Just 90 km away from the bustling mayhem of Mumbai — and 2,625 feet higher, lies the charming hill-station of Matheran. Nestled in the greenery of some the world’s oldest mountains, the Western Ghats, Matheran is a small and abundantly beautiful town offering the perfect escape from urbanity into the lap of nature. The forest it calls home is considered an eco-sensitive zone, which has helped establish Matheran as Asia’s only vehicle-free hill station! Just another reason to visit this serene getaway. The foundations of Matheran were set by the British, who saw it as a great summer retreat to have in the region. Colonial origins mixed with the local customs have given the town its unique culture. Witness it today, walking along the old railway track, gazing upon the heritage art deco bungalows, visiting iconic landmarks and viewpoints, observing the ever-present roaming monkeys, taking horseback rides, all under the cool comfort and allure of lush tropical canopies.
No matter the time of the year, Matheran remains a quick and convenient way to escape the city for a bit of outdoor rejuvenation. Here’s everything you need to know about the destination.
|Matheran Tourism: A Quick guide View of Matheran|
|Population||5,139 (As of 2019)|
|Time Zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
On every side and every corner, Matheran is surrounded by spectacular views overlooking mountains, across waterfalls, by a lakeside and through the forests. Most of its famous attractions focus around these picturesque viewpoints — of which there 38 in total! Trekking and hiking around the hill-station is the top activity during ones visit, and the little red soil paths and rocky roads connect them all, often taking you through the thick of the forests. Choose your time wisely to beat the crowds at any of these amazing viewpoints such as —
Matheran’s heritage is a mix of Colonial culture and native Maharashtrian traditions. Both these influences have left a mark on the town, from the Anglicised names and old art deco bungalows that still exist to the customary local snacks being served at every tourist spot. One great experience is to stay at one of these heritage homes that have now been converted into boutique hotels. You’ll find yourself lost in nature, time and the storied walls of a bygone era.
Most hotels offer food and drink on premises, but the town does have plenty of food stalls, shacks and established restaurants at all major attractions and across the marketplace. Most of the food is vegetarian, local or Indian preparations, with a few universal dishes such as french fries. Home style Maggi noodles, momos and corn on the cob are most enjoyed by travellers.
Even tired legs won’t stop you from exploring the wonderful little market street of Matheran. At the heart of town, there’s no missing it. In fact, all the hiking paths will lead you back to it, and most hotels are just off it. So, while you use up most of your time relaxing in nature or adventure activities, horse rides and homely food, it’s worth taking out just that little bit of time to wander around this marketplace and pick up a souvenir or two. The local handicrafts, especially Kolhapuri slippers, are top picks.
Matheran is situated in Karjat, in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, just 90-120 km away from Mumbai and Pune respectively. It sits at a height of approximately 800 metres above sea level, amidst semi-evergreen surrounds that feature every layer of lush forest canopy. Despite being one of the smallest hill-stations in the country, it sees a constant stream of tourists visit throughout the year, for its pristine protected natural heritage, amiable weather and quaint old-world charm.
Travellers can choose the best season to visit Matheran based on their personal weather preferences and the activities specific to the different times of the year. When the summer begins to scorch, the forest cover and cool mountain breeze provides the ideal escape. Monsoons, from June to October, are a tourist favourite, as the hill-station gets enveloped by clouds and the rains liven up the surrounding nature to its refreshing best. While winters can get chilly, it’s the perfect time for a bit of sightseeing for the curious or romance for couples. It all comes down to the kind of visit you wish to make.
Taking the train to Matheran is most convenient, as the Neral Junction Station is right at the foot of the mountains. The junction lies on the main lines of trains running from both Mumbai and Pune, as well as smaller nearby towns.
Matheran’s toy train is an iconic experience found only at a handful of places. It starts from the bottom of the hill and slowly slithers up along the mountainside, on tracks that were set decades ago. It is a much-loved activity for children and adults alike.
Mumbai to Matheran is about 108 km by road, which ends at the parking lot at the entrance of the hill-station. Many opt to come with their own cars, but once you reach this point, no vehicles are allowed, and you will have to switch to local transport.
While you cannot arrive at Matheran on foot the entire way, it is one of the main ways to reach up to the hill-station from the parking and tourist office below. Join other tourists in hiking up to the main market and your hotel of choice. It’s a great way to get a feel for the place.
One of the best ways to reach up to Matheran is riding horseback — a feature activity of the hill-station. It is a major part of tourism, with locals providing horse rides to visitors of every age. For those who don’t wish to hike, riding is quicker, more convenient and memorable.
Back in 1850, when India was under British rule and a man called Hugh Poyntz Malet was the collector of the Thane district, the idea of Matheran was first imagined. The duty then fell onto Lord Elphinstone, then Governor of Bombay, to develop the hill-station into a summer retreat for the British. While well-to-do Indian personalities like Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy contributed to build the Matheran Hill Railway in 1907. Once the colonial rule ended, the locals maintained the town and over the years seen it develop into one of the top visited weekend or short getaway destinations in the Western Ghats. Ever since the region of Matheran was discovered, it has drawn people in — from botanists and scientists to photographers, nature lovers, families and couples. Its abundant natural heritage, unique ecosystem, thriving wildlife including macaques, langurs and deer, as well as heritage, are exquisitely preserved till today.
You can go on Matheran Holidays to enjoy a great vacation. Matheran Travel Packages offer you a chance to visit this scenic hill station on Matheran Tours. When you Travel to this place, you will be welcomed by shaded forests and mesmerizing vistas. This quaint hill station is counted amongst the most gorgeous hill stations of Maharashtra.
You will be amazed by the mind blowing scenery, the verdant landscape, the gentle hills and the green woods on your Trip to Matheran. This Tour is an ideal option if you want to relax and rejuvenate. This is the reason why Matheran Holiday Packages have gained impetus, as people are eager to recharge themselves by visiting this resplendent hill station. You can enjoy an enchanting ride on the toy train that traverse a scenic route.
The most suitable time to visit is October to June. The peak season is from May to June and the periods of Christmas and Diwali draw in a lot of tourists. So book your Matheran Vacation packages to enjoy the warm welcome that Matheran bestows on you.