India is a treasure hunt game for all the travel explorers. And when we talk in that context, Maharashtra has a very long list of options to offer a tourist. Mumbai has always been one of our favorite weekend getaway for us, rather for most of the people in Gujarat and Maharashtra. This time we reached Mumbai to lead to the smallest Hill Station in India – Matheran. Preferable time to justify the beauty of Matheran is three days but a trip of a weekend can also be sufficient enough for a wonderful rejuvenation.
In Matheran, you can expect the rain to be playing with you at any moment of time. You can never be sure of the climate in Matheran. The sky seems to be clear in the morning and then suddenly an hour later you can have a nice rainfall. Winters in the morning and Rainy season in the day time, these are the normal weather fluctuations experienced in Matheran.
Matheran is also famous for the beautiful surprise – A Toy train. The only difference with this Toy train is that it is not meant only for the children as its name suggests. The 111 year old Toy train has always managed to be a major tourist attraction on its route from Neral to Matheran. Neral Station is the last stop from Mumbai. There are two ways to reach to Matheran from Neral Station. Either you can take a wonderful Toy train Ride to take you to Matheran from Neral which is a two and a half hour train’s journey or hire a cab which is a 20 minutes road trip. The Cab will drop you to the Dasturi point which is the last point for any vehicle to be parked. But, the Toy train journey is far more worth than the 20 minutes road trip.
There are 38 points to be visited in Matheran including all the small points. The local guides there take you to the various spots. You can either choose a horse ride to the various spots or you can choose to sit in the man-pulled carts to the various spots. It merely depends on your interest to decide the mode of transportation. There is an additional benefit provided by the man-pulled carts, they cover your cart by the waterproof covers that prevent you from getting wet on your way to your tourist spot.
The horsemen and the cart men will provide you with three to four options of packages depending on your location. They provide options to cover five points, seven points and twelve points. But each package includes the smaller points which can be skipped if you are on a weekend trip. Otherwise your time will be over and you won’t be able to visit the other side of Matheran. This is because the major points lie on the most opposite corners to each other like Panorama Point, Garbut Point and Louisa Point. You will have to choose different packages to cover all the three major attractions. You can cover many small points near you by merely walking to the points, as the distance between many small points is almost negligible.
One of the most popular tourist point in Matheran. Also popularly known as a “Photographer’s Paradise”. The place provides a spectacular view of the city. This point is one of the best picturesque Points in Matheran. Other picturesque Points of Matheran like Panorama Point and Garbut Point are not as easily accessible as this Point and hence it remains the most populated. Hence you need to be patient enough to your wonderful shots. The Point from different areas provides a wonderful in depth view of the Valley with so many waterfalls and the Charlotte Lake. The ancient Vishalghad Fort and the Prabal Fort with their remains can also be seen from this point. Of course you need to have a clear sky to witness so many attractions there as you know the climate there is so fluctuating. This is a must to be visited point if you happen to be in Matheran. Another Attraction for this Point is the Lion’s Head which is visible from the Louisa Point.
Panorama Point according to its name, provides a 360 degree panoramic view of the Western Ghats, the town of Neral and the complete valley. This is one of the major attractions in Matheran but is not as reachable as the Louisa Point. This is because the Panorama Point is at one of the extreme ends of Matheran and a little bit of trekking is also required to reach there. For the adventure lovers like us, this is a must to be visited. There are a few more points for the adventure lovers. This point is also popular as the “Sunrise Point”. This Point provides mesmerizing Sunrise and Sunset views. Reaching there on proper time is a goal achieving task but is really worth all the efforts taken. You can also get a view of the Toy train if you are lucky enough to reach there on same time.
The water from the Charlotte Lake is the primary source of fresh drinking water for the people in Matheran. The main point of attraction here is the waterfall created by the overflowing water from the Dam of the Lake in the rainy season.
A small point, which comes on the way to the bigger points. There are two stories behind this point getting this name. The first story according to the locals is that a British Officer had chosen this place as his honeymoon destination and so the name followed. Whereas, the second theory behind this name is the specialty of this place. The place has many honeycombs in the lower part of the valley and the local Parsis collect honey from this point.
A small point very close to the Honeymoon Hill. As the name suggest, this point provides echoes to your voice. Nice place to experience echoes, but you need to shout along with a group of people to get proper outcome. Obviously, this experience wasn’t as wonderful as the one we got in the Polo Forest. The Echo Point also provides a nice view of the Valley along with a few waterfalls. During peak seasons you will also get to enjoy the sports activities like zip lining and rope climbing here. Due to these activities, the place also has some food stalls for refreshment.
Next comes the Edward Point at a walking distance from the Echo Point. A small point providing the view of the valley for the Echo Point and the Honeymoon Hill. It also provides the side view of the Charlotte Lake and a few waterfalls. There is not much to be explored at this place so you can easily skip this Point if at all you are in short of time.
The very next point is the King George Point. With a little difference from the Echo Point, this point provides a nice view of the valley including the beautiful waterfalls created from the Charlotte Lake.
Best time to visit : Any time of the year but preferably just after the Rainy season
Transportation : By walking, by Horse Ride or by Man-pulled Carts
Photography : Allowed
Food Availability : Almost all types of Indian cuisines are easily available.