“Matheran is Mumbai’s nearest Eco-Tourism hill station for Picnic, Leisure and for those seeking peace and quality time with family and friends. It is the only mountain station near city to effectively beat summer heat in beautiful green hillocks, A wonder picnic spot for a day or overnight stay that too enjoying many attractions.
Now in world heritage list and the most preferred pre-monsoon, monsoon and summer destination, Matheran is Asia’s only Eco-friendly, pollution free destination with options to relax, enjoy serenity and rejuvenate oneself. Enjoy scenic locations and sightseeing options and do some adventure sports around.
Vehicles are not allowed beyond ‘Dasturi naka’, A location from where this hill station actually starts. Lets explore this beautiful hill location in details and know its Attractions, Climate, Toy Trains, Accompanying Monkeys, Horse Rides, Stroll locations, Hotels and Resorts options and more..”
Tourism Basics and Some Facts
- Hill Station Area : 214.73 Square Kilometre
- Total People Residing on Hill : 4388 People Resides.
- Altitude : 800 meters.
- Discovered and ventured : Since, 1850.
- Best time to visit : Monsoon, Pre-Monsoon (Winter).
- Temperature: Pleasant during monsoon and winter (15 to 20 Degree) and 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 1000 Hotel Rooms are available during tourist season.
- Total Tourist Visitors : More than 6 Lakh Visitors Yearly
- Nearest Station in Mumbai : Neral (Matheran is 21 km from Neral).
- Distance from Mumbai : 80 to 90 Kilometres, See Mumbai Matheran Road Distance for more details.
- Adventures : Horse Riding.
Enjoying Zip Line Adventure
This Adventure is closed. The new zip line adventure sport started in May 2012, which is a peak summer season at Matheran. More details at Mountain Zip Line at Matheran.
Horse Riding at Hillock Locations
I did some horse riding few times & last in November 2017, It is fun always. Sightseeing on horse ride is what usually is preferred as the pathway is muddy with few stones. A small ride in market area is also fun which many enjoys.
If you want a solo self ride fast round, Horse owner will take you to ‘Matheran’s Olympia race course’ made specially for fast horse riding. Trust me, a little dare as first timer rider, It is really fun riding on the horse powers that too in a chilling winters afternoon at this hill station.
To be also mentioned, These joyrides are equally risky for heavy weight person. It is better to ignore and rather enjoy a safer journey which is what is recommend. Accidental falls in the past are observed which may be very risky at times.
Road Drive Video
If Visiting these hills in a vehicle, You will be allowed till ‘Dasturi Car Parking’, which is about 3 to 4 Km up hills from Neral railway station. The road conditions are average to good but narrow, The ride and turns are very steep. Only experience drivers should be on driving from Neral to Dasturi Naka. A recommended safe drive tip for loaded cars is to put off the AC and ride on first gear on steep turns, as high power required. A ride video to understand the same, Below.
Reaching This Hill Station
Nearest railway station : Neral (Central railway route).
Via private vehicle : Your vehicle is allowed till Dasturi Naka car parking area. Park here and start walking towards hill station (Half Hour to 45 minutes walk) Or alternately take Toy train (see schedule for availabilities) that starts from Aman Lodge station which is at walking distance from car parking area. Another option is to take a hand cart which has capacity of one adult and a kid only with luggage. For horse ride lovers, Riding from Dasturi to Matheran station is fun too.
Some Costings from Dasturi Entry Gate
Costing May Vary : Below details are from 2017 when i went.
- Entry Ticket at Dasturi Naka : Matheran Entry gate ticket rates : Rs.50 (Adults) & Rs.25 (Children)
- Luggage carrier : Authorized locals help carry your luggage costing Rs.350 to 400 for about 3 bags which one person can carry.
- Hand Carts : Rs.550 per hand cart which has carrying capacity of One Adult with Kid and 2 small luggage bags.
- Horse Ride : Rs.550 per horse (Without Luggage).
Via Local trains : Nearest railway station is Neral on Central Railway Route. Regular trains from CST, Dadar (Western Route Connected) stops at Neral Station. Once here, Take the toy train, Or take the vehicle (share taxi available) that will take you up hills till Dasturi Naka and from there, take Toy train, Horse Ride or Hand Cart.
In recent years, many a times Toy trains were not running. So share taxi is best recommended option. This share car charges about Rs.80 per person till Dasturi parking. From here as said, take the option you love.
Dasturi Car Parking
Parking fees of Rs.30 per day and extra charge of Rs.50 as some kind of Municipal tax is been charged here. It is a open parking under tree shades. I will highly recommend to take your car cover as their is monkey menace.
If you forgot to cover up your car, You many find your car door and roof muddy as these monkeys try hard to open car doors and peep inside for some food (As said by locals). My car handles and roof was muddle with monkey handprints seen. Apart from this menace, Car parking is safe here.
From main entry gate below (Matheran Taxi Stand), the distance to Dasturi naka car parking is 6.7 Km which takes about 10 minutes of zigzag road ride.
Car Parking Charges
As said Rs.30 per day for car parking and an extra Rs.50 as Matheran Municipal Tax. Parking exit / checkout timings are morning 8:00 AM which is most of the time not practical and it feels like it is just a way to extend charges that adds one more day, As practically no one checkout from any Hotel before 9:00 to 9:30 in morning.
In that scenario, one needs to pay Rs.110 for a day visit to the hills and parking at Dasturinaka. The breakdown of those charges is as follows.
- Rs.30 (For the day you came)
- Rs.50 (Extra for Municipal Tax)
- Rs.30 (For Next day if you move away with your car any time after morning 8:00)
Municipal Tax and Car Parking Receipts Pictures below
Below are sample of the tickets given at Dasturi Naka.
Upcoming Car Parking Facilities
In December 2012, meeting was held by Matheran Authorities and MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) to save the eco-friendly hill station and they have come up with a decongestion plan. Still in process and not done yet.
According to the plans, no private/public vehicle will be allowed to be parked at Dasturi naka and parking are likely to be shifted 100% at Neral station location.
Once the facilities and services starts, Only new Eco-Friendly buses will be allowed to go till top and only those who have booked hotel rooms will be allowed till Dasturi parking area. The move is to save the heritage hill from congestion and pollution as much possible.
Toy Train To Reach Matheran
If you are a first timer to Matheran hills, You must try this toy train ride at least once while climbing or while returning back. Important is to keep a note of these shuttle train schedules / timings that runs between Aman Lodge near Dasturi naka and Matheran station on top. Refer Timetable and Fare chart to plan better.
After many technical glitches and route repairs, This toy train started its services back in November 2017 after some one year gap, gaining its popularity. The only awaited hope is that it should start its services till Neral station, Which was expected in first quarter or mid of 2018 and is already 2020, But it didn’t.
The ride between Dasturi Naka and Neral station is very beautiful as one sees the beautiful valley of Matheran hill station. First time riders, Ride from Aman Lodge near Dasturi to Matheran Hill station is also a perfect fun ride of 25 minutes.
Attractions and Sightseeing Points
Very practically, the sightseeing points and attractions of this hills station are one time fun. You visit here couple of more times and except horse rides (If you love) & the serenity & fresh climate to relax and have some rest and quality time, You might not love to go for these sightseeing points.
Those who comes frequently to this hill station prefers to stay back in their respected Hotel & Resorts and enjoy the Serenity, Relax and enjoy the climate and Non-Chaotic time far from the Hustle Bustle of Mumbai city.
I Would recommend take a horse ride option of 4, 7 or 12 Points (See Below) and check yourself. It is sure fascinating for first timers to enjoy the deep valley and visit the dam area which is one of the main attractions.
The actual sightseeing fun is to ride through the shaded hillock woods. Horse ride charges during Non Peak Season / Off season are Rs.300 for 4 to 6 Sightseeing points and Rs.450 for 12 sightseeing points.
Horse are well behaved and safe, Just not recommend for heavy weight people or take extreme care if planning. Below is a sightseeing map that shows various attraction points with details like travel distance from Matheran Post Office area (Center point, market area).
- 5 Point Horse Tour
- 7 Point Horse Tour
- 12 Point Tour
- Sunrise Points
- Few More points
: Points Covered are Echo Point (3.20 Km), Landscape Point, Honeymoon Point (2.40 Km), Malang Point & Louiza Point (3.20 Km).
: 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.
: This Horse Ride tour will cover all 5 Points (as above) and Coronation Point, Rustamji Point, Chenoy Point, Maldunga Point, Porcupine Point, Malet Spring Point.
: 4 Point which are ideal for sunrise are Panorama Point (5.20 Km), Rambaug Point Garbut Point (4.80 Km) and Porcupine Point.
: Sunset Point (3.20 Lm), Mount Berry Point (4 Km), Charllote 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 tourist spots listed, you can take a horse ride. Deep forest and other tourist spots can be seen from here.
Charlotte Lake : This lake side point attracts major picnic groups as it has Echo and Louisa point. Charlotte is a peaceful and silent lake to enjoy birds. You need to walk through a dense forest for about 25 minutes from market location. This lake is also a source of drinking water for local residents.
Hart Point : A ghat (valley) view showing greenery. It is said that the night view from hart point shows the lighted Mumbai city.
Louisa Point : If you are photo lover and want some nice clicks, Louisa is the point to click waterfalls, group of birds, valley and some other points that can be seen from here.
Shivaji Ladder, Cecil Point (Waterfall for monsoon), Panorama Point, Chowk Point, Rambagh point, Madhavji Garden, One tree hill point, Porcupine point and Prabal fort.
Few Things to Do at this Hills Station
Since vehicles are not allowed, you can venture the mountains via available options like horse ride, hand carts and walking around the rough pathways of the woods.
You will surely enjoy the walk & stroll to various sightseeing location which has some munching & food options like Ice Golas (Flavoured ice candy), Chikki (Speciality of Matheran), Nuts etc. A simple walk along beautiful cottages and resorts and the woods near can make your day here. There are beautiful cottage resorts, small village homes, muddy roads and serene dense forest area.
Just be aware of fearless Monkeys, they are quick in grabbing your belongings just in search of some food & water. They very well know that people keep their food and belonging in the plastic bags and they quickly grab the same. But now as of 2020, Plastic is strictly prohibited, But Monkeys still know the work arounds, So just take required care.
These are few of the reasons many prefer this hill stations as an ideal picnic spot and attraction place, As also most nearest hill station to Mumbai.
One can reach via here train or any private vehicle and spend just a day or enjoy their overnight picnic around the blissful nature.
Hotels and Resorts
There are both budget and expensive accommodation options that charges about 1500 to 2000 Rupees (Per person) and Rs.3000 to Rs.5000 (per person) during peak season (Winter). Lots of resorts and hotels, Review thoroughly, Check for best prices as Google reviews and Hotel apps and websites has made tourist life easy.
To add on to the list of things to not miss if you are around month of May, Annual Green festival which is a awareness program that is organized to educates people about importance of nature and living a eco-friendly life by going green in day to day life decision.
From growing green vegetables to building eco-friendly homes and lots more, ‘The New Bombay Design’ organization and Matheran Pratishthan organizes this 5 days festive event that took place in the year 2015 and hope is till taking place in 2020 and upcoming year 2021.
Emergency Contacts : Matheran Police Station Number : 02148-230300, Nagar Parishad (Municipal Corporation) : 02148-230234 / 02148-230343.