Matheran was the first trip when we stepped out of the doors with a bit of nervousness and lots of excitement. It was natural though. When we are not in our comfort zone, certainly it makes us act over-cautious.
It was way back in 2008, Matheran was not more than 100 kilometers from Bhayandar where we live. Technically, there wasn’t planning needed, still, I was ready with my Pen and paper.
Planning the journey details
You can address me a detailed planner and respecting this, I started preparation two weeks before. I along with Rajkumar, Sachin and Ravikant began working on the route, allotted time to each destination, fixed targets and so on. But what fun it is when everything goes as per the plan 🙂
I have a dinosaur in my group so the next thing was to make the arrangement of food for him. Packed biscuits, wafers, farsan, chocolates, Dabur Glucose, etc.
One of us begged his girlfriend for Digicam. A digital camera was nothing less than fantasy for us. The excitement was obvious. Unfortunately, we could manage only a few photos with Digicam. All the credit goes to that friend, he was as dumb as us 🙂
The day arrived
It was Saturday, as decided we failed to meet at Bhayandar station at 5 AM. Somehow after gali galauj all four assembled and managed to catch 6:22 AM Churchgate local. From Bhayandar itself we took tickets for Neral. Neral is the base station from where people either catch toy train or hire a taxi to reach Matheran hill station.
We reached Neral around 8 AM and chose to use our legs to touch Matheran.
Walking towards Matheran
There are more than a couple of routes for Matheran hill station. The easiest is, of course, the tar road, rest are trekking routes. We preferred roads 🙂 Climbing was not much difficult especially when you are surrounded by such surroundings.
First one hour was comfortable as we were fresh. We had gained a good amount of height. It was fun watching those tiny houses which clubbed to become villages. Two chavas Kodhi and Gangya (Sachin) from the first minute were wasting time posing in front of their Mobile camera every next step.
Summer kept us away from enjoying beautiful green sceneries and waterfalls. But nonetheless, this place is wonderful throughout the year.
If you travel by toy train from Neral, there’s only one railway station en route and that is Aman lodge. Train halts for 5-7 minutes and moves towards Matheran.
We reached Aman Lodge station soon, it was calm quite windy. The air was dry and warm. It doesn’t sweat in such conditions, but we feel thirsty quite often. Our rationed water was empty much before. Thanks to the Nimbu paani wale and Chaas wale on the route!
Moving ahead just opposite to the railway station we spotted this little jungle. It was fun wandering there.
As the sun went high we decided to look for other options to reach Matheran. Asked a truck driver carrying food and vegetables for some hotel up there if he could take us to Matheran. Negotiated him for Rs.10 each.
Paid the entry fees to the authority to enter the hill station. Collected receipts and started searching for keeping our luggage. Settled for Rs 500 for a single room which was around 400 meters behind the market.
Selecting accommodation away from the market has two advantages
i. You get it comparatively cheaper and
ii. The main reason for visiting hill station i.e. enjoying solitude is hundred percent guaranteed.
We refreshed ourselves and left for the market. The market was around half a kilometer from our accommodation. It was around 1:30 PM that means we were having the whole afternoon. We left for the Lake which takes around 20 minutes from the market. Later we went to Sunset point and Valley point. Do not search for Valley point. It was found and named by us 🙂
|At the Lake.|
We returned to the market around 8 PM. Started hunting for a good and cheap Vegetarian hotel. We came to know of a Jain hotel in one of the by lane in the market. The hotel was certainly nice. Paid Rs 50 for a Veg Thali.
It was darkness all over
When we left the main market it was 101 % dark with mountains and tall trees all around. Our room was around half a km away from the market. It was pretty sure to hear strange voices in the darkness, we ignored considering that of a monkey. Our feet were moving faster to keep pace with each other. We were giving promises to stay together.
This was all because it was our first time. After some distance, we noticed the rail track of toy train which passed from the main market to our room. This made our task easy.
Slept around 3 AM and woke up at 8 AM. Went to the main market, had breakfast and got into the queue to take the ticket for Toy train. From 10 AM to 1:30 PM our time was wasted standing in the queue. The only thing we did after getting the reservation is we went back to our room packed our stuff and returned back to Matheran station as our train was at 2:30 PM. Toy train journey was awesome. I would recommend to either go up or come down by Toy train. From Neral, it was a comfortable journey back to our home 🙂
2 Days 1 Night
Total Expense: Rs. 350 per person