“It is 2023 now, and Matheran is still one of Mumbai’s nearest Eco-Tourism hill stations for picnics, Leisure, and for those seeking peace and quality time with family and friends.
It is the only mountain picnic location near the city that can effectively beat the summer heat, being in the beautiful green hills. A wonder picnic spot for a day or overnight stay that too enjoys many attractions.
On the world heritage list and the most preferred pre-monsoon, monsoon, and summer destination, Matheran is Asia’s only Eco-friendly, pollution-free destination to relax, enjoy the serenity, and rejuvenate oneself. One can enjoy scenic locations and other sightseeing options, and one can also do some adventure sports available.
Vehicles are not allowed beyond ‘Dasturi Naka, A location from where this hill station actually starts. Let us explore this beautiful hill location in detail, like the Best Time to Visit, Attractions, Climate details, Toy Trains, Accompanying Monkeys, Horse Rides, Stroll locations, hotel Charges, resort options, and more.”
Updates January 2023: The good news is that E-Rickshaws are already on the trial run between Dasturi Naka and Matheran, as they are eco-friendly, faster, and very convenient modes of transport. More details are below.
- Hill Station Facts
- Enjoying Zip Line Adventure
- Horse Riding at Hillock Locations & Market Area
- Driving On Matheran Zigzag Roads
- How to Reach Matheran Hill Station
- Matheran Toll / Entry Charges from Dasturi Naka
- 2023, Introducing E-Rickshaw Auto From Dasturi Naka to Matheran
- Dasturi Car Parking
- Historic Toy Train Of Matheran
- Attractions and Sightseeing Points
- Things to Do at Matheran Hills
- Hotels and Resorts
See Also: Matheran Picture Gallery.
Hill Station Facts
- Hill Station Area:: 214.73 Square kilometres
- Total People Residing on Hill: 4388 People Reside.
- Altitude:: 800 metres.
- Discovered and ventured: Since 1850
- Best time to visit: Monsoon, Pre-Monsoon (Winter).
- Temperature: Pleasant during monsoon and winter (15 to 20 Degrees) and a Little humid in summer (Up to 30 Degrees).
- Known for: Tourist Destination and Picnic Spot for Summer and Monsoon (Hill Station), Eco-friendly Climate, Toy trains.
- Total Hotel Rooms: More than 1,000 Hotel Rooms are available during the tourist season.
- Total Tourist Visitors: More than 6 Lakh Visitors annually.
- Nearest Station in Mumbai: Neral on the Central Railway Route (Matheran is 21 km from Neral). Mumbai Citizens can reach Neral via Dadar to Neral.
- Distance from Mumbai: 80 to 90 kilometres, See Mumbai City to Matheran Road Distance for more details.
- Adventures: Horse Riding, Zip Line (Closed Now)
Enjoying Zip Line Adventure
This Adventure is closed. The zip line adventure sport started in May 2012, which is the peak summer season at Matheran. More details at Mountain Zip Line at Matheran.
Horse Riding at Hillock Locations & Market Area
I did some horseback riding a few times, the last in November 2017. It is always fun. Sightseeing on horseback is usually preferred, as the pathway is muddy and sticky during monsoons. A small ride in the market area is also fun, which many enjoy.
If you want a solo ride as a pro, the Horse owner will take you to ‘Matheran’s Olympia Race Course, made especially for fast horse riding. Trust me, it’s a little dare as a first-time rider, But it’s really fun to feel the horsepower by riding at the speed one can.
Also to mention, These joyrides are equally risky for the elderly, the unfit, and people with extra weight issues. It is better to ignore it and enjoy a safer journey via a hand cart, which is what I recommend. Accidental falls in the past have been observed, which are very risky at times.
Driving On Matheran Zigzag Roads
The zigzag road drive is fun in a shared taxi from Neral railway station. More fun if you drive in your own vehicle. It is merely a 6.7-kilometer road drive on hillocks to Dasturi Naka Car Parking.
The roads are narrow, single 2-way roads without dividers, steep & hilly till you reach the car parking zone. Be very careful and do not stop as that can be dangerous for you and others on the way.
The excitement of Matheran hills has just begun. The roadside little spots and tiny attractions should not be the ones to stop by and click some photos. There are lots more on top of the hill station, lots of picturesque spots to enjoy. Just enjoy this short road drive.
ALERT!! If you are a new driver with less to no experience of such a hilly drive, Do not take risk of doing so. Simply pull off the car AC, Open the window for some fresh breeze and let the car get full power on Gear 1 and 2 to enjoy the zigzag hilly road drive.
How to Reach Matheran Hill Station
Nearest railway station: Neral (On Central railway route).
Via Private Vehicle: Your vehicle is allowed until the Dasturi Naka car parking area. Park your vehicle here and start walking towards the hill station (Half an hour to 45 minutes).
Alternatively, take the Toy train (see schedule for availabilities) that starts from Aman Lodge station, which is a little walking distance from the Dasturi Naka.
Another option is to take a hand-pulled cart, which has the capacity for one adult and a kid with luggage.
Another option on the list is a solo horse ride. As said earlier, horseback Riding from Dasturi to Matheran station is a fun option, But not everyone can or should take this option.
Via Local Train: The nearest railway station is Neral on the Central Railway Route. Regular trains from CST and Dadar (Western Route Connected) stop at Neral Station. Once here, Take the toy train if available.
Optionally, take a shared taxi, which is always available near the railway station, to reach Dasturi Naka. From there, as detailed above, take the Toy train, Horse Ride, or Hand Cart as per your choice.
In recent years, many toy trains have not run. So a shared taxi is the best-recommended option. This shared car charges about Rs. 80 per person till the Dasturi Naka Matheran Entry Gate.
Matheran Toll / Entry Charges from Dasturi Naka
Costing May Vary : Below details are from 2017.
- Entry Ticket at Dasturi Naka: Matheran Entry Ticket Rates: Rs.50 (Adults) and Rs.25 (Children)
- Luggage carrier: Authorised locals help carry your luggage at a cost that may be anything between Rs.350 to 400 for about 2 to 3 bags carried by local coolies.
- Hand-Pulled Carts: Rs. 550 per hand cart, which has the capacity of carrying 1 Adult and 1 Kid with 2 small-size luggage bags.
- Horse Cart Charges From Dasturi : Rs. 550 per horse (Without Luggage).
2023, Introducing E-Rickshaw Auto From Dasturi Naka to Matheran
Technology brings some relief for local residents and tourists travelling between Dasturi Naka and Matheran Hills. The trial runs of E-Auto and E-Rickshaw have been started for local residents of this beautiful hill. As of January 2023, TOURISTS cannot BENEFIT from these auto rides as they are just a trial run for some time.
Once the trial period is over, Everyone can benefit from this ride who has to depend on Horses and Hand carts (hand-pulled rickshaws) that have been taking commuters up to the hills of Matheran from Dasturi Point since 1989. As of today, about 450 horses and nearly 100 hand-pulled carts are in operation to reach the top.
Gradually, those hand-pulled auto transport options are going to go extinct as those hand cart pullers have tough times during off-seasons, and the rough path where they operate to date affects cart puller health too.
Since the British era, the rule of no pollution or related activities was allowed after Dasturi Naka, and so there were no autos or any other vehicles allowed that operated on gasoline, diesel fuel, or even CNG.
The concept of getting pollution-free vehicles to run in Dasturi and Matheran was already in the minds of a few residents who had actively wanted to get something for years. One of the residents, Mr. Sunil Shinde, filed a PIL in 2021 to seek permission to get E-rickshaws, which didn’t get a response locally.
He went up to the Supreme Court with a petition, which was heard, and permission was given for a trial project. The trails are going smoothly, and E-vehicles are giving positive results on the non-smooth terrain of Matheran. Hopefully, soon it will become the so-called New Normal.
As of the day, Since the trial runs and only locals are allowed, These autos Charge Rs. 5 to students and Rs. 35 for all other villagers. Due to limited autos (total of 7) for the trial run, Priority has been set to carry Students, the handicapped, Senior citizens, and Pregnant ladies first. If space is available, other locals will be taken on the ride.
Per-person charges may change once E-Rickshaws are fully operational and are the common mode of transport for locals and tourists. See also: E-buggy at nariman point.
Dasturi Naka Car Parking
Parking fees of Rs. 30 per day and an extra charge of Rs. 50 as some kind of Municipal tax have been charged here. It is open parking under trees. I will highly recommend taking your car cover, as there are monkeys around that jump now and then on the car roof and side mirror and make things muddy.
The worst nightmare of car parking at Matheran Dasturi is when you forget to lock your doors for any reason. Expect those monkeys to enjoy the luxury and shelter of your car interiors. They try hard to hold on to every other handle and open your car doors for a successful picnic day inside.
Car Parking Charges
As said, Rs. 30 per day for car parking and an extra Rs. 50 as Matheran Municipal Tax Parking exit and checkout timings are at 8:00 a.m., which is most of the time not practical, and it feels like it is just a way to extend a day’s charges to car owners. Practically no one checks out of any Hotel before 9:00 to 9:30 in the morning.
In that scenario, one needs to pay a total of Rs. 110 for a day’s visit to the hill station to park cars at Dasturi Naka. The breakdown of those charges is as follows:
- Rs.30 (For the day you came).
- Rs.50 (Extra for Municipal Tax).
- Rs.30 (For the Next day if you move away with your car any time after 8:00 in the morning).
Municipal Tax and Car Parking Receipts Pictures below
Below is a sample of the tickets given at Dasturi Naka.
Upcoming Car Parking Facilities
In December 2012, a meeting was held by the Matheran Authorities and MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) to save the eco-friendly hill station even till Dasturi Naka, and they came up with a decongestion plan.
According to the plans, no private or public vehicle will be allowed to be parked at the Dasturi Naka Car Parking Zone, and the parking of vehicles is likely to be shifted near Neral Railway Station.
Once the facilities and services start, Only new Eco-Friendly buses and Possibly private Electric vehicles will be allowed to go to the top, and only those who have booked hotel rooms will be allowed to go to the Dasturi parking area. The move is to save the heritage hill from congestion and pollution as much as possible.
Historic Toy Train Of Matheran
If you are a first-timer to Matheran Hills, You must try this cute little toy train ride at least once while going up or while returning back.
Important is to keep a note of this little shuttle train schedule and timings that run between Aman Lodge (Which is near Dasturi Naka) and Matheran Railway Station on the top. Refer to the Timetable and Fare Chart. to plan it better.
After many technical glitches and route repairs, This toy train started its services back in November 2017, after a year’s gap. Gaining its popularity back, The only hope is that it should start its services at Neral railway station instead of Aman Lodge.
The toy train ride from Neral station to the last stop was expected in the first quarter or mid-year of 2018 and is already 2023, But still awaiting.
The toy train ride between Dasturi Naka and Neral station is very beautiful. Lush greenery, Deep valleys, Small little coaches, and that slow-moving ride For those first-time riders, as of now, the ride from Aman Lodge to Matheran Railway Station is also a good experience that takes about 25 minutes.
Attractions and Sightseeing Points
The sightseeing points of this hill station are one-time fun. With the serenity and fresh climate, horseback riding, some rest, and quality time at these spots are what one should look for, as those sightseeing points are not worth the repeat and expense.
Those who come frequently to this hill station prefer to stay back in their Hotels and Resorts and enjoy the pollution-free, fresh climate, Serenity, greenery, and relaxation far away from the Hustle and Bustle of Mumbai city.
I Would recommend taking the horse ride option of 4, 7, or 12 Points (See Below) and checking yourself. It is surely fascinating for first-timers to enjoy the valley view and visit a dam area, which is one of the main attractions of Matheran.
The actual sightseeing fun is riding through the woods. Those huge trees and rough pathways are perfect for a horseback ride.
Sightseeing Horse ride charges during the non-Peak season or off-season are Rs. 300 for 4 to 6 attraction points and Rs. 450 for 12 sightseeing points.
Horses are trained and safe; it is just not recommended for people with heavyweight issues or any particular health condition that relates to body fitness to climb and ride those horses. Below is the sightseeing map route that shows various attraction points with details like travel distance from the Matheran Post Office area (Centre point, market area).
- 5 Point Horse Tour: Points Covered are Echo Point (3.20 Km), Landscape Point, Honeymoon Point (2.40 Km), Malang Point, and Louiza Point (3.20 Km).
- 7 Point Horse Tour: Attractions like Alexender Point (1.20 km), Rambaug Point (2 Km), Little Chowk Point (4 Km), Big Chowk, One Tree Hill Point (3.20 Km), Belveder Point, Marjories, and Nook Point
- 12 Point Tour: This horseback Ride tour will cover all 5 Points (as above): Coronation Point, Rustamji Point, Chenoy Point, Maldunga Point, Porcupine Point, and Malet Spring Point.
- Sunrise Points: Four Points that are ideal for sunrise are Panorama Point (5.20 Km), Rambaug Point, Garbut Point (4.80 Km), and Porcupine Point.
- Few More points: Sunset Point (3.20 Lm), Mount Berry Point (4 Km), Charlotte Lake (0.80 Km), Olympia Ground (2 Km), Dasturi Point (3 Km), Paymaster Park (1.20 Km).
Alexander Point: For scenic and photo clicks, this is one of the best points covered in the list of attractions and sightseeing points. It is also one of the high-hill locations.
Charlotte Lake: This lake attracts major picnic groups as it also has two other sightseeing points called ‘Echo Point’ and ‘Louisa Point.” Charlotte Lake is a peaceful place to enjoy chirping bird sounds.
One needs to walk through a dense forest patch for about 25 minutes from the market location. This lake is also a source of drinking water for local residents.
Heart Point: A sightseeing location for those who love ghats (valleys) and greenery all around. The night view from the heart point shows a little lighted Mumbai city too, as it is at a very high elevation.
Louisa Point: If you love selfies and get some good clicks, Louisa Point has waterfalls, Visuals of Groups of birds, a Valley view, and some other points that can be seen from here.
Other Attractions: Shivaji Ladder, Cecil Point (Waterfall for monsoon), Panorama Point, Chowk Point, Rambagh Point, Madhavji Garden, One Tree Hill Point, Porcupine Point, and Prabal Fort are a few more sightseeing locations to enjoy if you have ample time and are adventurous enough to hang around Mathen Mountains.
Things to Do at Matheran Hills
Since vehicles are not allowed, you can venture around the mountains walking or using the options available, like horseback riding and hand-pulled carts.
You will surely enjoy the walk and stroll to the various sightseeing locations listed above. There are food stalls for munching and food options like Ice Golas (flavoured ice candy), Chikki (a specialty of Matheran), Nuts, Season Bhuttah (Sweet corn), etc.
A simple walk along beautiful cottages, resorts, heritage structures, and woods can make your day here. There are beautiful cottage resorts, small village homes, muddy roads, and serene, dense forest areas to explore with your groups.
Just be aware of those fearless Monkeys. They are very quick at grabbing your belongings and searching for food and water. Those pro jumpers very well know the art of carrying bags and things inside.
If you’re looking for school picnics at mountain locations near Mumbai, Matheran Hill Station should, of course, be on your priority list. They are ideal picnic spot and attraction location for kids who love to explore and are new to such hillocks, That too near Mumbai.
Matheran is also a preferred location for overnight picnic for a blissful nature experience.
Hotels and Resorts to Stay
There are both budget and expensive accommodation options available here that charge about 1500 to 2000 Rupees per person and Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000 per person during peak season (Winter). More costly resorts and hotels are, of course, available.
Review thoroughly. Check for the best prices as Google reviews and Hotel apps and websites have made tourist life easy.
To add to the list of things to not miss if you are around the month of May, the Annual Green Festival is an awareness programme that is organised to educate people about the importance of nature and living an eco-friendly life by going green in day-to-day life.
From growing green vegetables to building eco-friendly homes and lots more, ‘The New Bombay Design’ organisation and Matheran Pratishthan organised this 5-day festive event in the year 2015 and hope it will still happen in 2023 too.
Emergency Contacts: Matheran Police Station Number: 02148-230300, Nagar Parishad (Municipal Corporation): 02148-230234 / 02148-230343.
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