‘Chasing angels or fleeing demons. Go to the mountains’
– Jeffery Rasley
Such was a day when I decided to pack my bags and visit a hill station called Matheran that was so close to where I stay. I realized that I had forgotten what it felt like to be with the green trees, the beautiful mountains and clear blue skies. It had been a while since I was last bitten by the travel bug. But as they say, the travel bug has no cure, it did relapse on a bright Sunday morning.
This pretty place is situated around 83 km from Mumbai city. A weekend spent there would be ideal. Driving it down to Matheran from Mumbai is a great option . But reaching Matheran by a Toy Train along the mountains is a different experience altogether. One must toy-train it down atleast once!
For all those who haven’t visited Darjeeling in West Bengal, I could say that the toy train journey to Matheran is a ‘Mini Darjeeling’ experience. Take a train from Mumbai CST to Karjat. The train halts at a station called Neral, only a few stations before Karjat. Get down at Neral and rush to buy the toy train tickets as there are only 120 tickets available! Therefore, the earlier you come, the better are the chances of grabbing the best window seats!
Traveling along the mountains was a refreshing start to this one-day journey. It was a two hour ride from Neral to Matheran. The forest ecosystem at Matheran, which is also the land of the monkeys is unique and remarkable. The view along the mountain is stunning. Though I paid a visit in the month of March, I could imagine what a lovely sight it would be when spring would come.
Reaching my destination, I did what tourists generally would want to do. So I hired a horse and visited the attractions there. But before that, I visited a local ‘dhaba’ that served delicious authentic Malwani food. I can’t recall the name but you will recognize the place since it is the only ‘dhaba’ that plays drum and bass!
After a hearty lunch, I sat on my horse named ‘Doremon’ and headed towards the first attraction. Charlotte Lake is beautiful and has quite a lot in store for tourists. There are small shacks where one can sit, sipping a glass of sugarcane juice and enjoy the scenery around. That’s what I did. After spending a lot of time by the lake, I visited the rest of the tourist spots like ‘Echo Point’ and ‘Danger Point’.
I also managed to spot the rainbow from danger point. It was breathtaking. Soon, it was time to leave, as the last train is at around 5 pm. A short trip but worth it. I left the beautiful place promising to myself that I will come back soon. Very soon. As I returned home, something in me had changed. I guess that’s what travel does to you. This gets me planning my next trip… GOA I am coming soon!