Matheran means forest on the top. Situated at 803 meters above sea level, this is one of the two most favorite hill stations of Maharashtra. It’s Proximity to Mumbai and easy accessibility has made it more popular. In 1850, Mallet, the district Collector of Thane first discovered this hill station. He first sited this mountain from the village 'Chowk'. He climbed the hill from “one tree point”. Britishers developed this hill station as their summer resort. This is the main reason why all the points of Matheran have English names. Matheran is situated on a plateau which suddenly drops off into the gorgeous valleys of Sahyadri and one can have breath taking view of the surrounding. On a clear night, one can easily see the “lights of Mumbai” from Bombay point. Matheran is surrounded by dense forest with almost 150 varieties of plans in it. Many birds species have made this forest their home. Some of the major species are: Kingfisher, Robin, Dhanesh, Bulbul, Lank etc. Though Matheran is basically a hill station and previously it was visited during summer, now with trekking enthusiasm on rise, this is very attractive point of trekking in the rains. With the advent of monsoons, Matheran looks enchanting. One can have a feel of “walk in the clouds” during the rains of Matheran. A fascinating hilltop, nestled at an altitude of 800 m (2,625 above sea-level), Matheran is 100 km from the nearby city of Mumbai. The sprawling hills below and the majestic mountains around make the place an ideal vacationing destination. As no fuel-run vehicles are allowed inside the town, the atmosphere of the place is congenial with a salubrious touch in the air. In fact, it has been declared as an eco-sensitive region by the Union Environment Ministry. If you want to visit a place which is a hill station but really different one or unique hill station - Matheran is the best choice. This is the place truly loved by all - Picnic Lovers, Trekkers as well as jungle lovers. Matheran is famous for its train, which runs from Neral to Matheran. This small train covers the distance of 21 Km in 2-2 1/2 hrs. Journey through this train is really enjoyable. The train goes through deep forest and one can see the beauty of jungle. You can either walk the town or travel on the back of horses. The climate of Matheran is very cool. The most unforgettable things about Matheran are deep forest and the waterfalls nearby, especially in rainy season. The beauty of the hill station gets doubled in monsoon. The valleys and hill points here are truly photogenic. There is a market in Matheran famous for leather goods and articles of cane. Sweet Chikki is also available. Although being a small hill station, Matheran has enough hotels to accommodate a large number of tourists flocking here each year. Many international tourists can be seen wandering here on horse backs. Matheran also harbors a lot of colonial architecture and relics that are now preserved as heritage structures. These architectural splendors, along with the pastoral feel of the place, whispers of a bygone era and makes one feel heady and nostalgic to the core.
The majestic cliffs with their alpine heights provide some enchanting views of the vistas of green embellishments below. The “Hart Point” is a vantage point that gives a magnificent view of Mumbai at night. One can see thousands of lights flickering below, that makes the city look like a tinsel town. With its isolated location, eco-friendly atmosphere and ideal climate, Matheran becomes an ideal place for picnics, bonfires and merry-making. In fact, this pleasant climate has given a boost to the travel & tourism industry of the hill station.
Matheran, the inhabitants used to fish and keep goats they still do, though today the tourist trade takes precedence over everything else. The roads are still not well constructed, there has been no attempt to prune the hedges or smarten up the vegetation, or introduce any kind of uniformity into its environment. Yet, nature herself maintains a mild discipline. The heavy branches of trees are not so thickly interwoven that you cannot see through them; the shrubs do not spill over indiscriminately on to the roads. Monkeys are your companions wherever you go. They are wandering on the trees and always in groups. They will sit in your verandah and on your porch, hugging their babies, combing their hair, squabbling occasionally as humans do. As you jog along in your buggy, monkeys dangle themselves strategically, one paws hanging free to grab your packet of chips. You could wave your crooked Pandhari stick a kind of walking stick at them, but their mournful expressions would melt the sternest heart. Many times they will snatch loafs of breads or whatever eatables you are having. Apart from being a holiday resort with several hotels, guest-houses and lodges, Matheran also has a small, but affluent, resident population. Retirees, mainly, who live in sprawling bungalows with winding pathways and curlicued, iron-wrought gates, reminiscent of the days of the Raj , most of these homes are hidden within forest glades, but some flank the pathways.