Matheran Travel Guide
There are all kinds of restaurants in Matheran serving various cuisines. Most hotels offer packages including all meals. Try the Gujarati Thali, or the Maharashtrian style Vada-Pav (Indian Burger)which is available at the various points. Also, try the chikki which is available in different flavors in the main market. Meat is available in some restaurants, notably in the popular and modern Khan's, which does very good Kebabs.
Places to visit
Places to see
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
* Chowk Pt
* One Tree Hill Pt
* Belvedere Pt
* Olympia Race Course
* Lords Pt
* Charlotte Lake
* Cecil 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
* Mayor Pt
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.
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 (5.8 miles) 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 (12.4 miles), 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.
Get There and Around
get there and around
The nearest airport is in Mumbai that is located around 100 km away from Matheran. Reaching here, one can hire a direct taxi to Matheran. The nearest railhead is in Neral that is connected with Matheran by a toy train. Neral Junction is well connected by local trains coming from CST along 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. Dastiru Naka is the last stop up to which the vehicles are allowed.
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.
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.
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.
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 'rikshaws' are also available, each riskhaw is 'driven' by a couple of operators.
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.
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 mapand 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.
Matheran is popular among trekkers. Dasturi gate (Mathern car park) is approximately 8 km from Neral junction and a beautiful landscape can be seen from Neral itself. Streams cut through the farms. One can follow the road or walk through the countryside along the stream and take the trail used by localites. There aren't direction signs along the trail, so you'll have to take directions from localites or trek keeping the road in sight.
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 localites. 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.