Not so far from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, in the Sahyadri range of Western Ghats is Matheran. A cosy, quiet and beautiful little hill station at the elevation of 2,600 ft above sea level. Matheran is the smallest village in India and one of the very few place in the world that do not allow any vehicles. The second you step into Matheran, you feel like you've opened a gate to the past. The name of the village translates to "overhead forest" and is highly popular among tourists for a short trip, spectacular views and serenity.
What makes Matheran special?
Matheran is a beautiful village with red-soiled roads, automobile free pathways which means no honking at all and surrounded by lush green forests. The pollution-free cool and fresh air here is the reason why tourists visit Matheran all year round. Just like all other hill stations, Matheran is known for its viewpoints. It has 36 viewpoints from where you can enjoy looking at the alluring Sahyadri mountain range. You can reach most of these viewpoints following an easy trekking trail and they offer mesmerizing views of the mountains, sunset, sunrise and everything else. A trek in and around Matheran is all about exploring the magic of the little town and getting lost in its beauty.
Matheran Toy Train
Phul Rani is a small 2 feet gauge line toy train service that connects Neral to Matheran. It is an unmatchable experience travelling in this train, meandering up the hill and admiring the scenic beauty of greenery and hill-top view. This half-hour ride is enjoyed by kids and grown-ups too. The tickets can only be bought at the Aman Lodge in Dasturi Park, 45 minutes before the train departs. 7 trains run is a day at a gap of 1 to 1 and half hour, starting from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
Best time to Visit
The best time to visit Matheran is from April to May and October to January. During this time, the weather is pleasant for sightseeing and trekking.
How to reach Matheran
By Air: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai is the closest at 44 km from Matheran.
By Road: The Mumbai-Pune Highway connects Matheran to these major cities. Road transports can take you to the outskirts of the town, from there you can walk or take a horse-pulled carriage.
By Train: As already mentioned, you can take the toy train to Matheran.