Matheran is a quaint hill station tucked between the Sahyadri ranges of Western Ghats. Towering at a height of 2600 meters above sea level, Matheran is a much-needed solace from the cacophony of Mumbai. Marred by the blues of the “city that never sleeps”? Need a quick getaway for a day or two? Matheran is the answer to your wishes. Located at a mere 100 kilometers from the commercial hub of the country, Matheran is the picture-perfect weekend getaway. Matheran- literally meaning “overhead forests” is the smallest hill station in the country. However, the scenic splendor of Matheran is one of a kind, and the number of people visiting is a testament to that fact.
Matheran has a time-traveling charm to it in the weirdest sense. Step into the red soils, and you are instantly transported back to a time forgotten. Matheran is one of the very few places in the country that does not allow vehicles. As you tread along this rustic beauty of a town, with the lush greens around, you feel the salubrious effect it has on you. And why wouldn’t you? The symphonic chirpings of pigeons and the harmonious rustling of leaves are nature’s beautiful concert. Here is Matheran’s finest that you need to know before you visit this iconic location.
How to reach Matheran:
Reach Neral by Mumbai Local train or Express train.
From Neral you can get a taxi or van from there it’s 30mins by road.
There is a lovely option for a toy train. Though it’s a little slow it gives you a beautiful view throughout the journey. During monsoon, toy trains may not work, plan accordingly. You can also start your journey from Mumbai directly to Matheran. It has properly developed roads.
There are 38 points to visit in Matheran but it’s not possible to visit all of them in a day. So it’s is suggested that you stay overnight to cover more. There are many places available to stay in Matheran, luxurious to low cost. You can do online booking a day before or just walking and check availability here. Matheran never disappoints you, you’ll get place always.
You don’t have to worry when you walk towards these points, directions on every walkable road have carefully planted. It can be exhausting after you visit 2-3 points, you can always ride on horse for an hour or two.
Here’s the list of few popular points you must visit during your Matheran trip:
1. Monkey Point
If there is something in abundance that this stunning hill station possesses, it is the enchanting views and amazing locations to view them. The Monkey Point is one such popular viewpoint. Stand at the monkey point and stare at the horizon and beyond. The palatial mountains and deep gorges will leave you spellbound. Wondering how the spot got its name? Well, you might have probably guessed it by now. A monkey point is a place where you can spot gangs of monkeys and boys they are a great company. You would hold your breath as the monkey play close to the edges of the terrain. They easily climb to the underside of rocks, least bothered about the towering fall that could kill them. It is a view that is uniquely exhilarating.
There are attractive views that your gaze can take you at this stunning spot. The mesmerizing sunsets with complete orange vibrance and plunging falls are all part of the captivating experience. Stand at the monkey point and shout out to the skies, the echoes will give chills down your spine. Hide your food and hold on to your things a little tight, monkeys like to snatch things. Sometimes, they might mimic you, the rare experience you can hold on to.
2. Echo Point
Another popular viewpoint in the area is the echo point. Well as the name suggests, the place is famous for its hair raising echoes and reverberations that it generates. The fluffy white blanket above and nature’s lush green carpet below, echo point is the place to absorb the true virgin beauty of nature. Serenity engulfs you from all sides and the utmost calmness that you feel is something any Mumbaikar would crave for. Echo point is also a foodie’s delight with several stalls serving Maharashtra’s best. A morning or evening visit is ideal, but the visit during rains is pure magnificence. Well, the roads are slippery, just be careful.
Echo point is a photographer’s paradise without a doubt. The Sahyadri ranges with its complete glory are visible from the echo point. The view is one that should be etched in memory and frames. Apart from echo point, Louisa’s point and porcupine point are places that offer bird’s eye view to this mesmerizing hill station.
3. Panorama Point
Panorama’s point is a photographer’s paradise. what’s more? The crowds are very less and you get that quality time that you can retreat to yourself with a spellbinding view in the background. Reaching panorama point is however a mission. But then again the best things in never come easy do they. One can even have a horse ride to reach the point. However, the last 2 kilometers does require trekking due to the steep trails. One can also use a toy train to reach a panorama point. The beautiful treks, the photography feast, and a chance to just stop and breathe for a moment…Panorama point’s charms are just about endless. Oh, Panorama point in the monsoons with its verdant greenery is just beyond words.
4. Honeymoon Point
Honeymoon Point is very tranquil and offers a captivating view of Matheran’s palatial mountains. From here, one can see Prabal Fort, various valleys accommodating civilizations and the vast beautiful sky that changes colors at dusk. The view of mountains from Honeymoon Point is such that you would call them ‘Indian Grand Canyon’. Wondering why it’s called honeymoon point?
Well, for one, visit honeymoon point and you feel the love in the air. You feel like there’s no place as romantic as honeymoon point in the world. A quiet moment with your love right here with no one to interrupt may just be the best moments you might have on a Matheran trip. Also, the beautiful sunsets in the background and your lover by your side is not something easy to pass upon. But most of all, that alluring and soothing silence that you just crave, especially if you are a Mumbaikar just draws people to this amazing spot.
5. Charlotte Lake
Matheran boasts of a fine number of vantage points to truly absorb its beauty. That being said, the quintessential aspect of Matheran is the Charlotte lake. Just a walking distance away from the main market area, this lake is the main source of drinking water Matheran. The origin of the lake is a dam, which overflows when it rains and forms a pristine little waterfall to form the shimmering lake in monsoon. A visit to Matheran without a visit to this tranquil beauty is just incomplete. The crystal clear blue waters that set a soothing ambiance is something beyond words. It doesn’t end there. Charlotte lake holds a certain sanctitude..almost a place of reverence for the locals here.
The lake has an archaic temple of Lord Shive – Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir and for the explorers and nature lovers at heart, all Charlotte has to offer is the charming ambiance of the tarn itself and the bountiful emerald green all around. And birdwatchers, brace yourself, Charlotte lake will not disappoint you. Also, charlotte place is an ideal place for camping, picnicking and most of all simply lazing down and watching the sunset. While the lake looks it full guts and glory at the monsoons, the rains make it impossible for camping and bird watching. So, the ideal time to visit is just immediately after the monsoon, during October-November.
6. The Other Side of Matheran
Despite being a tiny, laid-back hill station, Matheran offers some of the most adrenaline-pumping activities for those who are up for it. The zipline valley crossing between Louisa Point and Honeymoon Point is a very famous attraction for adventure enthusiasts, and you should try it once if you have the heart for it, because it is an extremely thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experience. The valley crossing at 2000 ft will put your heart at your mouth. Trust me, you’ll scream at the top of your lungs as you reach the middle. It is an experience worth having if you ever make it to a beautiful spot. Apart from this, Matheran’s shopping center provides a taste of the true essence of the area.
The small boutiques and local shops, where you can buy locally produced goods such as leather items, footwear, and other simple handicraft items is a paradise for collectors. and for buying souvenirs. A very sought after locally produced Matheran item is Chikki, which is a confection comprising jaggery and cashew nut. Chikki sellers also sell, fudge. Chocolate fudge is my personal favorite. The local cuisine of Matheran includes traditional Maharashtrian fare like vada pav and pav bhaji, Konkani misal pav, and of course, the very popular chikki. It would be almost a crime not to taste it after making the trip. There are plenty of shops selling the various variants of this cuisine and I suggest you embrace the soul of the place and give everything a try.
7. Trekking at Matheran
Matheran also provides a great trekking experience. The trek starts from Bhivpuri station and ends at Garnett Plateau or Garbett point. It’s a very easy one day trek. Sure, the blazing sun and the long route may pose some obstacles, however, apart from this, it’s a very easy trek. Trekking during the monsoons, however, is a heavenly experience. The drizzles trickling down your face and the cool gentle breeze brushing your hair is just an enthralling feeling. There’s also trek to One Tree Hill Point which is a moderate level one day trek. It starts from Dasturi Naka following the trail from Ambewadi to One tree hill point. This route is known as the Shivaji Ladder route. This trek is rare.
Matheran takes about only a couple of days to explore completely and at visit during monsoons will give you the best experience. What are you waiting for? Matheran is calling.
You can also explore Lonavala if the monsoon is on their way and hill station is your calling