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Tourist Places To Visit In Matheran
The scenic wilderness and the gentle climate of Matheran, at such a short distance from the metros of Mumbai and Pune, did appeal to the British who, way back in the 1850s’ developed the rugged unknown hills into a summer resort with a township and colonial structures. A tiny mountain railway line was built for better access to the beautiful regions by Abdul Hussein Adambee Peerboy by 1901 to 1907.
One of the most sought after holiday getaways, Matheran is a simple, yet touristy place to be in for its numerous viewpoints, about 38 of them that are some of the most interesting places to check out, for they give a good view of the mist capped peaks and valleys of the Sahyadri ranges. Not very far away from Matheran are ancient temples and earliest hill top forts that one could visit while on a tour to the hill town.
Here is a list of some of the most interesting tourist places in and around Matheran that you would want to visit.
Ambarnath temple for Shiva is on the banks of the Waldhuni River that flows down from the hills of Ambarnath. The temple is an exquisite architectural demonstration of the Hemadphanthi style of temple structure and closely resembles the Dilwara Temples of Mt. Abu in Rajasthan. The inner and outer walls and ceilings of the temple built in black basalt, are filled with intricate sculptures that highlight the craftsmanship of the period and are an art lover’s delight.
Ambarnath temple is said to have been built in the 11th century by King Mahamandaleshwar. The Shiva linga is a suyambhu and sits in the open aired sanctum sanctorum that can be reached by climbing a fleet of steps from the central hallway.
Located on the south western side of Matheran, Garbett looming over the tiny village of Diksal, is a plateau that offers a great view of the surrounding valleys and peaks. Garbett Point is about 2626 ft above msl, and is one among the favourite sightseeing spots of Matheran.
Garbett Point is the highest level of the Garbett Plateau. Carpeted by greenery and wildflowers and steep curves at some places, Garbett Plateau is a natural place to be in. As you climb up, check out the waterfalls scattered about the ranges as well as the Tatoba Temple and the pristine Dhom or Bhivpuri Lake. There are paddy fields of Sagachwadi village on the rocky inclines, with small huts nestled among the greenery.
Garbett Plateau is about 5 km from Matheran Railway Station.
Monkey Point is a favourite haunt of monkeys and you’d find gangs of Hanuman Langurs and Bonnet Macaques romping about. Monkey Point otherwise is a great place to be in, where you can see beyond the iron safety railings that have been put near the edges, vast swathes of undulating mountain ranges of the Sahyadri and the plains below. There are stone hewn steps that can be climbed up to the higher ranges. The place seems to abound with monkeys and if your stock of food and water bottles gets reduced by the time you descend, you can thank the monkeys for it.
The landscape is less vegetated and dry in summer, so choose a cool winter day to visit Monkey Point. While at the Point, try turning towards Hart Cliff and shout. The sound is said to make a distinctly clear echo. Monkey Point is close to the marketplace and you’d find a number of people visiting the Point during weekends and holidays, due to its easy access.
Chowk Point is one of the favourite view points of Matheran. It’s quite a small zone but provides a spectacular view of the surrounding landcape, like the neighbouring peaks of the Sahyadri ranges, the Karnala, Vishalgad and Prabaldag Forts as well, as they loom over the horizon on clear summer days. Chowk Point has a charming statue of Ganesha too that you could call on. Chowk Point and Little Chowk Point that’s another view point that lies close by are called after the small village of Chowk nestled at their foothills.
Chowk Point is about 4 km from the Matheran rail station and you can either walk up the peak or hail a pony for a ride. You could also visit the Rambaug Point and Alexander Point as well on the eastern side or Belvedere Point, Marjorie’s Nook and One Tree Hill on the west, since they are located not very far from one another. Chowk Point at the southern end of Matheran is worth a visit.
Panorama Point seems to be the highlight of Matheran’s view points. The sights from Panorama Point are truly panoramic, offering a 360 degree vision of Matheran, the surrounding mountain ranges and the undulating flower filled valleys. Panorama Point is one of the best places in Matheran known for its spectacular sunrises.
You can reach Panorama Point on horseback, which adds more to the adventure, trotting past the hewn footpaths with only the chirping of birds and the breeze to keep you company. You could also trek to the place or hop onto the toy train and walk for about 2 km to reach the Point.
Holy Cross Church
Holy Cross Church seems to be one of the oldest churches in Matheran built in around 1860 by the Catholic workers who were involved in building edifices in Matheran. It is a modest, yet quaint place with beautiful stained glass windows and a cool, serene prayer room. The church is open to people from all religions and has specific prayer times.
There is a caretaker who will give details on the days and time of sermons. On the first Sunday in the month of May, Holy Cross Church of Matheran celebrates the annual Parish feast that is attended by hundreds of the devout. Surrounded by tall trees and a well maintained garden, the Holy Cross Church promises a beautiful and relaxing experience. The church is about 500 m from the Charlotte Lake.
Louisa Point is a dream come true, for it’s one of the best places in all of Matheran to offer a spectacular view of the all encompassing landscape around. On clear days you can see the high mountain peaks, the valleys and its settlements and the Prabalgad Fort at a distance. On lush monsoon days, you can see Charlotte Lake as well as the rain fed waterfalls meandering through the lush forested slopes far away.
Winters turn the mountain peaks into mist capped terrains and are absolutely photographic. Check out the Lion’s Head rocks close by that offer more spectacular views of Lake Gardens, Echo and Chowk Points and more waterfalls. Tourists usually spend hours at Louisa Point soaking in the charm of the picture perfect place which is also a good place to watch the sun set.
Louisa Point is about 45 m walk from Matheran Railway Station. You can walk up or hire a pony to carry you up the slopes.
Pisarnath Mahadev Mandir for Shiva is considered the oldest temple in Matheran. Located near the Charlotte Lake, the temple has a suyambhu linga, who is worshipped as the guardian deity, by the villagers who consider Pisarnath Deva a protection from all evils. The Linga is slightly L shaped and is anointed with sindoor. The temple is an unostentatious small red building, with the garbagriha having a small linga and a number of bells hanging from the ceiling.
The temple is located in a thick grove of trees and has a spiritual and natural appeal. Tourists prefer to spend a few minutes more at the temple, for the serenity and the ambience is a peaceful stillness. Mahashivratri and Ram Navami see numerous pilgrims and tourists visiting the temple. On regular days, Pisarnath Mahadev Mandir is a much sought after pilgrim centre.
The temple is about 2 km from Matheran railway station.
Prabalgad or Prabal Fort lies at an elevation of about 2300 ft on the Prabal hills of the Sahyadri ranges. Once known as the Muranjan Fort, the citadel was built during the reign of the Bahmani Sultanate, but was later captured and renamed during Maratha rule. With a rugged terrain and the most beautiful green carpeted landscape, the Prabal hill is worth a visit.
The Fort is now partly in ruins but gives a good view of the Kalyan and Panvel Forts, as it was meant to be a watch tower of sorts to keep an eye on the other forts. There is a small temple and a pond among the ruins. The hamlet of Prabalmachi sits at a plateau at lower base where you would find eateries and could take a break.
Porcupine Point and the Sunset Point in northwest Matheran are other beautiful places, commendable for a visit. As Panorama Point is known for its sunrises, the Porcupine point is known for its 360 degree vision of the surrounding rugged landscapes and the Sunset Point close by is known for its sunsets. It’s a very quiet serene place and the marvellous vision of the sun going down behind the mountains in a burst of oranges and yellows is so photographic.
Though the place is apt for a visit anytime of the day, tourists prefer visiting the Porcupine Point in the evenings to catch the sun set. There are shops that sell snacks, water bottles and coffee nearby. At the far distance you can see the Prabalgad Fort and to the west of Porcupine Point, the Cathedral Rocks. You can walk to the Point or even ride up on horseback.
Porcupine Point is about 2 km from Matheran Railway station and can also be accessed via the village of Dhodani.