“Matheran” literally translating to Jungle atop a hill, is India’s smallest hill station. It belongs to the state of Maharashtra. At an elevation of 800m above sea level, this place finds itself in the Western Ghats range. Its proximity to Mumbai(90kms) and Pune(120kms) makes it a quintessential weekend getaway for the urban residents. Overlooking the Western Ghats on one side of the cliff and the Deccan plains on the other, this place offers a very different sight in comparison to the bustling and glamorous view that one generally gets to see in the urban cities nearby. The place is best known for its innumerable viewpoints namely Louisa point offering a view of the Prabal fort, one tree hill point, porcupine point, monkey point and various others which offer a panoramic view of the lush green plains below. Apart from these points, the Matheran railway station, a few temples and 2 lakes also draw tourists’ attention.
This hill station has been declared as an eco-sensitive area by the government of India. It is home to a diversity of plants and herbs of great medicinal value, and also to a rich wildlife. This place takes you back in time and quite literally so, because this is Asia’s only automobile free hill station. No automobiles are allowed within the main part of the hill station. The main mode of transport for the people being horseback or hand pulled rickshaws. The only vehicle allowed here is the municipality ambulance.
The climate in Matheran is generally cool and less humid as compared to its neighbouring cities, opening itself to tourists throughout the year in all seasons. In summers, its peak temperature remains constant after a certain rise, thereby making it an ideal destination to escape the scorching summer sun. Monsoon invites adventure enthusiasts who walk and trek along the stretch. Winter sees the temperature dipping almost to 12 degrees, keeping it pleasant for tourists and visitors.
Being just a few hours away, the city dwellers can rent a bike and embark on this journey. We at Wheetstreet have a fleet of bikes for rentals to choose from, starting from Royal Enfield to Harley Davidson, to make for a stress-free trip.
How to reach the place?
Air – Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the airport nearest to Matheran. The journey from here has to be covered either on road or on rails.
On rails – Neral is the nearest major railway station. There are local trains available till Neral from Mumbai. Many major express trains halt at Karjat station, from where locals will take you till Neral. The rest of the journey to Matheran can be covered by the toy train facility. The train traverses the stretch at a medium speed, allowing one to soak in the beauty of the Western Ghats.
By road – State buses ply to Matheran from Mumbai and Pune regularly. Self-owned cars and bikes on rent also are a viable option. The last stop for both the above options is Neral, from where you can either take the toy train or walk up to reach the centre, as vehicles are not allowed there.