Monday, April 28, 2014

Unspoiled Getaway - Matheran

U of the A to Z Challenge

The sweltering heat of Mumbai in late April, an anniversary gone by in the hectic work week that was, a required stress buster, all made us want to go away to somewhere cool, somewhere unpolluted, somewhere natural and somewhere near.

Not far from the bustle of Mumbai, we zeroed on a hillstation that we had never been to together.  The hill station of Matheran is a 2 hour drive from Mumbai and a delightful get away.  The government of India has made this cosy hill station into a protected sanctuary where vehicles are not allowed…which means air that is as fresh as it can get without the fumes that vehicles bring about. I was quite surprised to see such a lush green cover in this heat and it was quite pleasant even in the hot summer month of April.  I never realized how refreshing unpolluted air can be.  Even though it was hot when we reached, and we were tired with our baby SSS and the 40 minute walk uphill, we were instantly recharged after we dumped our luggage in the hotel and stepped out in a few minutes.

What to see- There are several picturesque points in Matheran that offer spectacular views of the valley and the hills. The popular ‘points’ are marked on the map below. Sunset Point, Porcupine point, Monkey point, Panaroma Point, and Heart point are some of the popular points to visit although I prefer to visit the quieter places that are along the way but less noisy and cleaner. The toy train was remarkable of course climbing that steep incline.  Waterfalls can also been seen near the Charlotte lake, but since it was summer when I visited, there were no waterfalls to be seen.  It is a nice place for adults looking for some greenery and a respite from the heat. It is a fun place for kids with monkeys, horses, sheep and various animals to be seen, a fun market to head out to. My baby girl was absolutely fascinated with all the monkeys monkeying around and laughed her heart out at their antics!

A common sight in Matheran is that of horses and monkeys.  With no vehicles allowed, the transport of the yore..the horses are used in this hill station.  One can see horses almost everywhere. I was told there are about 400 horses that are used in this scenic hillstation to ferry people, building material, food and almost everything!

There are two ways to get to Matheran.  By road and by train.  By road, which we took, there are two routes that lead there from Mumbai– one through Badlapur onwards to Matheran, and the other via Panvel that we took.  A two hour drive leads you to the foothills of Matheran where you are supposed to park your vehicle in the parking lot. A bevy of porters, horse owners and handcart rickshaw pullers will besiege you and tell you various options to go up.  You can trudge upwards on a 40 minute walk on foot or on horse or on a hand drawn cart.  You can also hire porters if you want your luggage carried. The second option is to take the train to Neral station (Central Railway local train) and then take the toy train that winds its way up through a scenic hill offering fantastic views of the hillside right upto the station of Matheran.

Notes: All prices for horse, porters, hand drawn carts and even hotels are negotiable.  They typically ask for Rs 450 per person for anything. But you can negotiate to bring this price down to 250-300 per person.

There are hotel options for all budgets offering varying facilities and locations.  You can even reach on the spot and find a suitable hotel.

All in all, I loved the place and I will be back there soon!

Some pictures from my trip -

Here comes the toy train

The Toy Train

Of hills and valleys

Of trees, hills and valleys


  1. A good post.
    Pleasantly surprised to know that Matheran is still kept natural and unpolutted and an affordable option to beat the heat

  2. Unspoilt - you must be kidding. Its vastly over populated and the place reeks of horse shit everywhere

  3. I plan to go there in July..Thanks for the info!!

  4. Matheran is such a romantic and engrossing getaway. I have fond memories of the place, not to speak of the train trip. Those are precious tips you have shared here —I wish I had access to all this before I hit the place. I had a terrible experience with the food there.

  5. Nice post. Matheran is best destination to get relaxed from daily routine. Before planning to visit matheran check map of matheran then plan your matheran trip. For all details of matheran visit

  6. It was truly worth reading your blog post. Its such a lovely and adventurous place. Untouched, unspoiled and unbelievably tranquil, this popular tourist hill-station in Maharashtra is a great getaway destination. Just 2 hrs from Mumbai, it is one of the most unpolluted cities in the region, especially since no vehicles are allowed inside its limits. Check out Matheran hotels for offering all the basic facilities to travellers.