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Muddy Matheran

  • Submitted by: Minnie, India
  • Submission Date: 19th Mar 2007

Matheran at a height of 700+m, covered in dense evergreen jambul and dipterocarpus forests, is nice for an off-season visit from Mumbai, being only 2hrs away by road (good at present). Stay at MTDC at Dasturi Naka if you want to avoid a long uphill trudge on arrival. Also, its peaceful and in the heart of the forest, which compensates for the poor maintenance of the rooms. The deluxe double cottages overlook the toy train track and dense forest. Monkeys and birdsong wake you in the morning. We were lucky to be welcomed by the sight of a giant squirrel preening himself on the tall jambul tree in front. Though not as large as the malabar giant squirrel, this one was handsome in his own right. Along the railway track we came across 2 large mating snakes - quite a sight. This was followed by sightings of the large blue mormon butterflies - fairly common here to our delight. There are many forest walks leading to various 'points' but the best (read unfrequented by others) ones for us were Garbut Pt, Panorama Pt, Mary Pt, Simpson Spring and Mt Berry. Lots of dried out wildflowers line the paths which must be very colourful in season, with accompanying butterflies. Birds can be heard everywhere but hard to spot through the foliage. Watch out for red mud particles in the air, especially along the main paths used by horses. Tip: take your worst clothes which you can discard on departure, for you just cannot avoid the ubiquitous red mud. At night one must walk to any clearing and look at the millions of stars shining clearly like diamond s above, this sight is never possible from our light polluted cities. Use the railway track path to reach the market - shorter and fewer horses. Plenty of footwear, chiki, fudge, honey etc in the marketplace. Guju thali restaurants abound, if you like that type of food. Diwadkars near the station is VFM non-Guju and tasty food in a garden restaurant with good service. Divide your day into early morning walk, lunch, afternoon siesta and evening walk. Or horse ride, if that is your fancy - looked back breaking to us ! This is definitely not the place for those with back or knee problems, nor for the elderly. Even the fittest would do well to use a walking stick or bamboo on the loose pebbled uphill paths - almost like scree at some places. In the monsoons or shortly thereafter, it must be delightful, albeit with squelchy red mud everywhere. Not a bad destination for a 2-4 day break (stictly off-season) from Mumbai.