The closest hill station to Mumbai, Matheran (which means "Mother Forest") lies at a height of 803 m (2,635 ft) above sea level. Matheran is a city and a municipal council in Raigarh district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a hill station in Karjat Tahsil. It is the tiniest hill station in India. This picturesque town is situated in the forested Sahyadri Hills. In 1855, Lord Elphinstone, the governor of Bombay, visited Matheran, and the town soon became fashionable. The stately Elphinstone Lodge that he built became his weekend retreat. A railway line was laid in 1907, and a quaint toy train still winds its way slowly through hills and forests from the junction at Neral. All motor vehicles are completely banned within the limits of the town, making it uniquely peaceful, despite the burgeoning crowds of visitors, particularly on weekends.
Matheran Quick facts
Matheran Geography and Climate
Geography: It is located at 18.59� N 73.18� E, around 90 km from Mumbai and about 120 km from Pune. Matheran's proximity to the two cities makes it a popular weekend getaway for urban residents. Climate: Matheran does not face extremes of temperature and enjoys a pleasant climate. During the summers the maximum temperature is 32 degrees centigrade and during the winters the temperatures goes down to 16 degrees centigrade. The annual rainfall records 524 cm. October to May is the best time to visit Matheran.
Best time to visit Matheran
The ideal time to travel to Matheran is between October and May.
This hill station closest to Mumbai still has stone villas, graveyards and churches that remind you of the bygone Raj days even today! Its pastoral beauty is especially pristine thanks to a blanket motor transport ban. Matheran has been declared as the eco-sensitve area by the Ministry of Union Environment. This place is a sanitarium of both red-faced and black-faced monkeys. The hills and valleys of Matheran also house the rare and vital herbs and other medicinal plants. The only form of transport within Matheran is horses and hand-pulled rickshaws.
Matheran Near Getaways
Gateway of India; Mumbai : Every visitor to Mumbai comes to look at the exaggerated colonial marker known as the 'Gateway of India', a yellow basalt arch of triumph officially opened in 1924. Panchgani : Snuggled in the Sahyadri Mountain Ranges, Panchgani is one of the most beautiful hill stations of Maharashtra. It makes a nice excursion from the jostling city of Mumbai. This 6-hour journey will never let you get bored, especially when Krishna River will accompany you throughout the way.
Amid the green Jambol forest, situated at 803 metres (2, 635 ft.) above sea level, this quaint little hill-station in Maharashtra covers an area of 8 square kilometers in Sahyadri. Discovered by an Englishman, this hilltop retreat around 120 kms from Pune,90 kms from Mumbai is a green patch in the Western Ghats.
How to reach Matheran by Road
Mumbai is 104 kms away from Matheran via Karjat and Neral. Matheran is 120 kms from Pune. You can avail of taxis from Neral to Dastoori car park. No vehicles are allowed inside Matheran and ponies are the convenient mode of communication inside the town.
How to reach Matheran by Rail
Matheran has a narrow gauge railway which links the town to Neral. Neral is on the busy Mumbai-Pune route with its broad gauge connectivity. Neral is well connected by railway line with Karajat being the nearest junction. The Matheran Hill Railway was built in 1907 by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, covering a distance of 20 kms meandering through verdant forest territory.
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How to reach Matheran by Air
The nearest airport is Mumbai about 100 kms from Matheran. Next closer airport is in Pune about 120 kms away.
Matheran Festivals and culture
Almost all the festivals celebrated by Hindus and Muslims at Mumbai are celebrated here also. Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important festival celebrated throughout the Maharashtra state.
Marati culture prevails in this place. Majorities of the locals are Hindu and Muslims. The locals are friendly and hospitable. The main language is Marathi.
Matheran Religious Places
The Britishers built two churches here - the Anglican St. Paul's Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholic Church : A visit to the Old Raman Catholic Holy cross church is worth a detour. Although the church is practically falling apart, its stained-glass windows are still a sight to behold. This deserted church is now looked after by a Hindu family. Pisarnath Temple; (Near Charlott lake) : This temple is situated on the left of Charlott lake, which is about 2 kms from the Post Office.
Prabal Fort: It is believed that Sivaji found substantial treasure on the fort when he captured the fort from the Mughals. The ruined fortifications once included eleven towers and two gateways. In 1818 the gates had long been destroyed, and the works were everywhere falling, the walls of three or four buildings being all that remained. On the top of the hill was a large pond.
Matheran Entertainment and Night Life
Perched high in the mountains of the Western Ghat range, Matheran is a cool, unpolluted oasis in the heat of the Indian summer, and a paradise for walkers and horse riders. Matheran is good for trekking. If you want to trek, it will take 3 hours to reach the hill top. Shivaji's Ladder: A path down to the valley from One Tree Hill point, which is a scenic spot. It offers picturesque views of the surrounding hills and is an ideal place for trekking. For the adventure trekkers, the interesting places to visit are the romantic precipice called the "Byron Garbutt Point", "Panorama Point". A not to be missed adventure is a ride up to the top of the hill station in the world's smallest gauge commercial train - one of the last mini trains in the world.
There is no nightlife in Matheran. One can only count a few million stars on a clear night while listening to an orchestra of crickets and other insects.
Kidding around Matheran
Charlott Lake; (Picnic spot) : Boating, swimming and fishing is strictly prohibited as this lake provides drinking water to the town. Fulfilling the entire need of Matheran, Charlotte Lake is a beautiful picnic spot. Panthers' Caves and Paymaster Park are big attractions for children.
Kapadia Market: This is the main market in Matheran. It was built in April 1917 by P.N.Kapadia in memory of his wife. The market has many interesting shops and offers a variety of attractive items like cane and leather articles, hats, chappals, riding boots and food stuff such as popular sweet 'Chikki' made locally.
Famous To Eat at Matheran
Matheran is famed for its Honey and for Chikki, a toffee-like confection made of gursugar and nuts which is sold at many shops. Most of the 'resort' hotels cater for their own guests, which means there's little incentive for the few independent restaurants to turn out decent food. It's best to arrange meals with one of the hotels (especially Lord's) if you're not on full board. There's a string of snack bars along MG Marg as well as a couple of basic restaurants such as the Shangrila and Satyavijay.
Matheran Museum and Hill Stations
Matheran - Hill Staion: Matheran is the nearest Hill station to Mumbai. Matheran is slightly above the plains so it is cool and provides escape from the heat of Mumbai. Getting to Matheran is great fun; from Neral Junction you take a tiny narrow-gauge toy train up the 21 km route to the hill station. A 2 hour journey through the steep slopes and lovely trees is worth experiencing. Matheran has as many lookout points. The highest view point of Matheran is Mount Barry. Mount Berry: It is about 5 kms from the Post Office. A splendid view of train coming up the hill right from Neral Water Pipe and perfect Aerial view of Neral Town can be seen from here. Porcupine Point or Sunset Point: A favourite with sightseers, is known for its spectacular sunsets. Louisa Point : It has views of the ruined Prabal Fort and a mountain trail called Shivaji's Ladder. Hart Point: The most impressive viewpoint is Hart Point, from where it is possible, on a clear day, to see Mumbai in the distance. Echo point: This point has a wonderfully panoramic view where you can enjoy your echo as well. Chowk Point: It is about 4 km from the Post Office. From here Karnala Fort, near Panvel, Vishalgad, Prabal Fort, One Tree Hill, Karjat, Palasdari and Chowk Village can be seen.
Gardens and Parks at Matheran
Panthers' Caves and Paymaster Park are big attractions for children. Paymaster Park: This historic park is a popular picnic spot in Matheran with different varieties of flowers and beautifully arranged benches. The statues of Malet, Lt.Col. Paymaster and S. L. Panday are erected here for their contribution to the place. Nawroji Lord Garden: Built in memory of Lord Nowroji, it is situated near the Kapadia Market. There is a fountain in the centre of the garden, erected in memory of Vithalrao Kotwal, who lost his life during the national movement in 1942. The garden is centrally situated and always well crowded. A radio is placed here for music-lovers.
Lake at Matheran
Charlott Lake : This lake 50 feet deep was built in 1956. Water from this lake gets filtered and is supplied to the entire town of Matheran. This lake is about 2 kms from the Post Office has beautiful scenery and greenery. On the left is Pisarnath Temple, Echo Point, Louisa Point are on the right side of it. Since this lake supplies drinking water to the town, boating, swimming and fishing is strictly prohibited. Malet Spring: It is about 1-1/2 km from the Post Office. During whole year passers by and tourists can drink the cool water of this spring.
Matheran Travel Tips
No vehicles are allowed inside Matheran and ponies are the convenient mode of communication inside the town. Loose cotton attire is suitable and comfortable during summer and in winter light woolens are preferred. Carry a route map.
Matheran Tourist Offices
Govt. of India Tourist Office, Churchgate, Mumbai. Ph: 022- 2209 3229 Maharashtra State Tourism Development Corporation's (MTDC) C.D.O. Hutments, Opp. L.I.C. Building, Madame Cama Road, Mumbai-400 020. Ph: +91 22 2202 6713 / 7762 / 4627
Must do at Matheran
A visit to various view points at this hill station is a must.
Not to do at Matheran
It is better to avoid the rainy season for visiting this place as the trails become very dirty and the place virtually shuts down.