Winter is very charming this year. The cold breeze is wonderfully gentle and fresh. It is such a perfect season for a long stroll along the mountain curves and high plateaus. I can’t think of anything to do better than holding my husband hand on the left and a tiny Yaseen’s hand on the right then leisurely enjoying a slow walk in the nature gentleness.
Matheran is a beautiful hill station and eco-municipal district in Maharashtra state of India. It’s about 90 km from Mumbai and 120 Km from Pune. Known for the beautiful landscapes and scenery, Matheran is a perfect weekend getaway and picnic spot for family and people in this region.
We started off late morning while we grasped some snacks and breakfast on the way. The sky was warm with the bright rays of sunlight dispersed from the clear sky. It was just warm enough to make our skin comfortable in the cold air. It took us about 3 hours to Matheran, every step of the way was embraced with graceful sceneries of mountains and hills surrounded the highways.
Matheran is 2,625 feet above sea level and driving up there is quite a challenge. The narrow road wriggled and twisted against tall cliffs and the savage slopes were so steep that we felt like flying off the ground any second. There are taxi services and expert drivers offer to drive you up there safely if you are not comfortable driving in such conditions. But we knew driving up ourselves was one thing we wouldn’t miss. My husband is very confident when it comes to driving through steep ghats.
As we slowly rose up, the beautiful landscape unfolded before our eyes. The magnificent mountains covered in brown, tall grass waving through the winter winds. As the nature welcomed us with wild flowers, luscious forest and clean air, we gradually forgot about hasty life in the city.
Another must tried activities in Matheran is to enjoy the leisurely ride in the small train that cover 21 km that slowly claw through the nature lusciousness for about 2 hours. The train starts from Neral, slithered through the jungle until it reach the Matheran station. It is a very enjoyable trip with the green wilderness unfurling before your eyes every step of the ride.
Matheran is a pollution free town which means no vehicles is allowed in the city. There is the parking facility where people drop off their vehicles and put on their travel gears. You can rent horses and tour guides to take you to several view points or hiking on foot through the rail tracks which is one of the popular options for the travelers who love adventure and don’t mind sweating.
We enjoyed the friendly hospitality of nature in Matheran. There were a lot of birds and monkeys living in the surrounding forest. Every now and then the trail leads us to the beautiful view points with the picturesque panorama. It takes a great effort to hike up to Matheran especially with small children but Yaseen was trained in various trips, I hope one day we could try hiking up the Himalayas with this little boy. An hour later we reached the central point, the Market.
Matheran market has its charm. A little old town is rich with historical and architectural beauties. Every corners of the town are flushed with beautiful crafts, souvenirs, gifts, local sweets, and the cozy restaurants. There are wonderful choices of resort and home-stay facilities suitable for every budget types. The restaurants in Matheran are amazing!!! And I really mean amazing! I always think there is the compromise between good travel and the good food, but this place is everything the traveler could ask for. The food is hot, fresh, homey, aromatic, amazing! And I have declared Matheran serves the best chicken lollipop in the world!
Matheran is one of the cleanest cities I have visited in India. There is no vehicle so you feel very safe wandering around in the center of the road and the city tries its best to control plastic other wastes. Horses, mares, and old-days wagons are used to transport and supply to the city. It made us feel really warm and blossom in this little town, lives are slow but savour every delicious moment they have to offer.
After lunch, it’s the perfect idea to slowly glide on the horses to various view-points. Sharlott Lake is a refreshing glimpse of glistening scene. It’s not only the main water source of Matheran but one of the romantic spots on the hills. Sunset in Matheran is breath-taking, the visitors calmly gathered around the points to stare at the glorious phenomena.
Matheran is one perfect family getaway, there are adventures await in the wild. The fresh greens, clean air and humble lives of this little town are festinating, captivating and refreshing.
On the way back, we discovered ourselves fall in love with nature more, fall in love with India more and fall in love with our lives more. There are so many more to explore, to see, to experience… we don’t wanna waste a weekend without getting out and searching for more.