Matheran Maharashtra

Posted in : Maharshtra

(added few years ago!)

Matheran is a city and a Hill Station municipal council in Raigad district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a hill station in Karjat Tahsil and is also the smallest hill station in India. It is located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level. It is located around 90 km from Mumbai, and 120 km from Pune. Matheran's proximity to the three Metros makes it a popular weekend getaway for urban residents. The name Matheran means "forest on the head" (of the mountain).

Matheran is an eco-sensitive region, declared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. It is one of the few places in the world where vehicles are not allowed, which makes the place different from others. Matheran takes you over a hundred years back in time when there were no vehicles.

Because of vehicles being banned in Matheran, the place is quite peaceful despite the thousands of visitors coming to visit throughout the year.

There are lots of lookout points that provide spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Matheran has a reasonably dense forest cover.

There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the Panorma Point that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and also the Neral town. From this point, the view of sunset and sunrise is breathtaking. The Louisa Point offers crystal clear view of the Prabal Fort. The other points are the One Tree Hill Point, Hart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambgh Point, and more.

Matheran was discovered by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane district in May 1850. Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay laid the foundations of the development as a future hill station. The British developed Matheran as a popular resort to beat the summer heat in the region. Once Mr.Malet went out for shooting in jungle and found this hill. He enquired to the villagers what was up there. They said in their native dialect mathe ran ahe means 'mathe'-UP 'ran'-JUNGLE means there is a jungle on the top of the hill. Hence "MATHERAN". The first tiny hill railway appeared there in 1907.

Dasturi Naka

Matheran is connected to the town of Neral which lies at the base of the hills. A tar road connects Neral to Dasturi Naka which is 9 km (5.6 mi) from Matheran. In order to maintain Matheran's uniqueness, no vehicles are allowed beyond this point. The other mode of transport is a 2 ft  (610 mm) gauge narrow gauge railway, which links the town to Neral. Neral also has a broad gauge station which is on the busy Mumbai-Pune route. Neral is well connected by railway line with Karjat being the nearest Junction. The Matheran Hill Railway was built in 1907 by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy and covers a distance of 20 km (12 mi), over large swathes of forest territory. The Matheran hill railway had been inspected by UNESCO world heritage site officials in the last week of October 2009. The official declaration of its status as UNESCO world heritage site like other hill railways of India like Kalka-Shimla, Darjeeling hill railway & Nilgiri mountain railway will be declared by July 2010. The railway officials are very hopeful of getting the UNESCO world heritage status from the views expressed by the inspecting officials. The heritage status will boost the tourist activities in the area.

Louisa Point

In the floods of July 2005, around 70% of the railway lines were damaged and did not reopen until April 2007 after repairs at a cost of Rs 2-2.5 crore.

Toy train in Matheran

Matheran has been declared an ecosensitive region by the Union Environment Ministry and can be called a Health Sanatorium in itself. The only form of automobile allowed in Matheran is an ambulance operated by the Municipality. No private automobiles are allowed. Within Matheran transport facilities available are horses and hand-pulled rickshaws.

Matheran is one of the popular getaway for people from Mumbai and Pune, it is a quiet hill station located on the Sahyadri range. Matheran, Meaning 'forest on top', was discovered in 1850, by a district collector of Thane, Hugh Poyntz Malet, and the foundations for its development was laid down by Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Mumbai. Matheran has been listed by the Union Environment Ministry as an eco-sensitive region and is connected to the closest town of Neral by a narrow gauge railway, operating since 1907. As no vehicles are allowed in Matheran, one has to drive up to Dasturi Point, 11 km ahead of Matheran, from where you could reach the main bazaar either by foot or on pony.

Matheran lies in an elevated region, enjoys a cooler and less humid climate which makes it popular during the summer months. Temperatures range from 32 °C (90 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F). Matheran has a huge number of medicinal plants and herbs. The town also has a large monkey population, including Bonnet Macaques and Hanuman Langurs. The nearby Lake Charlotte is the main source of Matheran's drinking water.

Languages spoken include Marathi, Hindi, and English. There are a lot of Parsi bungalows. Beautiful old British-style architecture is preserved in Matheran. The roads are not metalled and are made of red laterite earth. There are many "points" (viewpoints) in Matheran which give a panoramic view of the plains below. On clear nights, the lights of Mumbai are claimed to be visible.

Please Note: About the Train from Neral to Matheran : As per the latest information(Oct 2011): this Rail Road is closed for 4 months during Monsoon .. atleast in 2011 it was closed from July to October. So if you are planning to take a train ride during these 4 months, its better to call up some hotel in Matheran and check

Matheran is located at  a height of 800 metres (2224 feet) in western ghats

Matheran is located about 100 km from Mumbai, 120 km from Pune. and 320 km from Surat. It lies on the busy Mumbai-Pune rail link and the nearest train station is at Neral, approximately 11 km from Matheran. From Neral, one can either rent a taxi (60 rupees for a shared cab, 300 for the whole car) to the entrance of Matheran. From the taxi stop at Matheran, one can walk to the city center or rent a horse (150-200 rupees per horse).

Since October 11, 2008 a bus service has been started till Dasturi Park from Neral and Karjat.

The nearest airport is in Mumbai that is located around 100 km away from Matheran. Matheran has a narrow gauge railway station in the town center. The old Matheran Hill Railway is offering several daily trains to Neral - this takes some hours for just a 8 km distance but is a railway adventure. At Neral you will have to change to Mumbai suburban railway which is taking you directly to Mumbai CST Station on the CST-Karjat route. Matheran is also very well connected by road with Mumbai and Pune. Matheran can be reached from Mumbai via Navi Mumbai and Panvel. Just after going up you will reach Dastiru Naka, which is the last stop up to which the vehicles are allowed and about 1.5 miles or 2.3 km away from the town center. Up to this point, one can also hire a direct taxi from Mumbai.

From Mumbai

Set off on the old Mumbai-Pune road (NH-4) through Dadar, Chembur, Navi Mumbai

Get on to the Mumbai Pune Expressway at Panvel (Near McDonalds). Get onto the expressway to avoid the congested road through Panvel.

Take the first exit (Shedung/Khopoli Exit)that comes less than 5 minutes after you get onto the expressway at McDonalds. (Here you will need to Pay a Toll at the toll-booth for using the expressway).

This exit gets you back onto the Old Mumbai-Pune Road. Follow directions to proceed towards Pune. Once again you will have to pay a toll for using the old Bombay Pune Road. (Toll in both places is about Rs.25 each).

Follow the old Mumbai-Pune road for approximately 10 km. This will bring you to a crossing where a big green sign asks you to turn left for Karjat/Matheran. (Do not miss this crossing as otherwise you will end up in Khopoli. There is a large statue of Hindu god Shiva on right side of the old Mumbai-Pune Highway which can be seen from a long distance. The left turn about 50 metres before the statue).9 km After turning left you reach another crossing called Charphata Karjat where you need to turn left towards Neral.

A board of warning on Matheran road 11 km After turning left, you will reach the bottom of the Matheran Hill ghat road. Turn left here and climb 7 km to the Matheran Dasturi Car park.

Matheran Ghat

It is a steep and narrow road but well surfaced for the most part. When you reach the car park find a parking space in the designated area and park your car. The parking entrance fees and daily parking fees need to be paid here.

Matheran Entrance

No vehicles are allowed beyond this point. Matheran center is a 40-minute walk from Dasturi Car Park. Before you enter the limits of Matheran, Matheran Municipal council charges a fees of Rs 25 per adult and Rs 10 for children.

Once you enter, red dusty pathways welcome you to the nature. Porters are available to carry luggage. You can enjoy the walks through the red pathways or ride on horse. Manual 'rickshaws' are also available, each rickshaw is 'driven' by a couple of operators.

From Pune

Set off towards Mumbai on the Pune-Mumbai expressway. Get off the Pune-Mumbai Expressway at the Khopoli exit after passing Lonavla/Khandala and get onto the old Pune-Mumbai road. Approximately 18 km later, you turn right as per a big green sign, in Chouk town. Follow the signs from then on.

One can also exit Pune-Mumbai NH4 at Haal Phata near Khopoli to enter SH 35 which will take you straight to the bottom of Matheran Ghat Road.

Instructions on how to get from Neral to Matheran can be found on the corresponding Mumbai-Matheran section.

From Surat

Set off on the Surat-Mumbai road (NH-8) through Udhana-Sachin-Palsana (approximately 30 km).Get on the Surat-Mumbai Highway at Palsana junction and continue till Manor in Maharastra. Stop at Manor from there take left and move towards Bhiwandi. From Bhiwandi to Kalyan to Ambarnath to Badlapur and continue till Neral there you see one road for Matheran and second towards Karjat/ Khopoli. Go straight on Matheran Ghat Road after a very steep ascent you will reach Matheran's Dasturi naka- a parking place for cars and other vehicles. No vehicles are allowed beyond this point as Matheran is an Eco-sensitive region declared by state government of Maharastra. Buy tickets on Municipal counter and move to Matheran (2.5 km away) by Walking or by riding on a Horse or Hand-pull Rickshaw taking about (150-200 rupees per person). Reaching at Matheran bazarpeth will take about 1/hr approx.

By Train

Matheran is connected by toy train to the mainline rail route at Neral Junction. Neral Junction is well connected by local trains from CST along the CST-Karjat route. Click to get the Subarban rail map and timetable. Those coming by long distance trains should alight at Karjat Junction. Many trains on Pune-Mumbai route can serve the tourists coming from Pune side. The journey is a visual delight for the tourists with a range of scenes to enjoy. The ascent begins a little after the Hardar Hills and reaches the Jamnapatti station, where it appears that road and rail have almost come together. They part here, though to meet again a little further beyond the steep slope of Bhekra Kund. The Horseshoe embarkment near the Mount Barry is a captivating scene to look at. The route runs another mile before it enters into the lone tunnel on the way. Emerging from the tunnel, the line zig zags sharply backwards and forward twice. Thereafter, the train crosses the Panorama Point and the Simpson Tank to reach straight to the Matheran Bazaar.

The journey on a 2 feet gauge commences from Neral at 08.40 hrs, 11.00 hrs and 17.00 hrs. The journey from the other direction begins at 17.45 hrs, 13.10 hrs and 14.35 hrs. The train covers a maximum of 12 miles in an hour thereby allowing the passengers ample time to soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

It is advisable to have your bookings done earlier through internet or by other means as getting tickets for the toy train becomes difficult in peak tourist seasons.

Route covered

Neral - Hardal Hill - Jammapatti Station - Bhekra Station - Mount Barry- Panorama Point - Simpson Point - Matheran Bazaar.

By foot

A road inside the Matheran Town

Matheran is popular amongst trekkers. Dasturi gate (Mathern car park) is approximately 8 km from Neral junction and beautiful landscapes can be seen from Neral. Streams flow through the farms. One can follow the road, or walk through the countryside along the stream and take the trail used by the residents.. There aren't direction signs along the trail, so you'll have to take directions from the residents, or trek along the road.

The trail crosses farms, streams, railway track at several places to add to the stunning landscape. Trekkers can rest and enjoy a snack midway at Janmapatti rail station where the road and track meet. There are a few eateries run by residents. Second leg of the trek is difficult than the first as the path gets steeper. Following the road should get you to Dasturi gate after which one has to take the unpaved trail till Matheran Bazaar. All trails in Matheran are well marked and getting around shouldn't be difficult.

Mount Berry: Mount Berry is a popular tourist destination that is located 5+ km from Matheran. It offers a bird’s eye view of Neral. The major attraction is the slow train that chugs up the hill in the midst of pristine natural beauty. matheran peak is visible from here.

Charlotte Lake: Also called the Sharlott Lake, Charlotte Lake is one of the most picturesque spots in Matheran. On the right side of the lake, there is the ancient Pisarnath Temple. The two picnic spots Louisa point and Echo point are located on the left side of the lake.

Lookout points: There are around 38 different lookout points in Matheran, from where tourists can view the amazing beautiful valley. The spectacular view of the valley remains in the memory of the tourists for a long time.

Valley Crossing: A very great activity like Valley crossing by a rope can be experienced at Honey(Moon) Point. It seems to be risky and dangerous but it is not as we are tightly hold by TWO safety belts and the adventure group conducting this activity does take care of us. You should experience this. Simply awesome!!!

Places of interest

There are altogether 28 points, 2 lakes, 2 parks, 4 major worship places and a racecourse to visit inside Matheran. If you want to see all of them then you may need 2–3 days on your feet. One can move around on foot or horseback, but it is recommended moving on feet to take the best glimpse of nature. If you are on Horse back you may not be able to spend your desired time on the points. All the points’ gives a unique view and you can’t miss them.There are many walking paths for a leisurly walk. Points to see;

Alexander Pt.

Rambag Pt

Little Chowk Pt

Big Chowk Pt

One Tree Hill Pt

Belvedere Pt

Olympia Race Course

Lords Pt

Charlotte Lake

Celia Pt (Actually a water fall mouth)

Echo Pt.

Porcupine Pt (Sun Set Pt)

Panorama Point (Sun Rise Pt)

Khandala Pt

Madhavji Garden & Point

Matheran Railway Station

Louisa Point

Mayra Point

 

Reaching Matheran

Pune, Maharashtra to Matheran, Maharashtra (125 Km)


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Mumbai, Maharashtra to Matheran, Maharashtra (87.5 Km)


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Surat, Gujarat to Matheran, Maharashtra (337 Km)


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Matheran Images

 

Tags : Matheran, Maharashtra

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(added few years ago!) / 2838 views
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