one just has to follow the crowds to get back.


Matheran-alex.jpg


Next morning, we visited the Alexander point (as it was close by) and then the Rambaug point (also considered to be a fine sunrise point) followed by Chowk Pt. (southernmost), One tree Hill point and then back for a hearty meal at the hotel.


Matheran-1treehill.jpg


The evening was left free for shopping around for the mandatory chikki/fudge and I picked up a leather belt which I think is a bargain (hopefully) – only time will tell.
For those interested in visiting some more points, you can do the Panorama point (northernmost) on your way back, if you have come up by road, as it is close to Dasturi Naka. On the way you can even do the Garbut point.
If you have more time at your disposal you may also wish to visit Charlotte lake. We did not, hence we missed out on it and got back on the tracks to Dasturi Naka, where again you will find guys clamouring for a chance to clean your car – of course for a small fee. The car would be inevitably covered with a layer of red mud and bird droppings so you may wish to hire the services of these fine young lads to drive back home in a clean car!
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Old 25th March 2009, 15:20   #2
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great pics magiceye ,bought back some fond memories.

seeing the monkey pic i remember those jokers the reason behind many scratches on the bonnet of my car when it was parked at the parking area of dasturi naka.

the real bliss of this place is the monsoons
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Old 25th March 2009, 15:46   #3
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Nice pics there! Revived memories like someone said!
Other than the horse dung smell all around it is a nice
place to be in. It is awefully crowded in the weekends
and the hotels are packed to capacity as a result. Folks
from Pune and Mumbai flock there to have a peaceful
weekend. I'll check if I can find some snaps of Matheran
too to post here.
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Old 25th March 2009, 16:22   #4
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A few from my side, 4 years back
Matheran-img016.jpg

Matheran-img018.jpg

Matheran-img019.jpg

Matheran-img034.jpg

Matheran-img035.jpg
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Old 25th March 2009, 16:25   #5
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Aaahh!! And the roads to get there.
Attached Thumbnails
Matheran-img0021.jpg  

Matheran-img003.jpg  

Matheran-img004.jpg  

Matheran-img009.jpg  

Matheran-img011.jpg  

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Old 25th March 2009, 16:26   #6
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Awesome description and pics too...Never knew such place existed that too so close to Mumbai.
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Old 25th March 2009, 16:37   #7
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I bet this place is greener during the monsoons! I liked the pic of your entertainer though!

@Parvez, Those expressway pics bring back memories of my stay in Pune! Thanks!
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Old 25th March 2009, 16:45   #8
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Brilliant pictures. It's been about 8 years since I visited Matheran. I've never taken my car. It's train till Neral and then a hike up to Matheran. Alternately, a taxi from Neral. I'm not comfortable with the idea of leaving the car at Dasturi, which is monkey infested. Wipers, mirrors... ugh!
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Old 25th March 2009, 17:05   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
I bet this place is greener during the monsoons...
Quite right there. Pulsar. Almost all the hill station on the Satpura rage and even Vindhya range for that matter are monsoon spots.

I remember visiting Matheran quite some time back in 1996. I was new to Bombay and some local friends suggested a hill station trip to Matheran. I was kicked about it. We walked from Neral station up to Matheran (if I remember correctly, it is an 8 km walk).

But I was disappointed with Matheran. I didn't find it even close to being a hill station. It was more like a hillock with some extra greenery. I thought Chandigarh offered better views of nature than this place. Maybe it was because I was back from a trip to Dalhousie and Khajjiar at that time. Also, for my local friends there, Lonavla and Khandala were the extremes when it came to hill stations.

But this is a good place to get away from the madding crowd of Bombay
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Old 25th March 2009, 17:41   #10
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The road from the bottom to the top is just astonishing and amazing. It can get you way higher than you wanted to go.
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Old 25th March 2009, 19:20   #11
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It was great seeing the pics and reliving the memories of Matheran whilst I was in college in Mumbai. Matheran was a favourite getaway.

But then I think vehicles were allowed right till the top, I guess times have changed now.
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Old 25th March 2009, 19:50   #12
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Thank you guys for all your kind words.
@deky, yes you can even now go right up but no motorised vehicles are allowed to enter matheran. You have to park outside at a place called dasturi naka.

And yes, there is a lot of denudation that has taken place and rampant construction of hotels without proper infrastructure has messed up the place. I remember when we used to go hiking upto Matheran about 20 to 25 years back. It was so green and beautiful. Sigh!
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Old 25th March 2009, 22:06   #13
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Thanks for sharing. Reminded me of childhood trips in the old premier padmini, brakes screeching and tires smoking up and down the curve , the lunches at lords and horse racing between cousins!

These days one good place to stay in matheran (a wee bit expensive) is the Neemrana property called The Verandah in the forest.
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Old 25th March 2009, 22:23   #14
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Isn't 800 meters a closer estimate of the altitude?!
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Old 25th March 2009, 22:35   #15
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@anup, yes you are right. Slipped up. It should read 800m. I stand corrected but unable edit it in the post. Thank you so much.
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