I was just going through few Instagram posts and came through a beautiful picture of a train and a track surrounded by total greenery. It is nothing but a blissfulness to watch. Just by seeing that one picture, I decided to go there for my very next trip, no matter what. I have a friend to whom I showed this picture and even he is ready to go there. Initially only we both were into this and thought to explore it in really cheap way by travelling through trains, buses and living in hostels and only Matheran was there in the list and the total purpose of the trip is to travel by that toy train. But, later 3 other friends joined the troop and hola, we all set to explore. This is our first time to Maharashtra and thought to explore at least four famous places for our five days trip.
Decision Is Difficult
After a Lot of discussions and debates, estimating the time and distance to travel between those cities, we came to a decision to travel these four cities.
Definitely too underrated as most of the people even didn't listen the name. When coming to beautiful and greenery trip, everyone will prefer Lonavala but half of the people don't even know that Matheran exists at all. Believe me or no, this is the best and alluring places among all the four places we visited.
We reached Mumbai by 8 o clock in the morning, 4 members of us, including me departed from Hyderabad and one of our our friend is coming from Nagpur. Her flight got delayed for about 2 hours and in meanwhile we covered Juhu beach and street shopping :p
After that we picked her and directly started our journey to Matheran.
PS: We booked a 7 seat car for 5 days.
The thing is even our cab driver don't know Matheran properly even though he is a native to Maharashtra. From this one can understand how underrated it is. By asking everyone, we finally reached an entrance which will lead to a place. It's a hill way and the way itself is too gorgeous. Roads are bit dangerous though. We went in the last week of September as it was almost end to monsoons and just a start to Winter. We reached Neral around 5 o clock may be. Few people stopped us by saying that private vehicles are not allowed and there are only 2 options available. It's only either by toy train or by horse. and the only other way is to nothing but to walk. By the time we reached, the last train has left already and there's no other option for us to travel other than the horse. each horse costs 1000 rupees. So we decided to take 3 horses so that we can carry our luggage with us as we need to stay one night there. We really got pissed when they stopped us that there is no entry for private vehicles. But later we realized that this is the best option to do.
The horse takes you through the trail of dense forests located 2625 feet above the sea level. One person manages two horses. There's no way we can fear of those horses as they are very well trained and human friendly. They guide the horse and the horse will take you through different points where you can enjoy the view.
We reached there late so we couldn't explore much as i stared to become dark. So, we stopped at only certain points and even at those points we need to walk for few minutes to reach the destination. It can last up to 30 minutes too. It's better for you to put on good shies as the terrains are too slippery.
Also, get ready to have back pain as riding horse in those uneven roads is not easy. But, remember the golden rule - No Pain, No Gain. All the efforts are worth exploring.
After reaching the main town, everything around is like a dream. We checked into our rooms and came for a walk. You will never feel to leave the place behind and go back to your rooms. Even rooms and hotels are situated in the middle of the houses so that you won't feel like you are staying in a hotel. Fog all around, those orange bulbs and the market chaos, horses around you, those streets, tracks passing by the road, will make Matheran special and the memories can never fade away from your mind. We brought some home made food from local store, enjoyed our late night meal and we are done for the day. We need to wake up early as we need to catch the Toy train at 8 o clock. And yes!!! This is the most exciting part for me.
Morning we got ready by 7.30 and got out of our room. Railway station is just 5-7 minutes walk from our stay and we are enjoying our view with slow pace walking. As soon as we got off from our rooms, all the horses are up and going in group. The sounds made by them, early morning fog, people going for work, and chaos of local people is such a special experience.
We got into the train and got down near Neral. From Neral to Aman lodge, we choosed to walk to our car. The walk is around 30 - 45 minutes and it will be tough if you are carrying luggage. When we went, the track from Neral to Aman Lodge is under construction and we missed the beautiful part.