We were literally skeptical of planning a day trip to Matheran. At the back of my mind ran questions like…
- Is it doable?
- Which mode is the best?
- Can we do the sight-seeing if we return on the same day?
Amidst this chaos, we booked the Zoom car for a day tour to Matheran, the smallest hill station in India.
Figo to Honda City
We needed to pick the Zoom car(Figo) from Kandivali. After reaching the place, we were informed that the booked car is not available due to some issue in its engine. The plan got thrashed in a moment. Disappointment!! but we didn’t loose the hope and called their customer care who agreed to provide us some other available car and it was Red Honda city- Hawt, Bright and dazzling!!
Truly, When God decides to give you something, he overwhelms you 🙂
Music system ✓ Aux cable ✓ Registry ✓ – All checked!
And we were En-route to Matheran, a popular weekend getaway from the Mumbai at just a distance of ~100km
Matheran is made up of two words ‘Mathe’ and ‘ran’ which means the forest that is located on the top of a hill (~2,625 feet).
Matheran needs little introduction. Perched on the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, it offers pleasant climate and a picturesque valley. The most appealing reason to visit this place is to get a glimpse of the only town in India that doesn’t allow vehicles within its limits which makes it a pristine zone.
MUMBAI TO MATHERAN
We took Mumbai-Pune Highway(NH-4) up to Chowk Village and then turned to Karjat road. We stopped there near some dhabba to get some eatables. The last stretch of the Karjat road (About 7 km) was on the ghat which led us to Dasturi Naka (last point to which cars were allowed) at the tip of Matheran.
We walked from Dasturi along the rail line up to Matheran. Coolies or porters were available there to carry you(of course on their horses) and your luggage. We followed the rail track route as it was slightly shorter, more scenic and more comfortable than the dusty and rubble main road route.
When I saw the small gauge railway line over red sand surrounded by the shady trees, I immediately fell in love with that place. It looked like a vintage wine. Ravi and I decided to click some pictures on the railway line in some classic style but then out of nowhere one shepherd came up leading his goats to food. Our instant reaction and expression can be seen in the below picture.
By the way, here is the version which onkesh was trying to click!
With rolling hills to verdant trees, what Matheran offered us was like an every traveler’s dream. We went for long walk under the shady trees or sometimes simply sit back, relax and got clicked 😀
While walking on the trek, all of a sudden, two silly monkeys dangling from a branch and making faces at each other came near Ravi to snatch a packet of chips visible outside the DSLR bag, almost a heartbeat skipped for Ravi, then Onkesh acted bravely and grabbed the packet and threw it directly on their face. “Ahh! we are safe, I meant the camera is safe” were my words that made everyone chuckle!
Matheran has over 30 points but given the time at hand, we decided to explore it in our own style which is similar to Naina’s style (Who’s Naina? Arre, Naina from yeh jawani hai deewani) and I still remember those line by Naina – “Jitna bhi try karo, life me kuch na kuch to chootega hi, to jahan hain, wahin ka maza lete hai”. Besides, covering even 15 points would have been an overdose of points for a day. After all, they would all look the same at the end.
So here are some of the recommended points one can cover on a short trip – Alexander Point, Louisa Point, One Tree Hill, Lord Point, and Charlotte Lake.
I saw one park on our way, went inside and started reliving the kid in me. Here is that kid 😛
The sun disappeared behind the hills and just 10-15 minutes later it was pitch dark. At first, we continue to meet a few locals on the path back to Dasturi but eventually, even the local disappeared. After walking for around one and a half hour, we reached the parking area.
Anil and Onkesh told us to get some Vada pav from the nearest shop while they were getting the car from a parking area. Ravi and I got tensed when they didn’t come back even after 40 minutes. We called but there were no signals. We were stuck! We decided to go to the parking area, and on the way, we found them.Sigh! After scolding them hard, we finally had those vada poas which were the tastiest one I ever had.
It was around 8 pm when we started our drive back to Mumbai. The roads seemed narrower and slippery to me and I sat almost dumb 😐 until we reached the normal plain road.
Bandra-Worli sea link
I opened my itinerary for the Mumbai trip and found that we haven’t yet explored the Bandra-Worli sea link. As we were having Zoom car with us then, everybody agreed! We drove from Bandra to Worli and back. After looking at that marvel for the first time, only words I could utter were “Am I really in Mumbai?” Yeah, it was that Beautiful that I couldn’t believe it to be real.
Worli seaface seemed quieter and less crowded. We sat there on the large rocks with crashing waves and got lost until we realized it’s already 12:30 pm. We drove back to Bandra and started searching for some late night food outlets on zomato. Ravi found this place Amar Juice corner(opened till 2 am) Impressed by the timings! We got pav bhaji(liberally treated with butter.)and fresh fruit juices with pulp for each one of us. Burrrrppppp!(Excuse me).
My verdict-Amar’s Pav bhaji is one of the tastiest Pav bhajis I had in Mumbai.
FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT THE PLACE
Best Time: Best time is from January to May and October to December
Shopping: Shop for leather articles, sandals, handmade purses, hats, honey and of course chikki(a kind of a sweet).
Food: There are no fancy restaurants in Matheran though but who’ll gonna miss them if the dhabbas and the local food vendors can promise even better Maharashtrian and Punjabi cuisines.
Beware of Monkeys: Watch out for the aggressive Matheran macaque monkeys who will not hesitate to snatch your belongings especially anything resembling food!
Amar Juice Corner: When the city is officially about to close and you wish to have something delicious but even pocket friendly, here is the place. Idli, pav bhaji and special falooda is to die for here. The tava pulao and the masala pav are also worth trying.
There’s really nothing special to do here but relax, wander the woods on foot, and enjoy the fresh air and panoramic views. Matheran was definitely a throwback to the time when there were limited urbanization and no sight of vehicles. Don’t you also wish to time travel to this scenic and serene world? Get up and pack your bags to get astonished by the calmness and beauty of this small hill station in Maharashtra.
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