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Things To Do In Matheran
A small yet scenic landscape complete with rugged rolling hills, valleys and wild craggy nooks and corners, Matheran is just the perfect getaway for those who need an exciting weekend or holiday trip or even a romantic honeymoon. Apart from the manmade temples and forts dotted around the peaks, Matheran offers a picturesque setting that is ideal for trekking, photography and a plethora of wild adventurous tourism on the mountainsides. Put on your trekking shoes, heave up a knapsack and off you go on an exciting trip to the tiny hill station of Matheran.
We will tell you of some of the best things that can be done in Matheran.
If you are interested in stumbling upon tiny, unmarked surprises, then the Panther’s Cave is one of them. The locals call it Waghachi Gufa, and they say that a tiger had once upon a time dwelt in the caves. The Waghachi Gufa is supposedly a natural formed cavern and has a small shrine in it where the locals worship.
Tourists are expected to remove their footwear when they enter the cave. The Waghachi Gufa is behind the Olympia Race Course and quite close to the Gold Croft Bungalow. Though not as exciting as the other things that you can do in Matheran, you can drop by and have a look around when you are in the vicinity. It’s said that during the monsoons the caves are occupied by glow worms. Check out the anthills near the caves.
Charlotte Lake, a 30 m walk away from the Matheran marketplace is one of the best places to spend an evening at, when you are weary with all that trekking up and down the view points. The Lake looks beautiful and pristine especially during the monsoons and winters, when the waterfall close by adds more to the spectacle.
Bird watchers gather at the lake’s edges to wait for the birds and you could do that too and watch the sun set at well, glimmering in shades of orange and yellow as it settles behind the yonder hill. Charlotte Lake is the primary water supply to the town of Matheran and sporting activities of any kind, be it fishing, swimming or going on a boat are not allowed.
If you are an avid bird fan, carry your camera along as you trek up the slopes to the points. Sun rise and sun set are the best time to watch the Shikra, Spotted Dove, Common Green Pigeons, Blue Breasted Barbets, Palm Swift and Crested Larks and the White Rumped Shama, a beautiful song bird endemic to the Indian subcontinent. You would also find plenty of butterflies like the Common Evening Brown, Glassy Tiger and the Common Bluebottle, apart from dragon flies and damselflies.
Some of the best places where you could watch the birds are Charlotte’s Lake, Louisa Point and Sunset Point. Bird watching Trails are organized in winter for photographers and nature lovers.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
If you would like more birds to watch, head for the Karnala Bird Sanctuary that sits below the Karnala Fort. The Sanctuary has about 200 species of resident birds and those flying in for winter. You’d find Malabar Trogon, Three toed Kingfisher, Red Breasted Flycatcher, Blackbirds and Blue Headed Rock Thrushes. Apart from the birds you can also find monkeys and wild boars.
The Sanctuary offers trekking trails as well, when you can hike along the dense forested regions of the sanctuary and watch the birds as well. If you are keen on a longer, adventurous trek, march off on the Karnala Fort Trek. The Karnala Bird Sanctuary is in Panvel, near the Mumbai Pune route and is about 53 km from Matheran.
The mountain slopes of Matheran are some of the best places for adrenaline pumping adventure sports. If you are an adventure junkie, there are sport academies that could trigger your passion for ziplining, waterfall rappelling or river crossing. There are such beautiful locales in Matheran like the Dodhani waterfalls and Kondana waterfalls, Prabalgad Fort, Louisa Point and Alexander Point that would have you bring out your best skills in rock climbing, waterfall rappelling or river crossing.
There are adventure camps as well where you could go off on a wild campy night out under the starry skies with family, friends or team mates. It’s wholesome fun camping out on the mountain sides indulging in more rock climbing or rappelling or sitting around the camp fire swapping stories or watching magic shows.
Visit Mt. Barry
Mt. Barry is one of the most sought after destinations of Matheran. The peak said to be one of the tallest areas of Matheran offers a breathtaking view of the peaks and valleys of the hill town as well as a panoramic view of Neral. If you are in time, you can watch the Matheran hill station’s toy train winding its way through the snaky curves, way down the slopes.
Secluded Mt. Barry is one of the best view points of Matheran, especially in winter months when the grass underfoot is dewy, the wildflowers are all out and the mist settles on the peaks. You can get to Mt.Barry that is located close to Governor’s Hill from the Matheran Market. Mt. Barry is about 4 km from the Railway Station.
You could spend a blissful day out near the Morbe Dam built over the Dhavari River. Morbe Dam Reservoir that stands about 193 ft above msl and is spread over 9, 780 sq. km supplies water to Navi Mumbai. It’s a picturesque place to watch the sun rise or sun set, the way the colours of the sun shimmer in reds, oranges and yellow on the crystal clear water is spectacular.
The Dam is surrounded by mountains and is a very serene, peaceful setting. It’s a treat to visit the dam during monsoon, when the sluice gates are opened and the monsoon filled waters gushes over its bed. Morbe Dam is near Khalapur in Raigad district and is about 30 km from Matheran.
See 'One Tree Hill'
Most places have small appealing things that inspire our interest. Small town it may be, but Matheran has its fair share of interesting things. One of Matheran’s many hills is rather quaint, where the densely vegetated rocky outcrops have shrubs, and the rounded hill has just lone tree growing on top.
Aptly called One Tree Hill, the hill is yet another favourite trekkers’ destination. From the top, you could stand by the lone tree and gaze down at the rugged slopes and the villages huddled along. Going downhill, check out the legendary Shivaji’s Ladder which has become a tourist spot of its own.
Go for a Drive
Lonavala, which is about 30 km from Matheran is a charming hill station in Pune district. You could visit Lonavala and its twin hill station Khandala that have ancient hill top fortresses, ancient Buddhist caves, some amazing view points, parks and gardens.
Karjat at about 20 km away is yet another quaint town that has fortresses, ancient Buddhist caves, amazing waterfalls and temples. Sightseeing apart all these places offer great opportunities for adventure tourism and trekking.
Matheran offers some of the best trekking trails that wind through some of the most luxuriant mountain paths. Matheran being the only hill station that has banned the entry of motor vehicles, is pollution and noise free and you can gaily stroll through the mud tracks and the slopes unhindered. There are easy to moderate treks like the Dodhani village to Matheran’s Sunset Point and One Tree Hill trek to real exciting trips like from the Dhom Lake to Garbett Point trek and the more awe inspiring Kalavantin Durg trek.
Keep yourself dressed to the occasion with sensible light clothes for summer and ponchos and waterproof jackets for the monsoons.