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Matheran, Maharashtra

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Matheran, Maharashtra
If you are a traveller on the lookout for unique things, then Matheran suits you just fine. This place, perched atop the Sahyadri range of mountains, has many unique things related to it. It is probably India’s smallest hill station, spread over an area of just 7 square kilometres full of greenish meadows, walkways, and grassland slopes of the hills. It is the only hill station in India, and probably in Asia too, where you do not come across automobiles! Yes, vehicles are banned here, and you would inhale the cleanest air. Discovered in 1850 and soon developed into a hill station by the British, the only connection to the place is through a slow-moving train on a narrow-gauge track from Nerul, about 10 kilometres away. Apart from the great natural settings, you would enjoy moving around the place on ponies, horses, and hand-pulled rickshaws. Vehicles are allowed up to a certain point, and from there, it is time to walk. Located at about 2500 feet above sea level, it is a different kind of place that needs a different mindset to get adjusted to and enjoy as well. If you think you are game, then head to Matheran! The place can be visited around the year, barring the peak monsoon times. It is about 87 kilometres from Mumbai and about 95 kilometres from Alibag, the headquarters of Raigad district. The only direct connectivity is via the above-mentioned rail route.

Nearby Places to See

Shivaji’s Ladder
On the way to a hilltop aptly named ‘One Tree Hill’ because of the presence of a solitary tree at the peak, ladders are placed in two vertical points, crossing which otherwise is impossible. It is believed that Shivaji used these ladders, and hence the name. When the British found Matheran, these ladders were already positioned.
Shivaji’s Ladder
Louisa Point and Charlotte Lake
At a short distance within Matheran are located these two places. Louisa Point provides a fabulous view of the Sahyadri ranges, and the beautiful lake is a great place to walk around. There are many points, variously named, from where tourists can enjoy the beauty of the hills. Eco point, Lord’s point, Honeymoon point, King George point, Little Chowk point, and Sunset point are some of them.
Louisa Point and Charlotte Lake
Vikatgad Fort
A trek to this fort just after the monsoon is an enriching experience. The hike to the fort takes about 75 minutes. A temple named ‘Datta Mandir’ is in the fort. The trek path from Matheran is easy, and many trekkers camp overnight at the temple.
Vikatgad Fort
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Museum
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Museum
Located near the echo point, the museum was created with the sole purpose of educating and informing visitors about the great deeds and valour of Shivaji Maharaj. The mediums used to communicate is through replicas of the weapons and armour used then and through paintings.

The train journey
If you miss the many viewpoints of Matheran, that is still fine, but make it a point to get onto this train commuting between Matheran and Nerul, the only direct connection to Matheran. This heritage rail route, built in the early 19th century by an Indian entrepreneur, makes its way through the beautiful hills and takes nearly 2 hours to cover the 20 kilometres distance. It is a two hour long show of nature on a heritage train route.
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