Matheran is a quaint hill station that is far removed from the ways of city life. Brilliant monsoon drenched mountains, brimming lakes, stunning views and sunsets makes for a relaxing break from the pollution and noise of the city. Matheran is an ideal weekend getaway for those in Mumbai and Pune city.
So before you get to know more about the places to see in and around Matheran, take a look at how you can reach this eco-friendly zone. Matheran, a great monsoon destination near Mumbai and Pune is one of the few places in India with stringent eco-preservation rules in place. Motorised vehicles are not allowed in Matheran, not unless it is an ambulance! So if you plan to reach Matheran by car, you will need to park it 3 km away at Dasturi Naka. After this is where the amazing horse ride experience starts. Many horses along with their trainers are available to help you get up the muddy paths of Matheran, making the trip here unforgettable!
However, if you plan to take public transport, then travelling by the Toy Train from Neral to Matheran is highly recommended. The Toy Train takes you on a journey across 28 thrilling zig-zag turns across the ghats. This unique experience provided by Matheran is another reason why the hill station is recommended as a weekend monsoon getaway. The train constructed in 1907 has to its credit UNESCO's tag as a World Heritage Site. Matheran is situated 110 km from Mumbai on the Mumbai-Pune route. You can first take a train from Mumbai or Pune to Neral and proceed from here by the Toy Train.
Be it a road journey or the Toy Train ride, you will traverse lush landscapes that look brand new after the rains! After the exhilarating drive and horse journey you finally reach Matheran, where you can step out to enjoy many lakes such as the Charlotte Lake, viewpoints such as Alexander Point and temples such as the Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir. With plenty options for stay, you can even simply relax and breath in the unpolluted air.
The thick forests ensconcing this crown of the Sahyadri is an interesting mixture of evergreen and deciduous cover. A lot of the vegetation here have important medicinal benefits. Fruits such as blackberries and jackfruit are also available widely.
The rich flora is accompanied by an interesting mix of birds and animals. Wildlife enthusiasts can take guided trips to spot bird species such as Bulbul, Cuckoo, Robinson, Spotted Dove, Parrot, Honey Suckle and Shikra. Amusingly the crow is the least spotted bird here! Among animals, the most prominent are the expressive monkeys. Of course, the other most commonly sighted animal is the horse, used for transportation in Matheran. The town has close to 500 horses!
Matheran meaning 'Forest on the Top' is definitely a weekend getaway option to be explored in Maharashtra.
How To Reach Matheran
By Road: If you are driving from Pune, you can take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The drive spanning 126 km will take you around 2.5 hours. If you are driving from Mumbai, then you can opt for the Sion-Panvel Expressway. Travel distance is 83.1 km and a 2 hour drive. Private buses and taxis are also available.
By Rail: There are many trains from both Mumbai and Pune to Neral railway station from where you should try the Toy Train experience to Matheran. Reservations are tight in the months between June to September owing to the reduced trips of the train.
By Air: Nearest airport is Mumbai (83 km), from here you can proceed by road or rail.