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Photographs of Matheran

March 16, 2009

I have written in detail about my favourite hill-station Matheran here, and this post has some additional pictures I took on a recent trip. The drive to Matheran was wonderful as the road has improved considerably since the last time we went. Although it is still a narrow road, it was a pleasure driving up the ghat. Some of the trees had bronze leaves and it gave an autumn-like feel to the scene.

The weather was just perfect, not too hot! The ghat leads to a place called Dasturi which is basically parking lot for cars, but be warned, toilet facilities are bad! A filthy toilet awaits you here in case you want to go.

You cannot take your car up to Matheran. You have to walk or ride and that is really the best part! It’s about an hour’s walk or horseback ride. The air is pure and the mud road not at all crowded.  A horseback ride up the hill can cost anything from Rs 200/- upwards, depending on the distance of your hotel from the main market. There are also hand pulled rickshaws for those who can neither walk nor climb. I have never been in one of these but apparently it’s a very bumpy ride. So is the ride on a horse and my preference is to walk. There are many trees so it’s shady and the incline is a comfortable one. One can hire a coolie to carry the luggage. This too can cost up to Rs 100/- All these rates are negotiable and can decrease during the lean season.

The alternative is to go by train (narrow guage) up to Matheran but the train (from Neral) goes up only twice a day and we have done this only once. A very picturesque ride as it takes you right to the edge of the hills.

railway-line-matheran

Needless to say, the view is breathtaking.  And even more so from the various “points” that are designated for the purpose.

Not much by way of entertainment except for the scenery unless ofcourse you want to try a bowling alley like this!

Or perphas you could go for a fake tattoo!

Those used to street food have probably tasted masala Thums Up but for me it was the first time. Basically it’s Thums Up with a dash of lemon, salt and chat masala. You get masala Sprite and masala lime juice (with soda and spice) too.

This picture below is one of my favourites from the trip. It was a reminder of Holi! As we were going up the ghat, a bunch of kids blocked our way and we were forced to slow down. Our windows were up but they did spray the car with coloured water. Overall though they were harmless and friendly, and moved aside quickly.

We came across this old man as we were walking down the ghat.

I quite liked the arrangement of these trees in the picture below.  I could not help thinking that the tree with green leaves was coming out of hard rock while the tree which had shed its leaves seemed to have some earth to draw its water from. Finally then it depends on the roots, how they twist and turn and how deep they go. I could not help but think of human beings and how some people flower and flourish in tough circumstances while those who have all the opportunities sometimes dominate…but yet fritter away their life by achieving nothing.

Related Reading: How to get to Matheran
Matheran Hotel review – Verandah in the forest

Reading on Indian Holidays:  A trip to Daman
Mahabalipuram – a photo-essay
Places to see in Puducherry

Related Reading on specific locations:
Bull-fighting in India
Tarpa Dance videos (a tribal dance of Maharashtra)
Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram
Aurangabad caves, Bibi ka maqbara and Daulatabad fort

37 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2009 10:21 pm

    Is the last pic that of One-Tree hill point in Matheran?

    • March 16, 2009 10:30 pm

      No, that’s not one tree hill. one tree hill is very very high up. This one was just on the ghat.

  2. Milind Kher permalink
    March 16, 2009 10:29 pm

    There is a freaky way to go up to Matheran all the way on foot, it is called the postman’s route. We used to do it on college treks. It was good fun.

    If you go by train, to jump out of the train, and then run and catch it up again is good fun too!

    A super place, all in all, to go for a weekend.

  3. March 16, 2009 10:44 pm

    Nice pics!

  4. March 16, 2009 11:02 pm

    good pics :) do you have a flickr account ?

    dinu, I do, but have not uploaded many pictures there. Guess I have been too lazy. Plan to do it sometime. – Nita.

  5. March 16, 2009 11:15 pm

    Do you have any pictures of the train?

    • March 16, 2009 11:19 pm

      Unfortunately not. But you can check this flickr site for a nice picture. It’s more like a toy train and real fun to ride in!

      • March 16, 2009 11:23 pm

        Thanks Nita. The boys – and I – really love trains. :)

  6. March 17, 2009 2:04 am

    Ingenious Indian Mind!
    Ex:The bowling alley & the tattoo shop!

    Loved the last pic also :)

    Yeah, that’s what I thought too! We are great entrepreneurs aren’t we! – Nita.

  7. March 17, 2009 5:51 am

    Beautiful!

    I remember we had this Marathi lesson in school – ‘Nisargaaramya Matheran’ :) Been there just once, we used to frequent Mahabaleshwaar more – and my memories of Matheran are overlapping with those of Mahabaleshwar.

    Do they have loads of strawberries and ‘karvanda’ (what’s the English word?!) in Matheran too? I remember those colorful sticks you’d get there – would make a sound like that of a whip! Loved those!

    Somebody please refund my childhood :(

    Gauri, in matheran you don’t get strawberries, that’s mahableshwar. Somehow the latter has always been more popular and I think it is because there are better hotels there. But then that is what makes Matheran better! No motor vehicles are allowed (all provisions arrive on donkeys and ponies) and it is clean and pristine! Not many people like to go here as it is not a place where you can just relax. You have to walk a lot. – Nita.

    g

  8. March 17, 2009 8:27 am

    I had tracked to the One-tree hill. I mean on top of the hill.

  9. March 17, 2009 10:07 am

    Those are some great pics Nita!

  10. March 17, 2009 12:26 pm

    @ Nita : Nice and I liked the pictures of the “amusements”. I have heard of this place from a friend of mine who spent some time there.

  11. March 17, 2009 2:46 pm

    :D ha I want to visit that blowing alley :D

  12. Padmini permalink
    March 17, 2009 3:24 pm

    Good pictures, especially the last one. I’ve never been to Matheran but enjoyed it through your eyes.I quite liked the Hardysque twist at the end:)

  13. March 17, 2009 4:41 pm

    lovely postcard pics !!!

    hey do peep my photoblog : http://amateurclicker.blogspot.com

    I went to Matheran when my kid has just started walking as we wanted him to run on the roads with no traffic…

    It was a fun holiday… I wouldnt mind going again.. we loved the walks.. the fudges… the monkeys… too many of them….

    Nice hotels too…

    lovely weekend break !!

  14. March 17, 2009 9:47 pm

    I have been there and its a great place!! and the snaps are too good :)

  15. March 18, 2009 9:28 am

    Thanks to all who have commented! Am glad you liked the pictures. Photographs number 2 and 3 are two pictures combined into one.

  16. March 18, 2009 9:40 am

    Nita,

    Thats my favorite hill station too.
    Nice pictures!

  17. March 18, 2009 10:46 am

    Revived wonderful memories of an old haunt. I have not been there in over a decade now. Probably a short visit is due now. Thanks Nita.

  18. March 18, 2009 11:36 am

    Really nice pics…thankx for making us(me) aware of such a beautiful place!!!

  19. March 19, 2009 12:34 am

    Wonderful place and pictures. I love untouched areas like that. I guess it must be very big. Everything is so big in India, compared to here.

  20. March 19, 2009 10:45 am

    matheran in the rains is heaven on earth. don’t you think ?

  21. March 19, 2009 10:45 am

    matheran in the rains is heaven on earth. don’t you think ?

  22. March 19, 2009 1:33 pm

    Check your email! Check your email! Check your email! Please help me!! :) :)

  23. March 19, 2009 5:48 pm

    Hey, really nice photos… I was not aware that Matheran is such nice place… Thanks for letting me know… :-)

  24. March 19, 2009 9:00 pm

    Nice! Matheran is so commercialized now, it was very nice about 10 yrs back. There are soooo manyyyy waysss to trek up the mountain that its unbelievable fun! Oh I miss the place…. Thanks fror the pics Nita :)

  25. March 19, 2009 9:06 pm

    I loved the way you thought of different people in different circumstances after looking at the two trees in contrast. Just the sort of thing that usually comes to my mind, so it resonated nicely…

    Oh and nice pics!

  26. March 19, 2009 10:31 pm

    relaxation to the core ahh :P
    and did you have lichi soda ?? :P

  27. vasudev permalink
    March 19, 2009 10:47 pm

    sometime in 1994 i had visited matheran along with my wife, children,my sister and her family. we went by the toy train (i think it was run by the tatas then). had to walk a long distance from the station to our hotel (as matheran is a protected hill station and no pollutants are allowed there).

    one thing i remember even till this day.on an afternoon we all decided to explore a route into the forest which ran by the side of our hotel. we were thinking of camping slightly into the forest and so we had some bags containing bananas and fruits. into the forest and walking down a shadowy rutted path we were suddenly pounced upon by an army of large monkeys,all teeth baring and threatening. my god! had a shock of my life! had to dump it all. an ex-financier monkey made off with my sister’s handbag. fortunately it contained only a few rupees.

    the journey up and down matheran by train was interesting at first. on the way we could see people with backpacks trekking up.

  28. March 20, 2009 2:57 am

    I had no idea that there were toy trains anywhere besides in Shimla and Darjeeling! That must be a fun ride.
    Thanks for sharing the pics!

    • vasudev permalink
      March 20, 2009 12:47 pm

      you have the toy train running between mettupalayam and ooty also (all of 5 hrs). but somehow one tends to get bored after some time, looking at the same sights over and over again and progressing at snail’s pace.

      there is one more ride you can enjoy between vizag and kulu valley (some 90 plus tunnels…the rail line was laid by my mother’s uncle (project in-charge) sometime during the british raj. this isn’t exactly a toy train. it is a regular broad gauge (now, earlier it was a meter gauge track). it is used to ferry ore from orissa mines to vizag sea port.

  29. March 20, 2009 9:09 am

    Nice pictures, Nita.
    How far is Matheran from Mumbai?
    I recently visited Aamby valley and Khandala. Aamby valley was especially beautiful. Hill stations in Maharashtra are very different from hill stations in the North. We didn’t need warm clothes even in the evenings. How is the weather in Matheran?

    • March 20, 2009 2:03 pm

      Weather is cool, cooler than in Mumbai but certainly doesn’t require more than a light sweater in winter. It is only 2 hours drive from Mumbai, not counting the walk up the hill. And you came all the way to Khandala and didn’t contact me. :(

  30. March 21, 2009 5:06 pm

    Nita, I was in Aamby valley for 3 days and then for sometime in Khandala. I didn’t stay in Mumbai. I am looking forward to meet you during my next visit or in case you are in Delhi before that.

  31. openlight permalink
    March 22, 2009 3:31 pm

    “Finally then it depends on the roots, how they twist and turn and how deep they go. I could not help but think of human beings and how some people flower and flourish in tough circumstances while those who have all the opportunities sometimes dominate…but yet fritter away their life by achieving nothing.”

    It may be other way round also, but its to individual’s perception. We can also visualize that the tree below has flourished only because it has opportunity of getting more water due to proximity to ground and more likelihood of water during rains than the above one. (it also sounds logical) And the above one has fritter away due to non-availability of water / opportunity and there is competition just around.

  32. Ritvik permalink
    April 4, 2009 1:03 pm

    Why is it your favorite hill station again?
    Have you ever been to Nainital, Mussorie, Ooty, or the rohtang pass for that matter?
    Matheran is definitely on my TO- VISIT list, but does it even compare to any of the above?

    Ofcourse not Ritvik. Matheran is a much smaller place. It’s my favourite because it’s not polluted. No vehicles are allowed there. It has a particular charm that none of the others you mentioned can even compare. But then that is just my personal opinion. – Nita.

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