Thursday, July 28, 2016

Matheran



Mathera had been on my mind ever since I first made a list of places I wanted to see in India before I die. Finally after eons when i did get to see Matheran, it blew my mind.  This is why:

The clouds clearing away, slowly, gently, to give our hungry eyes a glimpse of the majestic mountains
The clouds kissing the mountains in a lingering moment of passion, sending sweet chills down our spine.
This was mid afternoon & yet the pace was so misty & cool.
Who wouldn't fall in love with this?
The lovely stream on the way up to the hill station
The forests are pristine. 

The valley below

Being spellbound

Matheran is the smallest hill station in India & the first in ASIA that is vehicle free. Eco-sensitive zone. No vehicles are allowed into the hill station not even the privately owned bikes & cars of people who live there. It has to be parked at the start of the hillock,in a designated space. You explore the hills
on a horse
on a horse
Or this hand-drawn cycle-rickshaw.
or by walk.
The horse, in the pic, is named Lakhan, bought by the owner at Rs 70,000. The ride costs Rs 1100 per person to view 5 popular scenic spots. car drive would have cost us less than Rs 500 in petrol or a bike ride just Rs 100. Takeaway: animals are definitely expensive! But the experience of going on that ride will be etched in our memories for ever, especially for my daughter Tanvi who loved it. She wanted the staff to let go of the lagaam (handle) so that she could ride the horse all on her own! She sat on it like a pro, no fear of falling. She was constantly rubbing the horse’s neck & saying he is responding.

We took the horse ride to go into the hill station. And later walked around & explored the town. We walked back to the parking spot in half an hour. As you can see in the pic above, we walked along the railway track, in a drizzle, suitably dressed in local rain gear which is plastic sheet snugly hugging your body & a plastic hat. The price of these rain protectors Rs 50 only!
The pathway through the lush green forest
One of the waterfalls
There are many beautiful cottages owned by Parsis who visit Matheran to beat the heat, grime & noise of Mumbai. Here is a cottage of the State Tourism Board
The hill doesn't grow or produce anything. Everything you find on the hill is either brought from neighboring big cities like Pune or Mumbai or Lonavla or from the town called Nerul. Horses, smaller ones, by breed closer to donkeys, are used to ferry cement, sand & other building materials and also grocery & household stuff. They are quite simply called the maal-gaadi (maal meaning material & gaadi meaning vehicle). 
The Nerul village
The countryside
Now,let's look at the logistics. Matheran doesn't have an airport. One has to fly down to Mumbai and take a 2 hour/90 KM car drive to Matheran. If you add up the cost of two way flights from Bangalore to Mumbai, two way taxi fare from Mumbai to Matheran, horse ride & sight seeing charges, lunch & snacks expenses, it would cost you Rs 10,000 approx for a one day tour to this beautiful hill station. 
The drive from Nerul to Matheran
We didn't stay overnight here. We chose to spend the night at Lonavla which is another beautiful place with more modern amenities and stay options. but about Lonavla in another post.

28 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos green and cool
    most important pollution free

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    1. Yes indeed. And we went in July so the monsoon freshness

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  2. Oh, Sujatha, these scenes are heavenly!

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  3. Nice pics, but I find hill stations too cold! I wonder if they have room heaters anywhere, then I can go. That Rs. 10000 is per head or for the entire family?

    Destination Infinity

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    1. That's per person ... from Bangalore. Room heaters....I doubt. Maybe only a select few hotels have it

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank You :)
      I am sure you have been here during one of Your travels

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    2. I have great memories of trekking from Neral to Matheran and sleeping in a tent pitched by us:) Will need a separate post for this:)

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    3. aah! See! I knew!
      that's wonderful. I am sure it would need a separate post :)

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  5. Magnificent Matheran in this travel diary of yours embellished with captivating pics..loved the one with your daughter on the horse..a real rider!

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    1. Magnificent Matheran... I should have used that as the title...it's nice!

      thanks ...she sure is fearless :)

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  6. Very nicely written about Matheran with useful information and with eye catching photos that speak volumes.Makes me want to visit. Thank you, Sujatha.

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    1. try and go Sir someday. I feel you will like it

      thank you for the appreciation

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  7. Dreamy place...We lived in Pune when we got married. The name sounds so familiar but we haven't been there. Beautiful pics..

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    1. oh is it! i guess these days, for Puneits, it's a regular weekend spot...easily drive down types...
      it happens...nearby places we sometimes miss visiting

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  8. Lovely...I have heard from many about this place. Love to visit. Thank you for taking us there through beautiful pictures.

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  9. It was indeed a sumptuous sumptuous feast for not only the eyes but the mind also.I spent a long time to view this in detail. Lovely the brave little one-Tanvy. Apt captions you have given,Sujata.

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  10. Beautiful pics..love to see, but i cant walk so much and cant ride even:(

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    1. Oh! Yeah ... there is a fair amount of walking to be done

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  11. Very nice blog. Beautiful place missed it although stayed 2 years in Mumbai. Hope to see it one day.

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    1. yeah it often happens....we stay so close to a place and we miss it sometimes

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  12. Beautiful pictures. How many kilometers we need to walk to climb the waterfalls from the hotel.

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    1. Hi Ajay, the waterfalls you see here were on the drive up to the hill...on the way...we drove from Nerul village to Matheran and found many waterfalls along the drive...clicked a few :)

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Hi