India’s smallest hill station, Matheran is worlds apart from the nearby city of Mumbai, offering you a peaceful enclave surrounded by scenic lookouts and forested mountains. The town’s name translates to “Jungle Above”, and you’ll no doubt feel transported to an ethereal place, thanks to the pedestrianised streets, old British-style architecture and ancient Parsi bungalows.
Things to do in Matheran
Matheran’s biggest appeal is its surrounding natural spoils and mountain lookouts, such as Louisa Point, known for its challenging hiking trail and panoramic views of ancient forts and deep valleys. Soak up views of undulating hills and valleys from Alexander Point or enjoy a picturesque outlook of mountains around Charlotte Lake from Echo Point.
Active travellers will enjoy the trek up to Kalavantin Durg, an ancient fortification on a 700-metre-high hill that is only accessible by a steep trail. The views of Mumbai from its peak are truly worth the effort. Shivaji's Ladder is another popular hiking spot, providing the perfect environment for bouldering and rock climbing with its craggy terrain.
Don’t miss seeing some of the surrounding waterfalls, such as Dodhani Waterfall, which is popular with abseiling groups. The trek to Matheran Waterfall rewards you with wildlife and verdant nature, while Ashane Waterfall boasts an alluring swimming hole. Visit Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir, a revered Shiva temple near Charlotte Lake and the oldest of its kind in Matheran.
Within the town, you can purchase delicious Indian cuisine at Shabbir Bhai Biryani or Garden View Veg Restaurant. Relax in the serene Matheran Municipal Garden or browse clothing, handbags and footwear in the boutiques spread out along Kasturba Road.
Getting around Matheran
Matheran is best reached by catching a train from Neral, which is about eight kilometres from Matheran and 75 kilometres from Mumbai. Cars are banned from Matheran, so you’ll need to walk, ride on horseback or use the man-pulled rickshaws to get around.