Location: Neral, Maharashtra
Height: 2,625 ft.
Recommended Season: Anytime
WHAT TO SEE DURING TREK?
Matheran is a Hill Station and a municipal council in the Raigad district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a hill station in Karjat 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 around 90 km from Mumbai, and 120 km from Pune. Matheran's proximity too many metropolitan cities makes it a popular weekend getaway for urban residents. Matheran, which means "forest on the forehead" (of the mountains) is an eco-sensitive region, declared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. It is Asia's only automobile-free hill station.
There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the Panorama 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 dramatic. 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, Rambagh Point, and more.
The trail to one tree hill from Ambewadi is also called the Shivaji ladder route. Midway through the trail near the end of the thick forest, you come across a mass of boulders and rocks into which the trail disappears. This is known as Shivaji Steps or the Shivaji Ladder. According to local legend, Shivaji rode up this route on horseback. From here, it’s 500m to the top, up a stream bed that’s dry except during the monsoon.
Some of the popular sites include: Lake Charlotte - a spectacular waterfall overflows from the lake during and shortly after the monsoons. At other times, it is peaceful surrounded by dense evergreen forests, bird song and pretty butterflies.
Panorama point - This point is a very beautiful one, for you can see a panoramic view of the hills on the left and a beautiful Ulhas River to the right. This point is quite far from Matheran station / market, but you can negotiate a good price for your travel if you do not feel like walking. This point is perfect for Sunrise and is also called "Sunrise Point."
Heart Point - Here one can see a beautiful scene of the valley and this point looks like heart, so it is named so.
Monkey Point - Here you can see the monkeys in large numbers and their mischief life-sized.
Luisa Point - The view from here to the waterfall (run off from Charlotte Lake) during the monsoon is spectacular.
Honeymoon Hill - According to Locals, a British Officer had his Honeymoon actually arranged at this point. Also, latter Parsis used to harvest honey at his point, hence its name.
Echo Point - True to its name, this point has some superb Echo effect! Feel free to scream loud at the point and hear the echo coming from distant places through the valleys!
• Charlotte Lake
• Lords Point
• One tree Hill - A unique hill, which has only one big tree growing on it. The way to reach the hill is a bit risky and steep.
• Olympia - There is a Horse Race-course.
• Paymasters Park
• Mount Barry
• Artist Point
• Khandala Point- Very close to the Matheran Market Place.
• Alexander Point
• Rambaug Point
• Little Chowk Point -Spectacular view and towards the South most tip of Matheran.
• Chowk Point - Spectacular view and towards the South most tip of Matheran.
• Sunset(Porcupine) Point
• Garbut point
One must do adventure in Matheran is VALLEY CROSSING. It’s from Honeymoon point to near Louisa Point. It’s basically a U- shaped mountain and you have to go from one side to other side ( approx. 900 feet) hanging on rope with 1000 feet valley below It works worth 3 ropes, pulleys and Gravity. So it’s one way. So coming back is by walking or you can ask your Horse-Man to come to that point to pick you up. Mind you - It’s definitely not for weak-hearted. But you get a bird's eye view of the valley. And it’s definitely a once in life-time experience.
There are numerous points all over Matheran, many of which provide some fantastic views of the valley below. While the central area and marked vistas are crowded, it is quite easy to find yourself all alone if you step off the beaten track. There are numerous forested trails leading to most of the Points. Wear thick soled footwear and carry a walking stick for greater comfort as some of the trails are very rubbly, nothing more than dry river beds.
Horse riding is also quite popular way of getting around in Matheran.
By Air: Nearest Airport: Mumbai Airport which is about 100 km away, By Rail: Nearest Railway Station: Mumbai Railway Station is the nearest one, By Road: Take taxi or Bus from Mumbai or Pune to Matheran.