Matheran : Asia’s only automobile-free hill station

If you are a travel enthusiast who loves nature and are looking for a weekend getaway near Pune or Mumbai. Look no further than Matheran, a picturesque hill station nestled in the Western Ghats. Boasting its status as an eco-sensitive zone, declared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India since 2003, Matheran offers a unique blend of natural beauty and environmental preservation.

How to reach:

  • Matheran is approximately 120 km from Pune and 90 km from Mumbai
  • You can take a local train from Mumbai to Karjat and then get off at Neral station. To reach Matheran from Pune, we boarded the Sinhgad Express, a train that took us to Karjat in approximately 2.5 hours. From Karjat, we made our way to Neral station, by local train, covering a distance of 15 kilometers.
  • From Neral, you have the option to hop on the charming toy train, which follows a fixed schedule and covers a distance of 10 kilometers, taking you from Neral station all the way up to the scenic hilltop of Matheran.
  • In case the toy train is not available due to seasonal or weather conditions, an alternative option is to take a taxi from Neral station to the hilltop of Matheran, specifically till Dasturi Naka. The taxi fare is approximately 100 rupees per person, although it may vary based on the time of travel.
  • Beyond Dasturi Naka, personal vehicles are not permitted, and visitors must park their personal vehicles at this location. To access the top of the Matheran hill, there are various transportation options available. However, before proceeding, it is necessary to pay an entry fee of 50 rupees per person at the entry gate.

Matheran Entrance
Aman Lodge Point

  • Option 1: Take the toy train from Aman Lodge to Matheran.
  • Option 2: By Foot: You can walk to the top using the railway track as a guide.
  • Option 3: Hiring a horse and riding to the top is another option. To reach the top of the Matheran hill, we opted for a horse ride, covering a distance of approximately 2.5 kilometers. The cost for the horse ride was 300 rupees per person.
  • Option 4: Rickshaws pulled by men.

Upon reaching the top of the Matheran hill around 11 AM, we promptly checked into our hotel. It was convenient to discover that the Matheran railway station and market were located adjacent to each other.

Places to Visit :

1. Charleot Lake
Due to the foggy weather, we opted to begin our day by visiting Charleot Lake and we made a stop at Khandala Point along the way before reaching our destination. Charlotte Lake is located 2 kms from Matheran Railway Station, and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Matheran. On the lake’s left bank, you can find the ancient Pisharnath Mahadev Temple which servers as an interesting stop.

Khandala Point Entrance

Charleot Lake

2. Lord Point
After visiting Charleot Lake, we made our way to Lord Point, where you can get treated to a mesmerizing telescope view of the surroundings.

Towards Lord Point

3 . Echo Point, Louisa point, Honeymoon Point, Malang Point
After visiting Lord Point, we continued our journey to explore Echo Point, Louisa Point, Honeymoon Point, Malang Point, and Alexander Point. Each of these points offered scenic trails and unique perspectives of the valleys.After exploring all these points, we decided to head back and reached the market place by 6 pm. After freshening up and resting for a while, we ventured out at 8 pm to witness the nighttime ambiance of Matheran, exploring the local colonies, strolling through the market, enjoying a delicious dinner, and taking leisurely walks.
Thus, our eventful first day of the trip came to a close, filled with memorable experiences and adventures in Matheran.
Due to limited time and unfavorable weather conditions, we had to skip some of the points marked on the map. However, it is worth noting that many of these points offer similar views of the valley from different angles.

4. Panorama Point
When visiting Matheran, it is essential to make a stop at Panorama Point, located approximately 3 kilometers from the starting point of Matheran. This breathtaking destination is a must-see, as it offers a mesmerizing 360-degree view of the valley. The walking trail leading up to Panorama Point is equally spectacular, making it an experience that should not be missed while exploring Matheran. 
On the second day of our trip, we made our way to Panorama Point and enjoyed its awe-inspiring beauty .Unfortunately, due to rain and fog, we were unable to witness the mesmerizing sunrise at Panorama Point. Due to a foggy day, we were unable to capture photographs of the panoramic view from the point, but fortunately, we were blessed with a brief glimpse of the breathtaking valley.
For those who are spiritually inclined, a visit to Panorama Point in Matheran resonates with the divine, evoking a profound sense of the Almighty’s presence.

Following the Trail to Panorama Point

5. Other Points to visit

One tree hill point :  One Tree Hill Point is one of the best places to visit in Matheran to lose yourself to nature, its a single tree standing on the tip of a beautiful green mountain. 

Little Chowk Point : It is located on the southernmost tip of the Matheran hill station. One of the main attractions here is a statue of Lord Ganesh you can have a look at from this viewpoint . 

Porcupine point : It isknown as a sunset point.

Rambhag point : This is the best place in Matheran on the way to One Tree Hill Point  and also famous as Sunrise Point.Madhav Ji Point : Its in the Lord Nauroji Garden, a separate play area for children along with a beautiful fountain and a well-maintained park, the location is best enjoyed in the evenings. 

Considering the weather conditions and time constraints, it is advisable to prioritize visiting the points based on the given map, ensuring a strategic selection that maximizes the experience while accommodating the prevailing circumstances.
Quick Info:Hotels: Matheran boasts a diverse selection of accommodations, ranging from cozy cottages and villas to colonial and heritage bungalows, as well as homestays. For your convenience, here are a few options to consider, and you can also make inquiries at the Matheran Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) for further assistance. Prices may vary according to the season. 

  • Hunjar House                                
  • Rangoli Retreat
  • Roshan Palace
  • Gokul Villa
  • Sun and Shade Resort

For more information and reference, you can consult the below MTDC pamphlet.

Toy Train : You can check the timings on IRCTC website. But post lockdown they have started offline bookings only. Travelers have the option to enjoy a delightful journey on the toy train, which operates between Neral station and Matheran hilltop, as well as between Aman Lodge and Matheran, providing a charming and scenic way to reach the hill station. Please refer below toy train timetable for the route between Aman Lodge and Matheran may vary according to the time.

Toy Train Timetable between Aman Lodge to Matheran

Toy Train

Note *: It is important to exercise caution around monkeys in Matheran and avoid eating while walking, as they may attempt to snatch bags and food plates.It is advisable to bring a pair of running shoes as Matheran involves a considerable amount of walking. Additionally, if you are visiting during the rainy season, it is recommended to carry a raincoat or consider obtaining a temporary raincoat available locally.If you have already checked out from your hotel but still have more exploration to do, you can securely store your luggage at MTDC (Matheran Tourism Development Corporation) and continue your adventures without any hindrance.

Conclusion:

Matheran is a paradise nestled amidst nature’s embrace, offering a plethora of breathtaking points, enchanting trails, mesmerizing views. Whether you are seeking a serene escape or an adventurous trekking expedition, Matheran has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and surrender yourself to the embrace of nature in Matheran.

Thank you for reading this blog. Feel free to leave a comment if you require any further information.

2 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Nikita, Welcome aboard to the world of Ghumakkars. I have been to Mumbai many times but could never find enough time to visit Matheran. After reading your fab blog, I am itching to visit this place. Let me pin this page and hopefully I do get to go someday.

    Keep traveling.

  • Nikita Nikumbh says:

    Thank you Nandan for your invaluable feedback and consideration.! I am eager to share more of my travel experiences and contribute further to this wonderful community.

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