Matheran - Balm for the soul
- Submitted by: Miscella, India
- Submission Date: 24th Oct 2007
Just got back from a 3 day trip to Matheran. With its dense evergreen forests, it was balm for our weary city souls. Just post monsoons, Matheran is full of wildflowers and butterflies including the huge blue mormon. An entire hillside near Panorama Pt was covered with strobilanthes (karvy) in full mass bloom. It is a most exotic flower with pink egg shape coneheads and exquisite purple blossoms - apparently flowers just once every few years. We were fortunate to spot 2 giant squirrels with their cute bushy white tails - I wish they would pose for photos, no such luck, they scampered off as soon as they saw us. We did however, get a few good shots of a bright yellow and black frog. Wherever the sun comes through a forest clearing or near a cliff edge, is full of wild flowers mostly acanthacea species like the blue barleria, mountain justicias etc - not the ones you see in Mumbai, as well as carpets of grahams groundsell daisies and little purple button flowers - dont know the name. Never forget to take thick soled walking shoes and a sturdy bamboo stick - to tackle the loose pebbled pathways as well as the aggressive omnipresent monkeys. The baby monkeys are very cute. This being our second trip, we took a lot of biscuits for them and it was a delight to watch their 'monkrobatics'. Strangely the few langurs we encountered were very shy and fled the moment they saw us - perhaps thinking we were aggressive city monkeys!!! Spotted lots of drongos, heard a lot of other birds but could not spot them in the foliage. A night walk in the forest was rewarded with beautiful vistas of the half moon through the branches. And the stars - as can never be experienced in Mumbai. Remember to take a rechargeable lantern as the power goes off every now and then. Also if you are an early riser, it helps to take along an electric kettle or tea maker as no hotel serves earlier than 7 especially in off season. We bought the obligatory chikki and honey. The fudge did not compare with its superlative Ooty counterpart so we gave it a miss. Footwear appears to be a good buy, we did not enter any of those shops though. Always use the railway track for walking to and from the market area, its much nicer than the muddy main pathway strewn with horse crap, and red mud particles permanently in the air due to the horses. If you want to avoid the touristy areas, as well as a trudge into the main market area as soon as you reach, stay at MTDC at Dasturi Naka. It is basic but clean, and peacefully located in the middle of the forest. The food there is tasty but the restaurant ambience is PWD like. Diwadkars at the station is far superior, tasty, wholesome and VFM. If you live in Mumbai,Navi Mumbai, Kalyan or Thane Bhiwandi, then Matheran is the perfect close by short break destination, especially for nature lovers. This is my second trip. I love Matheran and hope to go as often as I can.