Friday, December 11, 2009

Travel Diary : Matheran

Hill View, Matheran, originally uploaded by atanu.maity.

Matheran is the nearest hill station to Mumbai, The names means Jungle Topped or Wooden Head. It 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. 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 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.

Matheran was discovered by Hugh Malet in 1850. The British developed Matheran as a popular tourist resort.

At an elevation of around 800m (2,625 ft) above sea level Matheran is a hill station located about 100 km from Mumbai. Matheran literally means jungle on top. All vehicles (Except emergency vehicles) are banned here. The only modes of transport are on Horseback, by man-pulled rickshaw, or on foot. Every one living in cities needs this sort of change once in a while.

Old British-style architecture has been preserved in Matheran and most structures are now heritage structures.

Matheran has been declared an eco sensitive region by the Union Environment Ministry (GoI). Quite uniquely, Matheran is free of all forms of motor vehicles, amking it in unbelively tranquil repite after the congestion of Mumbai. It is ringed by many km of walking tracks, while lead to lookouts that drop sheer to the plains. On a clear day the views are fantastics.

Getting to Matheran is the half the fun; from Neral junction you take a tiny narrow-gauge toy train up to 21 km route to the hill station. It's a two hour ascent as the train winds its way up to steep slopes and, at one point, passes through tunnel.

Going Around

Porcupine/Sunset Point is a good place for ctaching the sunset, but Panaroma Point, at the extreme north, is said to have the finest views. The western side, from Porcupine to Luisa point, is known as Cathedral Rocks, and Neral can be seen far below, straddling the central line, At the south, naer One Tree Hill, is a trail down to the valley blow known as Shivaji Ladder.

Getting There

Train from Mumbai CST, only a few of the Pune express stop at Neral Junction. If you are back to Pune or Mumbai after Matheran, It is best take local train first to Karjat and then pick up one of the frequent trains from there. From Neral you can take share taxi or Toy train to reach Matheran. Most of the year the tpy train leaves from Neral to Matheran at 8:30, 11:00 and 17:00.

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