Me and My friends wanted to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle. This one day journey was planned on the very same day at 1 am midnight. The plan was to leave the homes in the morning, go to Neral, have lunch and come back. (The plan was to drive to Neral, nothing else. We had no clue what are going to do after reaching Neral, where we are going to eat food, nothing was planned).
We started our journey at 9.15 am from Cadbury junction, thane. It was raining and the climate was cool. With the help of our dear friend the “Google Navigator” we were driving towards our destination. Some chit chatting, a little office gossip here and there and the music accompanied us in our journey. The smokers took halts by giving an excuse of how rain forces them to smoke more than usual!
The team of four reaches Neral and then thinks why not Matheran! It was only 8 km from the base. We all agreed to one opinion and started to move towards Matheran. As the ghaat began, the entire surrounding was so picturesque! We could not see anything situated in deep valleys. The valleys were filled with the fog and clouds have landed themselves on the mountain atop. It was not raining when we started climbing the ghaat, but as we reached towards the top it started raining. Climbing ghaat and crossing its steep and curvy turns without bringing the car back was quiet a task for the drivers.
Finally, we reached the Dasturi naka, Matheran. Matheran is an eco-sensitive zone, declared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. It is few places in the world where the vehicles are not allowed. The unorganized parking place was full with vehicles. The view of so many parked vehicles gave us a hint that it’s not going to be calm and quiet. Finally, we got a place to park the car.
We started walking towards the Matheran market from Dasturi naka. One has to pay INR 50 as an entry fee. The distance from Dasturi naka to Matheran market is 3 km. Hence, there are options of taking a horse ride, or a trolley sort of car pulled by men or else a long walk. We chose the last option of walking, There were two routes - one was a by road and another was by following the tracks of toy train. Ideal for pedestrians there is just one road, but since the toy trains is not functional in monsoon even that one is considered as one of the routes by clever tourists.
A local boy told us that the track route is the shortest, hence we took that route. It was not a very wise decision though. There were too many people taking the same route. As we started walking, the deep valley wearing fog gave the company. The valley is so deep that one with acrophobia shall think twice before moving forward to look into it. The intensity of the rainfall was increasing as were reaching the height.
The all time hungry monkeys of Matheran had a sharp vision on the eatable in people’s hands. People did not know that they are offering food to the monkeys willingly or unwillingly, the moment they take out the eatables.
We walked for an hour and reached the market. By the time we reached we started looking out for a restaurant. The menu of soup and kebabs was fixed in my mind. We had lunch at Khan’s restaurant. The food was below average. I guess we ate it because it was hot, it was raining outside and we were hungry.
How a rainy one day trip will complete without an ice-cream, hence, we marched toward an ice-cream shop. Eating ice cream in the rain is another undefined fun. We skipped all the points of Matheran rather they were never on the list. The only thing on the list was “food”. Hence, after food, we started walking back toward the Dasturi naka. This time we took the correct route meant by pedestrians and horses. We reached near the parking after an hour, took the car and started our journey back to our homes.
I plan to do more such trips on weekends to refresh myself before a new week begins!