Matheran is a Hill Station and a municipal council in the Raigad district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a hill station in 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. It is located around 90 km from Mumbai, and 120 km from Pune. 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 and Forest, Government of India. It is Asia's only automobile-free hill station.
There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the Panorama Point that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and also the Neral town. 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 One Tree Hill Point, Heart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambagh Point, and more. To stay there, there are plenty of hotels.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.
Matheran in 1911 was discovered 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. Matheran is birth place of famous freedom fighter Veer Bhai Kotwal. He was born on 1 December 1912 in a barber family. State Govt. has built a monument in his memory. The Matheran Hill Railway was built in 1907 by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy and covers a distance of 20 km (12 mi), over large swathes of forest territory. The Matheran hill railway, also known as Matheran Light Railway (MLR), was inspected by UNESCOworld heritage site officials but failed to make it to the list as a World Heritage Site. India's other Hill Railways like the Darjeeling Railway, the Kangra Valley Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway are already on the list.
Forest and wildlife
Matheran has been declared an ecosensitive region by the Union Environment Ministry and can be called a Health Sanatorium in itself. A good collection of the dried plants is deposited in Blatter Herbarium, St. Xavier's College, Bombay, Mumbai.The only form of automobile allowed in Matheran is an ambulance operated by the Municipality. No private automobiles are allowed. Within Matheran transport facilities available are horses and hand-pulled rickshaws. Matheran has a huge number of medicinal plants and herbs. The town also has a large monkey population, including Bonnet Macaques and Hanuman Langurs. The nearby Lake Charlotte is the main source of Matheran's drinking water. Inside the forest animals likeLeopard, Barking deer, Malabar giant squirrel, Fox, wild boar, mongoose are found.
As of 2001 India census, Matheran had a population of 5139. Males constitute 58% of the population and females 42%. Matheran has an average literacy rate of 71%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 66%. In Matheran, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.Languages spoken include Marathi, Hindi and English.
Matheran is located at 18.98°N 73.27°E. It has an average elevation of 800 metres (2224 feet).Matheran lies in an elevated region, enjoys a cooler and less humid climate which makes it popular during the summer months. Temperatures range from 32 °C (90 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F).
Matheran is well connected to Mumbai (100 km) & Pune (120 km) by rail and road, while Neral is the nearest rail station. The nearest airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai that is located around 100 km away from Matheran. Matheran has a narrow gauge railway station in the town center. The old Matheran Hill Railway offers several daily trains to Neral. The toy train connected to the mainline rail route at Neral Junction. Neral Junction is well connected by local trains from CST along the CST-Karjat route. The train covers a distance of 12 miles in an hour thereby allowing the passengers ample time to soak in the beauty of the surroundings. Any Pune bound train from CST(Mumbai) reaches Neral in approximately two hours.to get there you have to take train from Mumbai to Neral junction;from Neral to Matheran by narrow gauge trains that depart at 8.40am, 11.00am, 5.00pm. Trekkers prefer to travel by State transport bus from Panvel to Dodhani ( 15km). From Dodhani it ia an hours trek to the sun set point of Matheran. This trek is very safe and easy to walk. Many trekkers prefer it during monsoon.This path passes through forest area, with lots of streams and lush green trees.
Places of interest
There are altogether 28 points, 2 lakes, 2 parks, 4 major worship places and a racecourse to visit inside Matheran. It takes about 2–3 days on your feet for a complete adventure. Important points are Alexander Pt., Rambag Pt, Little Chowk Pt, Big Chowk Pt, One Tree Hill Pt, Belvedere Pt, Olympia Race Course, Lords Pt, Charlotte Lake, Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir, Celia Pt (a water fall mouth), Echo Pt., Porcupine Pt (Sun Set Pt), Panorama Point (Sun Rise Pt), Khandala Pt, Madhavji Garden & Point, Matheran Railway Station, Louisa Point, Mayra Point, Pisarnath Temple, Matheran Shiv Mandir. View points like monkey and echo, steep cliffs, deep ravines; and squirrel & There are many picnic spots.