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Matheran the best hill station near Mumbai and Pune

April 15, 2007

This is one of my favorite hill stations, and was always my favorite weekend getaway. Located on a plateau in the western ghats of India, it remains a favorite because it is still pure and untouched. It is probably the only place in India where motor vehicles are not allowed. That is why it remains unpolluted and has retained its closeness to nature. If you like pure air, greenery, a hilly terrain and long walks by the lake, you will love Matheran.

To get around one has to walk or use a horse or a hand pulled rickshaw which is a single seater. In fact that is the main activity here. Walking or horseback riding. The view from different ‘points’ like Alexander Point and Khandala Point can be quite breathtaking. Its no fun traveling in the rickshaw though, and we generally hire a rickshaw to carry our luggage up, if necessary.

In the last few years plenty of fancy hotels have come up and you have something for every kind of tourist – you can get a fancy meal, swimming pool and satellite television. And also your dal roti, street chinese and rolls.

The Lake is one of the main attractions although there is no boating or swimming allowed. Walking around the lake can be a real pleasure. You see those trees on the bank? Well, there is a road behind them and its dark, shady and beautifully rough! A great place to wander around and absolutely safe.

Be careful of monkeys though. Generally tourists are advised not to eat anything while walking, or carry food in bags and monkeys could snatch it away. However the monkeys generally do not harm human beings but to be on the safe side don’t let your kid wander about alone.

To reach Matheran, one can either drive (it is about 2-3 hours from Mumbai) and park one’s vehicle at Dasturi Naka. From here one can either walk (about 2 kms uphill) or take a horse or rickshaw. It takes about 45 minutes to walk up if one goes at an average pace. Some sort of canteen is available at Dasturi Naka for tea and snacks, but nothing great. Some drivers sleep in their cars here until their employers return from their trip up in Matheran. You need a good car to drive up to Dasturi Naka. The ghat, though short, is fairly steep. Roads are narrow and there are hairpin bends.

Another way to reach Matheran is by train. This light railway started in 1907 and its starting point is at Neral, which lies inbetween Mumbai and Pune. Neral is well connected by train from both from Mumbai and Pune. It is quite a delight to travel by this train! Children specially love it as it is like riding on a toy train. The view along the way is fantastic. The air pure. This train had shut down recently (usually it does during the monsoons) as the very heavy monsoon in 2005 had washed away the tracks but the train is now running again after a gap of two years.

There are all kinds of hotels here and there is something to suit every pocket. Whether you are student, a family, or a couple who wants a romantic getaway, you will find something to suit your needs and your pocket.

There is not much to buy here though the main road is choc-o-bloc with shops selling everything from sweets and chikkis to chappals and trinkets.

If you live either in Mumbai and Pune or a nearby town, Matheran is not a place to be missed. It is not green all the year round but even when it’s dry, it is beautiful!


Related Reading: Matheran Hotel review – Verandah in the forest

12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2007 12:37 pm

    u bet….Matheran is my fav place too..have been there 5-7 times..but sitll cnt get enough of it

  2. April 15, 2007 8:44 pm

    Nita – Matheran sounds beautiful from your description. The idea of monkeys being in the woods, ready to snatch food from your hand in little raids is one I will hold onto while walking around the path at Rolley Lake here this spring. Unfortunately, no monkey sightings for me here, at this latitude, but a similar pleasure to be had walking over the rough roots of the trail, and glimpsing the sheen of the lake from between the trunks of the trees. I hope you get lotss of visits in Matheran this year. 🙂

  3. pallavi permalink
    April 27, 2007 3:18 pm

    verygood description of place

  4. aman permalink
    May 11, 2007 12:04 am

    it is excellent place and scenic beauty for fun thanks for the site too

  5. May 24, 2007 9:42 pm

    This is an excellent guide to Matheran. We have provided this as the destination guide in our site. Link opens to this blog. Please check at,com_mtree/task,listcats/cat_id,74/Itemid,30/

  6. March 17, 2009 3:48 am

    Intresting, is it somehow in the area of Mahabaleshwar?

    Nita, and I also wanted to ask what you think of the Mulshi lake near Pune

    I wonder why it is not much known althought it is such a gem? 🙂

    Well, Mahableshwar is much further, at least 5 hours from mumbai while matheran is about two and a half hours at the most. Both are located in the hill regions of the Deccan plateau which falls in western maharashtra. Mahableshwar is more commercialized than Matheran. What is unique about Matheran is that no motor vehicles are allowed here and it is pollution free – Nita.

    • March 17, 2009 2:10 pm

      wow, that is really interesting! – pollution free, must be very valuable.

  7. March 17, 2009 3:51 am

    Nita, is this place related to Mahabaleshwar?

    And I wanted to ask you also about the Mulshi Lake near Pune ( – I wonder why is it not much known althought it is so incredibly beautiful?

    Axinia, I think it is not an organized tourist place, but simply a picnic spot. I have been there several times, and as you said, it is incredibly beautiful. – Nita.

    • March 17, 2009 2:12 pm

      Yes, incredibly beautiful – and I am just wondering how touristic business have not discovered it yet. Luckily 🙂

  8. visha malbari permalink
    December 29, 2009 10:29 pm

    as u said matheran is really very good place to hang on the climate over there is owe-some and fantastic i enjoyed a lot over there

  9. Lt Col Rama permalink
    October 24, 2011 8:36 pm

    I intend going to matheran on 01/02 Nov with my 2 small kids (11 & 3 Yrs) from Pune. would it be very cold? what would be an average rent for a double room? Any contact address for hotel and toy train.? please help.

  10. Ujjawala permalink
    February 22, 2013 12:06 pm

    Which time is best to visit Matheran?

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