Matheran, a peachy picturesque hamlet wrapped in luxuriant greenery and constantly oozing the immense treasure of immaculate natural splendor is an impeccable and eco-friendly hill station of Maharashtra clasped amidst the sierras of Western Ghats at the altitude of nearly 800 meters above the sea level. Nominated as an ‘Eco Sensitive Region’ by the ‘Ministry of Environment and Forest of Indian Government’, Matheran is one of the few regions in the world where vehicles are utterly prohibited. Located in Karjat Tahsil of the Raigad District at the distance of just 90 kilometers from Mumbai and around 120 kilometers from Pune, Matheran; completely removed from the crazy bedlam of city life is the most idyllic and Arcadian weekend getaway from both these metropolitans.
The denotation of the title ‘Matheran’ refers to ‘the forest situated atop the head’ which clearly indicates the intense woodlands crowning the meridians of the Western Ghats at this locale. Opaque thickets, steep verdurous cliffs, undulating hills, glittering silvery waterfalls, gently meandering river, scarlet earth, unpaved mud tracks and the silky emerald meadows cloaking the landscape – this is the acute word picture of Matheran all set to woo every tender soul. Exceedingly well upheld, unpolluted and soothingly quiescent summer retreat of Maharashtra; Matheran is the tiniest hill station of the Indian Continent. Enriched with numerous trekking trails and about 38 vantage points, Matheran; the cherubic tiara of the Sahyadri Mountain Ranges leaves its visitors absolutely flabbergasted.
In addition to its infinite allure, salubrious climate and unruffled ambience what adds charisma to this chocolate box township is its still retained old world charm emitting the colonial air. The imposing edifices of Matheran established during the British Era have maintained their antique glory till date which exposes the rich legacy of this empyrean precinct. The relics of the days long-gone, the pastoral theme and the atypical ‘no vehicle rule’ of Matheran would transport us straight hundred years back in time. Acclaimed the world over for its toy train running between Neral and Matheran, this miniature hill resort is a proud owner of one of the four toy trains existing in India. Matheran, thoroughly immersed in nature’s glorious kudos entices the picnickers and honeymooners, nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts to no limit.
History of Matheran
Brought into the spotlight from under the veil of its wooded camouflage in May 1850, Matheran was discovered by an Englishman named Hugh Poyntz Malet; the then district collector of Thane. The present day Matheran owes its outright renown and reputation to the British officials who sought refuge in the invigorating lap of Matheran in order to flee from the sweltering heat of the Indian plains. The foundation of Matheran as a hill station was laid by the hands of Lord Elphinstone; the then Governor of Bombay and subsequently during the British Era itself Matheran sprung up as a preeminent summer camp. The legendary ‘Matheran Toy Train’ or the ‘Matheran Hill Railway’ plying between Neral and Matheran and covering the total distance of 20 kilometers was constituted by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy in the year 1907. In October 2009 the officials from the UNESCO World Heritage Site came to Matheran to inspect the Toy Train and the state of Maharashtra is now looking forward to soon becoming the dignified proprietor of yet another UNESCO World Heritage Monument.