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Hair pin at Ghat road, Matheran
Matheran (Marathi: is a city and a Hill Station municipal council in Raigad district in the Indianmarker state of Maharashtramarker. It is a hill station in Karjatmarker Tahsil and is also the smallest hill station in India. It is located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level. It is located at , around 90 km from Mumbaimarker, 120 from Punemarker and about 320 km from Suratmarker. Matheran's proximity to the three Metros makes it a popular weekend getaway for urban residents. The name Matheran means either "forest on top" or "mother forest".

Matheran is an eco-sensitive region, declared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. It is one of the few places in the world where vehicles are not allowed, which makes the place different from others. Matheran takes you over a hundred years back in time when there were no vehicles.

Because of vehicles being banned in Matheran, the place is quite peaceful despite the thousands of visitors coming to visit throughout the year.

There are lots of lookout points that provide spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Matheran has a reasonably dense forest cover.

There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the Panorma Point that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and also the Neral town. From this point, the view of sunset and sunrise is breathtaking. The Louisa Point offers crystal clear view of the Prabal Fort. The other points are the One Tree Hill Point, Hart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambgh Point, and more.

History

Matheran was discovered by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collectormarker of Thanemarker 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.

Dasturi Naka
Matheran is connected to the town of Neralmarker 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 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 Karjatmarker 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 Otober 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 deaclared 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.

In the floods of July 2005, around 70% of the railway lines were damaged and did not reopen until April 2007 after repairs at a cost of Rs 2-2.5 crore.

Toy train in Matheran


Matheran has been declared an ecosensitive region by the Union Environment Ministry and can be called a Health Sanatorium in itself. The only form of automobile allowed in Matheran is an ambulance operated by the Municipality. No private automobiles are allowed. Within Matheran transport facilities available are horses and hand-pulled rickshaws.

Matheran is one of the popular getaway for people from Mumbaimarker and Punemarker, it is a quiet hill station located on the Sahyadri range. Matheran, Meaning 'forest on top', was discovered in 1850, by a district collector of Thane, Hugh Poyntz Malet, and the foundations for its development was laid down by Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Mumbai. Matheran has been listed by the Union Environment Ministry as an eco-sensitive region and is connected to the closest town of Neral by a narrow gauge railway, operating since 1907. As no vehicles are allowed in Matheran, one has to drive up to Dasturi Point, 11 km ahead of Matheran, from where you could reach the main bazaar either by foot or on pony.

Matheran lies in an elevated region, enjoys a cooler and less humid climate which makes it popular during the summer months. Temperatures range from 32 °C (90 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F). Matheran has a huge number of medicinal plants and herbs. The town also has a large monkey population, including Bonnet Macaques and Hanuman Langurs. The nearby Lake Charlotte is the main source of Matheran's drinking water.

Languages spoken include Marathi, Hindi, and English. There are a lot of Parsi bungalows. Beautiful old British-style architecture is preserved in Matheran. The roads are not metalled and are made of red laterite earth. There are many "points" (viewpoints) in Matheran which give a panoramic view of the plains below. On clear nights, the lights of Mumbai are claimed to be visible.

Geography

Matheran is located at . It has an average elevation of 800 metres (2224 feet).

Getting to Matheran

Matheran is located about 100 km from Mumbai, 120 km from Pune. and 320 km from Surat. It lies on the busy Mumbai-Pune rail link and the nearest train station is at Neral, approximately 11 km from Matheran. From Neral, one can either rent a taxi (50 rupees for a shared cab, 250 for the whole car) to the entrance of Matheran. From the taxi stop at Matheran, one can walk to the city center or rent a horse (150-200 rupees per horse).

Since October 11, 2008 a bus service has been started till Dasturi Park from Neral and Karjatmarker. For the same reason the cab drivers conducted a one day strike as a mark of protest.

Travel Information

The nearest airport is in Mumbaimarker 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 Punemarker. Matheran can be reached from Mumbai via Navi Mumbai and Panvel. Dastiru Naka is the last stop up to which the vehicles are allowed.

From Surat

Set off on the Surat-Mumbai road (NH-8) through Udhanamarker-Sachin-Palsanamarker (approximately 30 km)

Get on the Suratmarker-Mumbaimarker Highway at Palsana junction and continue till Manor in Maharastra. Stop at Manor from there take left and move towards Bhiwandi. From Bhiwandimarker to Kalyanmarker to Ambarnathmarker to Badlapurmarker 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.

From Mumbai

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 Karjatmarker/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 Karjatmarker 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.

Matheran Ghat
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.

Matheran Entrance
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.

From Pune

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.

By Train

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 Punemarker-Mumbaimarker 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.

Route covered

Neral - Hardal Hill - Jammapatti Station - Bhekra Station - Mount Barry- Panorama Point - Simpson Point - Matheran Bazaar.

By foot

A road inside the Matheran Town
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.

Demographics

 India census, Matheran had a population of 5139. Males constitute 58% of the population and females 42%. Matheran has an average literacy rate of 71%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 66%. In Matheran, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.


Other Attractions

Mount Berry: Mount Berry is a popular tourist destination that is located 5+ km from Matheran. It offers a bird’s eye view of Neral. The major attraction is the slow train that chugs up the hill in the midst of pristine natural beauty.

Charlotte Lake: Also called the Sharlott Lake, Charlotte Lake is one of the most picturesque spots in Matheran. On the right side of the lake, there is the ancient Pisarnath Temple. The two picnic spots Louisa point and Echo point are located on the left side of the lake.

King George Point:

King George Point is on the major tourist attractions in Matheran. Best season to visit this place is monsoon. Tourist can experience the scenic view of waterfalls.

Lookout points: There are around 38 different lookout points in Matheran, from where tourists can view the amazing beautiful valley. The spectacular view of the valley remains in the memory of the tourists for a long time.

Places of interest

Mountain peak near Lord's Point
Beautiful Lake in Matheran
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.

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


References

  1. Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Matheran


External links



Image gallery

Image: Monsoon2006%2CMatheran.JPG|Monsoon 2006, MatheranImage: Roads_at_matheran.jpg|Roadways at Matheran, MatheranImage: Rail_at_matheran.jpg|Sharp turn on the railway line to MatheranImage: Walk to point matheran.jpg|Beautiful path leading up to a view pointImage: MatheranView.jpg| Pleasant view from a hill


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