“It is 2023 now and Matheran is still one of the best Mumbai’s nearest Eco-Tourism hill stations for Picnic, 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 hillocks. 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 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, Hotels Charges, Resorts options, and more..”
Updates January 2023: A good news is that E-Rickshaws are already on the trial run between Dasturi Naka and Matheran as they are eco-friendly, faster, and convenient modes of transport very much required. 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-Richshaw 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 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 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 1000 Hotel Rooms are available during the tourist season.
- Total Tourist Visitors : More than 6 Lakh Visitors Yearly.
- Nearest Station in Mumbai: Neral On Central Railway Route (Matheran is 21 km from Neral). Mumbai Citizens can reach 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 horse riding a few times & last in November 2017, It is fun always. Sightseeing on horse rides 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, a little dare as a first-timer rider, But is really fun to feel the horsepower by riding at the speed one can.
Also to mention, These joyrides are equally risky for the elderly, Unfit, and people with extra weight issues. It is better to ignore 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 till the Dasturi Naka car parking area. Park your vehicle here and start walking towards the hill station (Half Hour to 45 minutes walk).
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 of one adult and a kid with luggage.
More on the options list is a solo horse ride. As said earlier, Horse Riding from Dasturi to Matheran station is a fun option, But not everyone can or should take this option.
Via Local Train : Nearest railway station is Neral on Central Railway Route. Regular trains from CST, 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 times Toy trains were not running. So a shared taxi is a best-recommended option. This share car charges about Rs.80 per person till 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) & Rs.25 (Children)
- Luggage carrier: Authorized 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 coolie.
- 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-Richshaw Auto From Dasturi Naka to Matheran
Technology brings some relief for local residents and tourists to travel between Dasturi Naka and Matheran Hills. The trial runs of E-Auto / E-Rickshaw have been started for local residents of this beautiful hill. As of January 2023, TOURISTS CANNOT BENEFIT from these auto rides as it is just a trial run for some time.
Once the trial period is over, Everyone can get benefits from this ride who has to depend on Horses and Hand carts (Hand Pulled Rickshaws) that are taking commuters up to the hills of Mathen from Dasturi point since 1989. As of day, 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 be extinct as those hand cart pullers have tough times during off seasons and the rough path where it operates to date affects cart puller health too.
Since Britisher’s era, the rule of no pollution or related allowed after Dasturi Naka and so there were no autos or any other vehicle allowed which operates on Petrol or diesel fuel or even CNG.
The concept of getting pollution-free vehicles to run been Dasturi and Matheran was already in the mind of a few residents who actively wanted to get something for years. One of the residents Mr. Sunil Shinde filed a PIL in 2021 end and 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 given for a trial project. The trails are going smoothly and E-vehicles are giving positive results on the non-smooth terrains 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 7) for the trial run, Priority has been set to carry Students, Handicapped, Senior citizens, and Pregnant ladies first. If space available, other locals are been 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.
Dasturi Naka Car Parking
Parking fees of Rs.30 per day and an extra charge of Rs.50 as some kind of Municipal tax is been charged here. It is open parking under tree shades. 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 makes things muddy.
The worst nightmare of car parking at Matheran Dasturi is you forgot 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/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 a day’s charges to car owners. Practically no one checkout from 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 morning 8:00).
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 Matheran Authorities and MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) to save the eco-friendly hill station even till Dasturi Naka and they have come up with a decongestion plan.
According to the plans, no private/public vehicle will be allowed to be parked at the Dasturi Naka Car Parking Zone and parking of vehicles was 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 till 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/timings that run between Aman Lodge (Which is near Dasturi Naka) and Matheran Railway Station on the top. Refer 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 which is after a year gap. Gaining its popularity back, The only awaited 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 of year 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 from Aman Lodge to Matheran Railway Station is also a good experience that takes about 25 minutes.
See Also: Upcoming Longest Ropeway, S T Bus Timings From Karjat.
Attractions and Sightseeing Points
The sightseeing points of this hill station are one-time fun. With the serenity & fresh climate, horse riding and some rest and quality time at these spots are what one should look for as those sightseeing points are not worth a repeat and expense.
Those who come frequently to this hill station prefer to stay back in their Hotels & Resorts and enjoy the Pollution free fresh climate, Serenity, Greenery and Relax and enjoy the climate far away from the Hustle and Bustle of Mumbai city.
I Would recommend taking a 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 Horse ride.
Sightseeing Horse ride charges during Non-Peak Season/off-season are Rs.300 for 4 to 6 attraction points and Rs.450 for 12 sightseeing points.
Horses are trained and safe, Just not recommended for persons with heavyweight issues or any particular health condition which 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 (Center point, market area).
- 5 Point Horse Tour: Points Covered are Echo Point (3.20 Km), Landscape Point, Honeymoon Point (2.40 Km), Malang Point & 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 Horse Ride tour will cover all 5 Points (as above) and Coronation Point, Rustamji Point, Chenoy Point, Maldunga Point, Porcupine Point, Malet Spring Point.
- Sunrise Points: 4 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 2 other sightseeing points called ‘Echo Point’ and ‘Louisa point’. Charlotte is a peaceful lake 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 ghat (valley) and greenery all around. The night view from the heart point shows a little lighted Mumbai city too as it is at a very height.
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.
Mahabaleshwar hill station has more attractions and sightseeing locations compare to this one. If you are in love with flowing streams, Waterfalls, and Greenery, You must Visit Jawhar Hill station.
Things to Do at Matheran Hills
Since vehicles are not allowed, you can venture around the mountains walking or the options available like horse ride, and hand-pulled carts.
You will surely enjoy the walk & stroll to various sightseeing locations listed above. There are food stalls for munching & food options like Ice Golas (Flavoured ice candy), Chikki (a Speciality 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 in grabbing your belongings and searching for food & water. Those pro jumpers very well know the about of carrying bags and things inside.
If you looking for school picnics at mountain locations near Mumbai, Matheran hill station should be of course on your priority list. They are ideal picnic spot and attraction location for kids who loves 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 program that is organized 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’ organization and Matheran Pratishthan organizes this 5 days festive event in the year 2015 and hope is still happening in 2023 too.
Emergency Contacts: Matheran Police Station Number: 02148-230300, Nagar Parishad (Municipal Corporation): 02148-230234 / 02148-230343.
3 Replies to “Matheran Hill Station 2023 Guide”
Very well write up..
Thank You Sonali.
superbly written, very helpful and detailed