Are you looking for the best time to visit Matheran? Let’s talk about some history of Matheran before covering up the article. Matheran holds a special place in our hearts, not only because of its location and position, but also due to the fact that it is a quite popular hill station. Matheran, which literally means “forest on the forehead” is located in the Western Ghats in the Karjat district.
The Matheran was discovered by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the district collector of Thane in 1850 and its foundation was laid by Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Mumbai around the same time. It was developed as a hill station to provide relief to the colonizers from the sweltering Bombay summers.
About Matheran Hill Station
The hill station is spread over an area of 7 sq. km. It is covered in a vast expanse of lush greenery and a thick canopy of trees which is protected by the Maharashtra State Forest Division. It was declared as an Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ) by the Union Environment Ministry on the 4th of February 2004. Declaring it ESZ has made it impossible for industries and hazardous factories to set ground on or around the hill station.
All the untouched greenery and the variety of flora and fauna have made it quite a haunt amongst urban crowd who yearn for nature’s touch. To protect the nature, the municipality department has also included measures like banning motor vehicles to reduce the carbon footprint. One can reach the top through the means of the Toy Train. It is a narrow-gauge railway which runs from Neral to Matheran.
If you are planning to visit Matheran, we are here to help you in planning each and every step. From deciding what is the best time to visit Matheran, to finding out how to reach Matheran hill station, we are with you.
Let us first tell you about what all is in store for you when you visit Matheran. A hub of natural beauty and greenery, Matheran has many tourist destinations and viewpoints which offer a stunning view of sunrise/sunset and the greenery to the onlookers.
What to do in Matheran
1. Dodhani Waterfalls
If you are an adventure junky, then you must visit Dodhani Waterfalls and try waterfall rappelling. It is an activity that will get your adrenaline rushing and will pump you up. All the safety precautions are taken care of and high-quality equipment like ropes, gloves and harnesses are used for a totally secure and enjoyable experience.
Even if you are not much of a thrill seeker and prefer to enjoy in peace in the midst of nature, you can do so by spending time near the bottom of the falls with the cool water gushing all over you. It is the perfect spot to relax and meditate. Waterfall rappelling is affordable, and the price is reasonable too at 1550 INR per head. The activity is solely for adults. It is one of the most beautiful spots in Matheran.
2. Charlotte Lake
Located a stone’s throw away from Matheran Railway Station, Charlotte Lake (say, Sharlott Lake), is a place to be at during monsoons. It is at its capacity during this point and is very serene and beautiful. The Pisharnath Mahadev mandir situated on one of its banks is a must visit for everyone, devotees, or no devotees.
Also, this lake makes an interesting spot for birdwatching. One can visit here early in the morning to spot various species of birds and enjoy in the nature’s lap. This spot is ideal for nature lovers and birdwatching enthusiasts.
3. Irshalgad Fort
This Irshalgad Fort is situated between Matheran and Panvel and is a companion fort to Prabalgad. It is one of the best places to visit during monsoons and winters. A day trek would be the best option as it is not a very big trek, and the weather is also pleasant throughout the day. It is a bit humid, so try to complete the trek by mid-day.
4. Ambarnath Shiv Temple
A city rich in heritage and culture, Matheran and its ancient buildings have survived the test of time to give us some amazing sights to behold. The Ambernath Shiv Temple is one such example. It is located about 37 odd kms away from the Matheran railway station along the river Waldhuni. It is supposed to be constructed by King Mahamandaleshwar in the year 1050 A.D. to honor his ancestors.
Intricately carved in stone, this masterpiece is formed in Hemadpanthi architectural style. You can also visit the Ambarnath temple too to explore its beauty.
5. Rock Climbing
This place is famous for its adventure activities like rappelling and hiking. You can also try rock climbing to get pumped. You can try the spots like Louisa Point, Alexander Point, Prabalgad and Shivaji chi shidhi.
The Garbett point to Matheran is a quite popular overnight trip as well. You can do this trip if you are down for extreme rock climbing. The price per head is nominal and quite affordable at Rs. 600.
6. Chanderi Caves
Chanderi Caves is one of the many tourist attractions you can visit when in Matheran. It is situated between Matheran and Karjat and it offers a delightful trekking experience. The paths are curvy and twisted and the view, magnificent.
You can observe the tops of four mountain ranges from the Chanderi caves summit. It’s a view worth dying for!! It is a moderate trek that can be done within 3 hours and is an experience of a lifetime. It is a haven for adventure and nature lovers.
7. Rambagh Point
One of the most popular and beautiful points of Matheran, the Rambagh point offers us a picturesque view of Karjat, Garbett point and Khandala. If luck favors you, you might also get to experience a very beautiful sunset view from this point. It is correctly called the ‘Sunset Point’ too.
Though the weather is pleasant and comfortable all the year around, the best time to visit Matheran Hill Station is between October and May. After September, when the monsoon has retreated, the hill station becomes cool, and the temperature is perfect for sightseeing.
8. Neral-Matheran Toy Train
Last but not the least, the toy train is the main attraction of Matheran and one of the few ways of transportation to the hill station. The classic “jhugg-jhugg gaadi” as locals and children’s stories state them to be, it is a totally fun and safe ride.
It covers a distance of nearly 21 kms in its totality and you can observe and enjoy the beautiful and virgin nature along the way. It is also listed as an UNESCO world heritage site, so trying out the toy train when in Matheran is a must!!
Best Season to visit Matheran
You might be wondering, “which season is best for Matheran”? We recommend you visit during Summer, which is the best time to visit Matheran as the city temperatures are soaring and the hill station provides the much-needed relief from the heat.
You can also buy souvenirs and antiques from the small traders and flea markets that are dotted all around the hill station. The specialty of this place is the chikki, which is made of nuts and jaggery, and leather products as well.
In my personal opinion, you should visit Matheran at least once and try the non-veg thalis from Annapurna restaurant. The meat is very tender and melts in the mouth. Also, their gravy is homemade, has a touch of love added to its flavours and has a secret recipe.
We hope all these points and suggestions make your trip a wonderful one and also, if you know any other secret points or any great restaurants, then feel free to let us know in the comments section!!