I have lost the count of the number of times I have been there, but it is quite some time since my last visit and so, it’s TimeToRevisit – Matheran!
Matheran is a quaint little hill-station near Mumbai. Because of its proximity to the city, it is a favourite weekend get-away for the Mumbaites. But my reason is a bit different. I enjoy the place because it is just pure nature — nothing else.
Motor-vehicles are not allowed in this hill-station, so the place has got a sort of untouched air about it. One can either ride a horse or walk for miles along the tree-covered, red-soil paths….. with only monkeys or chirping of the birds for company. It is pure bliss!
We can drive in our car up to the hill station, but have to leave the car one level below in the car park and then walk up to our hotel/resort. (We cannot use our vehicles while we are staying there). Other alternative is to take the mini train from its starting point (Neral) at the base of the hills. This train then meanders its way leisurely through the forest-covered scenic hills and valleys. This journey is like an appetiser before the actual meal.
There is a market place near the train station and that’s the only busy part of the whole place. Most of the hotels and resorts are little away, tucked beneath the shadowy trees. Places to visit are the far off cliffs or ‘Point’ that give a breathtaking view of surrounding mountain ranges and ravines.
Every morning and evening all that we do is walk and then walk some more along the serene, cool beautiful paths of red soil. The quiet of the place is interrupted only by various bird calls or the hooting of monkeys.
Monkeys are in great numbers and ubiquitous. Some of them are quite bold and ferocious, too. I remember, once during my childhood days, I stepped out in the resort balcony (to watch a monkey from close quarters) with a toast in my hand. The monkey suddenly pounced, bared his scary fangs and snatched the toast from my hand. With passing years, they are growing more fearless. During my last visit there, while returning from the market with boxes of famous chikki (sweets made from dry fruits and jaggery), a huge male monkey jumped and tried to snatch my bag. Only after a round of tug-of-war could I retrieve my goodies.
A perfect place to enjoy some peaceful moments away from the hub-bub of the city life. But things do change with time. The last time I was there (almost a decade ago), bright neon signs and blaring music-systems had already begun to disrupt the quiet of the place. The clean, pristine nature was littered with empty chips packets and beer bottles, thrown around by the groups of hikers. So I just hope that the tiny spot of natural beauty, nestled amidst the folds of Sahyadri Mountains, is still as pristine as ever.
(Please excuse the quality of the pictures, as these are from pre-digital times)
This post is written for IndiSpire Edition 175: #TimeToRevisit , Proposed by Anita.