The tiny hill station of Matheran has been a favourite getaway from Mumbai for decades now and has lost none of its charms over the years. Situated at an altitude of some 800 m in the Western Ghats, Matheran is a convenient 90 km from Mumbai, making it just right for a quick break.
Discovered by the British around 1850, Matheran has for long attracted those who want to escape the heat and dust of the plains. The hill station now offers even greater respite from city stress because it’s a vehicle free zone. Imagine spending time amidst the greenery without a whiff of vehicular pollution or the sound of honking! It’s a pedestrian-only hill station with all motor vehicles having to stop at Dasturi. From there, you can trek up to Matheran or take a pony ride.
The most fun way to reach Matheran, though, is to take a train from Mumbai that stops at Neral. From here, there’s a toy train that chugs up, covering the 20- km distance at a gentle pace, allowing you to take in the scenery along the route.
Matheran itself is a place of sloping hills and wooded walking trails. There’s also a single-street marketplace, where you’ll find a row of restaurants and shops. Walkabout and take a look at the homes, many of which still exude an old-world air.
There are several lookout points from which you can catch splendid views of the surrounding hills and valleys cloaked in thick forest cover. Among the favourite vintage, spots are Panorama Point, offering a 360-degree view of the area all the way to Neral town. You can also catch magnificent sunrises and sunsets here.