Matheran “The smallest hill-station of India”
Matheran is a small hill station situated in Sahyadri hills at an altitude of 2600 feet above the sea level. This place is just 100 km away from Mumbai and it is one of the most visited places for a short weekend trip. The literal meaning of Matheran is “overhead forest” and is one of the smallest hill stations in the country. The scenic beauty of the town attracts tourists from all over the world.
An interesting fact about Matheran is that you will not find any automobiles plying around the town. Once you reach the place, you will be transported to a peaceful world free of traffic and chaos and packed with lush greenery and red soiled pathways. The cool and pollution-free breeze will soothe your senses.
Like other hill stations, Matheran is also famous for awesome vistas. There are around 36 viewpoints that offer breathtaking panoramic view of mystical Sahyadri mountain range. Few of the popular viewpoints in and around the town are Panorama Point, Echo Point, Porcupine Point and Alexander Louisa Point. A small trek is involved in order to reach these points; however, the effort is worth the sweeping view of the mountains that you are greeted with at the top. These regions are also known for mesmerizing sunset and sunrise view. You can also visit Charlotte Lake which is situated close to Echo Point. It is a famous picnic and recreational spot where you can spend quality time with your family and friends.
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Places to visit in Matheran
Matheran is filled with interesting places. If you are an adventure enthusiast then you ought to visit Chanderi Caves. Carry out a trek up to these caves to get a thrilling experience. In addition to this, you can also camp here for the night. For those who are interested in archaeology and history, a trek to Prabal Fort should be a part of to-do list while visiting Matheran. Apart from its historical significance, the fort is known for its pleasant ambience and surroundings.
Despite a slow pacing life, there are many adventurous and thrilling activities to partake in while at Matheran. Ziplining through the valley connecting Honeymoon Point and Louisa Point is a must-do activity that will pump up the adrenaline level in your body.
If you want to take a stroll, unwind and spend quality time with your family and friends chit-chatting then you should visit the Paymaster Park situated in the centre of the city. The serene atmosphere, clean environment coupled with lush greenery and variety of flora makes this place a perfect picnic spot.
For those who love shopping, visit the local markets in Matheran. There are many street shops and boutiques that sell fashionable clothes and footwear made of leather. You can also purchase a few handicrafts and souvenirs from the stores around. The region is also famous for Chikki which is a sweet candy made from jaggery and nuts. The restaurants around the town serve the traditional Maharashtrian cuisines such as Pav Bhaji and Vada Pav.
India’s smallest hill station
You will be intrigued to know that Matheran is the smallest hill station in India, situated at an elevation of about 800 m above the sea level. In addition to rich natural heritage, the township has strict regulation to preserve the environment. For this reason, the authority does not allow the usage of any type of automobile in the town. The fresh air and clean environment are refreshing for the visitors and hence, serves as a perfect weekend escapade for the residents of neighbouring cities.
The region is also a popular destination for trekking and camping. The trek to various viewpoints is a memorable experience. It is recommended to explore the places around on foot in order to get the real essence of the serenity and beauty of the hill town.
Toy Train Ride in Matheran
Toy train in Matheran, locally known as ‘Phul Rani’, is the major attraction in the city. It was built during the British rule and is operational to date. The 2 feet narrow gauge track connects Matheran to Neral. The ride on the toy train is an unforgettable experience as the route meanders uphill through dense forest and sharp turns. You just need to sit back and relax while the train passes through various spots offering a spectacular view of hills. The short journey is completed in half an hour.
In order to book the tickets, you need to contact the dealer at Aman Lodge in Dasturi Park. The booking can be made 45 minutes before the journey begins. Seven trains run in a day at a gap of about 1 to 1.5 hours and the first train starts at 9:30. The last train is at 3:30 pm from Aman Lodge. As per your budget, you can make bookings the different coaches. The first-class tickets cost INR 300 for adults and INR180 for kids. Similarly, the second class tickets are priced at INR 45 and INR 30 for adults and children respectively.
Trekking in Matheran
Matheran is known for trek to various viewpoints. The popular trek route in this region is the one the starts from Bhivpuri Village and ends at the Garbett Point. The trek route is easy to navigate and can be carried out by an amateur. However, the trail is long which might be exhausting for most of the trekkers. Do not forget to carry sun protection gear and enough water during the summer season. Furthermore, you might spot snakes during the monsoon season, therefore it is advised to be cautious while trekking.
If you are an adventure and nature lover then you ought to trek in the mystical hills around Matheran. You will be enchanted by the hypnotizing view of the surroundings and the cool weather during the months between May and October makes it an ideal time to visit this place.
Restaurants and Local Food in Matheran
The eateries in Matheran will surprise you with a wide range of cuisines including Maharashtrian, Gujarati, Mughlai, Chinese and Punjabi. Few of the popular delicacies are Kebabs, Vada Paav, Pav Bhaji, etc. You should also try some refreshing drinks like Kokum Sharbat. You are fond of liquor then you can purchase it from stores located in the main town.
Day 1- Start your first day at Matheran by taking a morning walk at the Charlotte Lake. After breakfast, you can head to Pisarnath Temple. Later in the day, you can explore various viewpoints situated in close proximity of the city.
Day 2- Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise from Panorama Point. Make your day an adventurous by indulging in activities such as zip-lining, paragliding, etc.