Matheran – My Favourite Destination For A Weekend Getaway From Mumbai

Everyone needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to destress and get some R n R (rest and relaxation).  I’m sure you all have that one favourite destination that you never tire of, no matter how often you visit it. Almost as though there is some past-life connect with it. Well, for me it is Matheran, a little hill station (approx 2625ft above sea level) near Mumbai. 

A brief history (dont worry, I wont bore you):
Matheran was discovered by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane in 1850. The British then developed it as a hill station to beat the Indian heat. the name Matheran literally means “forest on the head of the mountain” and rightly so coz it does have quite a decent forest cover. It has also been declared as an eco-sensitive region. 

I simply love this lovely town that I have been visiting since I was a baby in my parents arms. Matheran, how do I love thee, let me count the ways:
* It is car-free. Can you imagine, no honking of cars, no revving of engines, no traffic jams, no grating-on-your-nerves reverse music and no exhaust fumes! You get to breath fresh, pollution-free air. 

*Since it has no vehicals (except for an ambulance kept for emergencies), you have to either hire a hand rickshaw, ride a horse, or my favourite option, walk! Besides being healthy for us and the environment, walking along the tree-lined dusty “roads” gives a very rustic sort of pleasure. 
* It’s situated in the hills. Ok, they might not be majestic mountains reaching up to the skies, but they are hills nevertheless. And no matter how much I love holidaying on the beaches of Goa, Thailand, Bali and Mauritius, I’m a mountain girl at heart, happiest in the hills.

* Birds, monkeys, horses, squirrels abound here and it is such a pleasure to watch them. Of course, you have to be very careful with the monkeys. (On my last trip here, we left the balcony door unlocked by mistake. by the time we came back from lunch, the monkeys had ransacked our room and had a feast. All the snacks we had taken for the kids reached the monkey’s tummies. Not a single slice of cheese nor a single almond remained).

* The combination of green and grey. Ok, I know that is not a very appealing combination, but when Mother Nature dons these colours, she looks resplendent. I’m talking of how the mountain looks during the monsoons. Lush, verdant green hills and thick grey clouds and mists playing hide n seek…oh, its just too beautiful. But then, this is true of all hill/mountain towns. 

*And did I mention no mobile coverage? Yes, it is true, except for certain areas like the main market area, Dasturi car park (beyond which cars aren’t permitted) and certain other spots, Matheran is largely uncovered by mobile networks. Isn’t that simply amazing?? It is THE best and most peaceful way to de-stress. No continuous interruptions with the cell ringing/bbm/fb/twitter/wassap/emails. Sigh…bliss (well, just for a few days). Aircell and Loop subscribers do get network at the resort we stay in, Usha Ascot (have been holidaying there since the last 7 years), Airtel and Vodafone users can enjoy the peace. 

One afternoon on our holiday here last month, it had just stopped raining and there was a lovely cool breeze, the birds were chirping and my elder son and I were sitting on one of the big swings in the resort (while hubby dearest and toddler took their afternoon nap). My son suddenly said, “Mom, why dont we come and live here? It is so beautiful and peaceful and spacious.” Well, that’s the kind of effect Matheran has even on a hyper-active 6 yr old. What more can I say….

Disclaimer: This is not an advertorial or a promotion piece for Matheran tourism or for Usha Ascot. These are my personal view points and I am not being paid to write this.

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