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Matheran, an ultimate monsoon gateway near Mumbai


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Duration: 1 Day
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Photos of Matheran, an ultimate monsoon gateway near Mumbai 1/16 by Abhishek Soni
DAY 1

Matheran - Asia's only automobile free hill station

Imagine a place where there are no vehicles allowed – not even a bicycle!!You might be thinking how the hell will you commute in the city??What if I say it is the smallest Hill station in India and the best way to experience it, is just by walking and hiking. Would you still be interested in visiting? Sorry for asking so many questions and making you anxious. Let me end the anxiety.

Photos of Matheran, Maharashtra, India 1/1 by Abhishek Soni

Matheran which means “Forest on the forehead” is the smallest hill station in India located in the Sahyadri hill range in Raigad district of Maharashtra State. It is at the height of 803 m above the sea level, and a narrow gauge railway line connects Matheran to Neral.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni

What makes this place stand out from the others is that vehicles are completely banned, making it very peaceful and pollution free. It has been declared an Eco-sensitive zone by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni

How to Reach Matheran

Matheran’s proximity to metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Pune makes it a popular weekend destination.

From Mumbai take a Karjat bound local train and get down at Neral Station. If you are coming from Pune, catch any Mumbai-bound train and get off at Karjat. Now catch a CST-bound local train and get down at Neral.

From Neral, you can reach Matheran by following options:

• From Neral you can catch the famous Matheran Light Railway toy train which takes around 2 hours to reach Matheran. The train is often full, so turn up in good time to ensure you get a ticket. Due to frequent landslides in monsoon season, the toy train services are often terminated. You should travel by this toy train only if you have the patience to sit through the painfully slow journey. But, yes the views in the vicinity are just spectacular.

• Alternatively, just walk by the Neral station and you will find many shared taxis that will drop you at Dasturi Point. Beyond Dasturi Point no vehicles are allowed, and you can walk along the rail line and reach Matheran in about 30 min. The walk is through the jungles full of lush green wood, and you will enjoy every bit of it. You can also opt for a horseback or man-pulled rickshaw ride along a mud track.

Photos of  1/2 by Abhishek Soni
Photos of  2/2 by Abhishek Soni

Entry Fees

There is an “Entry Fee “to enter Matheran, which is to be paid on arrival at the toy train station or at Dasturi point. The cost is 50 rupees per adult, and 20 rupees per child.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni

Getting around Matheran

Being an automobile free Hill station, you need to opt for other options to get around. To enjoy nature to its fullest, walking is the best choice. All the trails have signboards, and the locals are very helpful to let you know the correct way. A stroll amidst clouds floating around you is majestic. If you are feeling a bit lazy, you can always opt for a ride.

Photos of  1/2 by Abhishek Soni
Photos of  2/2 by Abhishek Soni

Just the curiosity to explore the town where vehicles are completely banned was the foremost reason what brought me to Matheran. With an area of 7 Km sq., I chose to explore it one foot at a time. Around the mountains of Matheran, there are close to 33 designated look-out points and 2 to 3 days are required to cover the same.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni


All of them offer breathtaking sunrise and sunset views and in order to avoid the huge crowd, try to be at the less popular ones. So what exactly are these points I am talking about?

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni

These points are gateways to delight you with breathtaking mountain and valley views. The popular ones being Panorama Point, Heart Point, Monkey Point, Echo Point, Porcupine Point, Louisa Point. Other than this I would also recommend you to visit Charlotte Lake, One tree hill, and the main market area.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni

I walked almost the entire day covering around 20 points and believe me it was one of the most exhilarating walks I have ever taken. The view of mountains kissing the clouds and the deep green valley at its foot is just mind-blowing. Oh, I dream about them each and every day.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni

Best time to visit Matheran

The climate at Matheran is cool and pleasant throughout the year due to its geographical location. However, the best time to visit is from October to May but the place is worth a visit any time of the year. It’s beauty only doubles during the monsoon. So you can also consider vacationing during June to September months. But beware of muddy slippery trails.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni

Budget stay in Matheran

If you don’t care about the rooms being slightly small, you can check out Krishna Villa. They charge around INR 250 per person. Due to increase in tourism several locals have turned their houses into tourist cottages. These are very cheap stay options for backpackers but don't expect too much service. You can find these near Pramod Bar.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni


Some useful tips

Take enough cash with you as there are just 1 -2 ATM’s there, mostly out of cash.

Carry a pair of comfortable walking shoes for the dusty trails.

Avoid carrying food articles in your hand or an open handbag. Monkeys there try to snatch and that could hurt you.

Photos of  1/1 by Abhishek Soni


Matheran has something for everyone, from backpackers and nature enthusiasts to lovely-dovey couples looking to spend some romantic and peaceful time. What are you waiting for??The hill station is eagerly waiting for you.

For more cheap trips check out my travel blog On a cheap trip.

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