Matheran: A Quaint Hill Station Of Maharashtra

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Matheran, Maharashtra’s widespread weekend getaway, lies on the western ghats at a peak of 800m from sea degree. Situated at a distance of 90km from Mumbai and 120km from Pune, this little quaint city gives a breath of recent air, clear blue sky, and luxurious inexperienced vegetation. Being Asia’s solely car free hill station, Matheran instantly takes you again to a less complicated time of horses and clay carts.

Historical past of Matheran

Matheran means “forest of the brow”. The earliest point out of this city was within the 15th century CE. The Prabalgad Fort, beforehand generally known as Muranjan fort, was constructed by the Bahamani Sultanate to keep watch over the North Konkan provinces. When the Sultanate collapsed, the fort went into the palms of the Mughals. In 1657, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj conquered this fort and the encompassing space. At the moment, the hill station was inhabited by the Dhangar tribe.

Chatrapati Shivaji Highway

Later in 1850, it was rediscovered by Hugh Malet, the district collector of Raigad. Lord Elphinstone laid its new basis. In 1907, Sir Adamjee Peerboy developed the meter-gauge railway line, connecting Matheran to Neral.

Finest time to go to Matheran

One of the best time to go to Matheran is from November to Might. In the course of the monsoon, it turns into very tough to maneuver round because of the presence of leeches. In case you are visiting throughout these months, put on totally lined garments.

Most individuals like to go to the hill station through the weekends. Though for my part, weekdays are higher to discover the city. As a result of heavy vacationer inflow, the city turns into crowded and you wouldn’t have the ability to see the hill station for its tranquillity. Furthermore, the hustle and bustle of the automobiles result in lots of visitors at Dasturi Naka (the parking space) and the Ghats. Generally the visitors within the ghats is so unhealthy that it takes hours simply to climb it.

attain this Matheran

I took a taxi from Mumbai. I might advocate leaving early within the morning round 6 am. Roads of Mumbai get jam-packed very early. As soon as out of the town, take the highway from Karjat to Neral. At Neral you will have the choice of dropping off your cab and hiring an Omni automotive or hiring a driver in your automotive. The rationale that is carried out is that the highway uphill could be very steep, inclined at about 70 levels. Solely skilled drivers have the knack to drive the automotive all the way in which as much as Dasturi Naka.

Toy Practice

In case you are focused on boarding the toy prepare, you possibly can ask for the schedule out of your resort. The prepare strikes two and fro from Matheran to Neral fairly incessantly. It’s a 30-minute journey and the tickets will not be accessible on-line. You’ll have to wait in line, on the ticket counter earlier than the prepare departs.

Matheran Hill Railways Toy Train
Matheran Hill Railways Toy Practice. Picture courtesy Shutterstock

At Dasturi level, you possibly can park your automotive. It’s possible you’ll stretch your legs and refresh your self earlier than you embark in your journey to Matheran. This parking zone is notorious for monkeys snatching your luggage and belongings. Therefore, don’t go away any baggage unsupervised and carry meals and water in a bag. I used to be profitable in shooing away the monkeys once they tried to grab my bag, however I ought to have been extra cautious.

Map of Matheran
Map of the hill station

From Dasturi Naka, you’ll have to stroll for 400m to Aman Lodge. You may cease for a cup of tea at MTDC. Aman Lodge is without doubt one of the railway stations the toy prepare embarks from Matheran to Neral. From right here you possibly can both rent a horse, a hand-pulled cart, or experience the toy prepare. The toy prepare takes about 15 min to achieve Matheran Station. Since tickets weren’t accessible on the day I used to be touring, I made a decision to rent a Horse. There are two completely different price playing cards for the horse and the hand-pulled cart. The distributors will present you the cardboard and cost you accordingly. This value card can be accessible in most resorts and lodges.

Trek

In case you are focused on trekking to Matheran, you possibly can both backpack or rent a porter. The trek takes wherever from 45min to an hour. The highway isn’t very steep. It’s somewhat a delicate uphill climb. The one drawback is that the highway isn’t concrete. In some locations, it’s paved and in others, there are solely crimson laterite stones. So be sure to deliver good trekking footwear as you’ll be strolling over rocks and at instances horse droppings.  The thick tree cowl and the cool air makes the in any other case tiresome stroll rejuvenating.

Locations to remain

The hill station has loads of choices for a superb keep. Relying in your finances and the length of your journey, you possibly can select accordingly. The benefit of visiting Matheran is that the majority resorts and lodges are at an reasonably priced vary. A few of the locations provide a package deal inclusive of all meals.

Whereas reserving your keep, do test the space of your resort to the town heart. The resort I stayed in was very distant from the market space. Though the stroll in direction of it was lovely, it was cumbersome to stroll to this point each time.

Locations to see in Matheran

There are many locations to go to in and round Matheran. Broadly, there are 3 main paths. The primary one begins from Alexander level within the south, goes by Rambaug level, one tree hill, Olympia racecourse, and eventually concludes at Belvedere level. The second path begins from Lord’s level within the west and culminates at Louisa level. The final path is the longest one. It begins from Malang level within the West and goes until Porcupine level within the north. In case you are an intermediate-level trekker, you possibly can embark on the trek to Panorama level.

There are round 38 viewpoints in Matheran, which embrace the Panorama Level, Louisa Level, One Tree Hill Level, Coronary heart Level, Monkey Level, Porcupine Level, and Rambagh Level. These look-out factors are unfold all through the area. Though horses are simply accessible, I might recommend exploring the land on foot. There are refreshments accessible at each level. These distributors settle for solely money resulting from poor community points. Please get a replica of the map to go to the factors.

Matheran Railway Station

In relation to locations to go to, the Matheran Railway Station is a well-liked vacationer website. Located in the primary market, the station is quaint and has an old-world attraction. There are solely two prepare tracks of meter gauge current. In case you are focused on trains, you possibly can go to the prepare’s locomotive as effectively. In the course of the devastating floods of 2005, the tracks have been badly broken. After fixed restore and renovation, the prepare was reopened in 2007. In contrast to the toy trains of Shimla, Darjeeling, and Ooty, the prepare right here wasn’t capable of change into a UNESCO world heritage website.

Market Avenue

Across the station, lies the guts of the city, it’s Market Avenue. While you stroll by this space, you will notice loads of outlets, recreation stalls, eating places, cafes, and lodges. Most vacationers want to stay in and round Market Avenue because it offers them entry to benefit from the nightlife.  Each day, from 6 to 11 pm, the outlets within the Market open up and welcome you to the buzzing spirit of this sleepy city.

Matheran Market Street
Market avenue

In the course of the weekdays, not all outlets open up. This is because of the truth that a lot of the vacationers want to go to the hill station on the weekends. Even when your go to is through the week, you possibly can nonetheless take pleasure in looking for distinctive souvenirs and indulging in native delicacies as I did.

A memento that’s solely accessible in Matheran is a tiny shoe that may be caught on the wall. Made out of leftover leather-based, these small finger-length footwear are very colourful and cute. You may also discover good-quality leather-based footwear and braided belts at a really cheap price. Since I’ve a candy tooth, I made a decision to purchase a field of chocolate fudge and flavored Chikkis (peanut brittle). There are many outlets promoting chikkis, fudges, jujubes and anjeer (fig) rolls.

Charlotte Lake

I’ve seen picturesque areas on the again of postcards and have all the time questioned if such locations exist in actuality. Charlotte Lake is one such place. Not one of the images does justice to the sheer great thing about the clear water, blue sky, and inexperienced cover surrounding it.

Landscape view of Charlotte lake
Panorama view of Charlotte lake

Since this lake is the first supply of recent ingesting water for the native inhabitants, swimming in it’s forbidden. The origin of Charlotte Lake is a dam, which overflows when it rains. The winding highway in direction of this lake is on a forest path surrounded by dense inexperienced vegetation.

Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir

Just a little additional away from the lake is the traditional Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir. It’s the presiding deity of Matheran and the lingam within the temple is Swayambhu or self-manifested. In contrast to different temples, the Shivalinga is smeared with vermillion.

Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir in Matheran
Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir

It’s mentioned that this temple has existed since time immemorial. Though within the neighborhood of vacationer spots, as I entered this temple, I skilled full stillness. It was as if the world stopped spinning momentarily.

Pisharnath Mahadev
Pisharnath Mahadev

Olympia Race Course

Probably the most widespread locations within the hill station is the Olympia Race-course. It’s a heritage construction that conducts horse races even at this time. After I visited in late February, there have been a number of races going down right here. Since my journey was brief, I used to be unable to go to.

Holy cross Church

Holy Cross Church, Matheran
Holy Cross Church

When Matheran was found by the British, the Holy cross Church was in-built 1853. It was later renovated in 1906. Until 1947 the church had a resident priest. After that, it grew to become served by the Monks of Our Woman of Glory Church, Byculla, Mumbai.

Treks in Matheran

In case you are an intermediate to superior degree trekker, you possibly can trek in direction of Prabalgad and Vikatgad. Each of those forts held lots of significance through the reign of the Marathas.

Prabalgad Fort Landscape view
Prabalgad Fort Panorama view

Whereas Prabalgad was used for strategic navy operations, Vikatgad was used to retailer grains. The guides right here will enable you attain the respective forts and produce you again. There are just a few Adivasi villages on the base of the hill station. Some individuals like to go to these villages, be taught in regards to the tradition of the place, and buy native handmade artifacts.

Folks of the hill station

In all of my journey journeys, I’ve by no means seen such humble and down-to-earth individuals as I did on this hill station. Everybody, proper from the hand-cart pullers to the shopkeepers could be very accommodating. They’re all the time prepared to assist vacationers. Most of those individuals, belonging to the Warlis, Thakars, and Katkaris tribes, stay in close by villages on the base of the hill station. They traverse a journey of 2-hours by stairways to achieve Matheran and make a livelihood.

The one car that exists right here is an ambulance. There’s a utterly purposeful hospital as effectively. My eyes have been used to the darkish gray starless city sky. It was a pleasing shock to see each patch of the night time sky, lined with diamond-like glowing stars. It’s the land that merges outdated well timed attraction with modernity. Go to a spot that helps you take away the exterior chaos and go deeper to search out your interior self.

This publish is authored by Akshaya Vijay as a part of the IndiTales Internship Program.

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