Matheran is the smallest hill station in Maharashtra and lies not far off from Mumbai. Making it one of the most visited places by the Mumbaikars, all round the year. It’s a popular destination for trekking among the city dwellers during the season of Monsoons. At other times, people head over to this town to relax and its a popular weekend getaway.
HOW TO REACH:
By Road: Most of the people, willing to visit the hill station drive down till Dasturi Naka to enter Matheran. Cars being banned inside, there is ample of parking available at Dasturi Naka.
By train: If travelling from Mumbai, the cheapest way is to take the local train up to Neral station. This station lies between the CST- Karjat route. After getting down at Neral, one can hire a shared taxi from right outside the station for Rupees 80/- as on May 2017. This taxi drops you right outside the entrance, also known by the name of Dasturi Naka.
Or you can get access to the toy train from Neral. Look for timetable here
If travelling from Pune by train, then one needs to hold a Mumbai bound train which halts at Neral. Also, there are several local buses starting from Neral, which takes you to dasturi naka.
If you’re an adventure enthusiast, there are several treks which you can undertake during different seasons, here’s a brief guide:
- One Tree Hill trek [ any season – Duration 1 day – easy trek – any age group]
- Garbett Plateau trek [ rainy season – duration 1 day – easy but lengthy trek – any age group]
- Dodhani trek [ rainy season – Duration 1 day – easy yet lengthy trek – any age group]
*Yet avoid trekking during summer as the weather is extremely hot & humid.
DETAILED MAP OF MATHERAN, ALONG WITH PLACES TO VISIT:
source: By DoubleClick – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Image source
As you can see from the above map, there are several places, rather points where one can head to during the visit. It’s possible to cover Matheran over a weekend either by foot or with the help of horses. Therefore it gets crowded during Sat, Sun & long weekends due to influx of local people from Mumbai & Pune.
Out of all the points, the sunset & sunrise point, echo point, Alexander point, Charlotte lake etc are some of the most visited points in the entire hill station.
So if you’re going there on the weekend make sure to book accommodation in advance. The best place to stay would be around the market i.e. at the center. There are several hotels & home stays options available there.
TRANSPORTATION IN MATHERAN:
Being an Eco-sensitive zone, the only means of transport here are the horses and the manual Rickshaws. Cars & other vehicles are completely banned. Hence, one can either walk down or hire horses/ manual rickshaws to go around here. There is a toy-train which drops people in the matheran market, situated inside the hill station.
The best way is to walk right from the entrance till the market. It’s an easy walk and doesn’t take more than an hour to reach the market. And it’s possible to walk at our own pace. Also, the red sand has covered all the routes of this hill station.
However, if you do not wish to walk, you can hire horses which cost anywhere between Rupees 500-600/- as on May, 2017. Or you can hire manual Rickshaws inside.
MY EXPERIENCE, CAMPING IN MATHERAN:
Camping experience is something that one have to experience at least once in their life. It’s necessary to detox your mind & soul, time-to-time from the fast city life. Also, there are plenty of spots to camp in Matheran.
On my trip to this hill station, I went to camp amidst the hills of Matheran, and joined a group for the same. We camped at the Charlotte lake. However we did visit few points in and around this hill station before setting up our camp near Charlotte Lake.
Camping amidst the hills was absolutely breath-taking. The night did cast its own charm. Although, it wasn’t cold at night, the temperatures suddenly dropped early in the morning, making things all the more memorable.
The reason Matheran is the best is due to several factors. Not only is it near to cities like Mumbai & Pune, but also due to its pollution-free environment. It also is easy on the pocket for several nature lovers. Also, this smallest hill station has several activities (both adventurous & leisure) to keep people of all age occupied throughout their time in Matheran.
Read my other camping experience in Bhandardara
IMPORTANT POINTS :
- Total cost could be anywhere around Rupees 1000 – 1500/- per person for 1 night/2 days
- Be ready to haggle for almost everything.
- There are a lot of monkeys in Matheran, who steal anything & everything that is available to eat. Right from snacks to soft drinks. Be careful.
- Walking in Matheran, means walking on red sand everywhere.
- There are leopards & snakes in this hill station,who come out of their hideouts mostly at night. Be careful if planning to explore Matheran after sunset.
I’m sure that if you’re reading this paragraph means you have gone through everything written above about Matheran. There you are officially an expert of Matheran now. So go out there and explore !!