Saturday, November 03, 2007

Trip to Matheran..

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Its always a happy mode when a student finishes his week long of tense exams and what could be more relieving than a trip plan to Matheran.. the heaven situated just 100 kms from Mumbai.
We, students at our college, decided to go for a trip after which all of them will go for one more stint in the corporate lives with an internship in respective companies. Matheran seemed to be the closest and best option we ought to choose.

Matheran, situated at 803 mt. above sea level is probably the only place, besides Venice in Italy from having banned the use of Motor vehicles in its permissible limits. This keeps Matheran absolutely free from pollution and well situated within dark green forests. Matheran was discovered in 1850s by the Britishers. The USP, as said in marketing terms of Matheran, is the Narrow Gauge (2.0 Ft wide) train popularly known as Toy Train, which was built by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy in 1907 covers a distance of 20 Kms and consumes upto 1 hr 45 mins, taking you through the busy Mumbai - Pune route station Neral to the Forest engulfed Matheran.
The 3 hrs wait for taking that train to Matheran were spent by us lazily on Nerul Station in anticipation of the trip which would be attached with many memories. The train was pulled up on the station well before time which gave us ample time to snap memories in our camera.

The train has only 4 coaches and the charges are well below the normal taxi charge. The train finally chugged out of the station at the mentioned time with the driver and guard flurring the green flags.. the length of the train helps you clearly watch both the flags. The Train signaling system has still the old traditional manual systems and have been maintained over the years. It exchanges a ring which signals its arrival at 2 stations which it passes before reaching its destination. The train starts slowly climbing the hills, circling almost all the range surrounding Matheran. Beautiful scenes, the swirling track, the deep valleys and the some prevalent springs all mesmerize the 2 hrs journey to the top.

By the time we reached atop, it was almost dinner time and Matheran does not have much options but only an area where the restaurants are available,also eventually the only area where you get the mobile network. We directly stepped into the quite famous Khan's Hookahs and Tikkas restaurant. The only decent hotel, has a good ambience filled with fountains, cushions and music playing in the background. A hookah was ordered without any inspection of the menu card, the rest main course decision was a brain storming session with everybody's hungry stomachs affecting the decision making.

After a good and filling dinner, it was time for a walk back to the resort where bookings were already made by a batch of us who had arrived earlier in the day trekking all their way to the top, about 9 kms from Nerul station. A small visit in the dark jungle was amazing at that time, we were on our way to Khandala point, till the time everyone finished with their dinner. The only thing visible at that point, after all torches were turned off, was the moon that very well shined and no hindrances of pollution affecting its shining brightness.

In the next half an hour, we found ourselves in the resort looking and arranging for the rooms. The resort had a in house disco, and yes we were out there shaking a leg to the music. The DJ went on well till 11 in the night, as the resort was quite isolated to be heard by anyone.

The night was long with games like dumb charades and cards and alive with discussions for plan of the next day which would be eventually the last day in Matheran. The next morning started with a good hot water bath and good games of Carrom and Table tennis at the resort provided facilities, follow
ed by a good tea. The post tea saw us trekking our way to some of the points like Echo Point, Charlotte Lake and missing out on points like One tree hill, Panorama point.

Matheran is filled with monkeys all around trying to snatch anything and everything they can eat, one will find monkeys roaming around like dogs do in the cities. A strange but funny incident happened when a monkey snatched a bag from one of our colleague's hands and ran away, but few of our brave guys followed it, finally the monkey climbed atop a tree with only taking one biscuit packet out of the 4-5 packets in that bag. The bag was safe and sound back with the owner. The remaining tour still remained incident-free.

The way back was kicked off after a lunch at some place in the market area, the food being pathetic my memory gives way for remembering its name. A filled stomach and Blurring noon sun, we were off to the Dasturi check point to catch a taxi back to the Nerul Station. We just missed a local train back to Mumbai by 3 -4 minutes and had to wait for another hour for the next train.

The journey back was filled with memories from the trip and incidents that occurred on the trip. This trip would certainly be at the back of our minds when we return back to our life in the corporate world and rejoice the memories when we would miss each other !!!

To reach Matheran: (From Mumbai)
  • By Road: Take the Mumbai-Nashik Highway and turn the diversion for Nerul which lies about 100 km off Mumbai.
  • By Rail: Board a local train from Dadar to Karjat or Khopoli, get down at Nerul Station after Ambernath .. take a cab to Matheran or the toy trains exclusive services
    • Cab Fare: Rs 60 - 100 depending upon the day.. generally Maruti Vans etc..
    • Toy train Fare : Rs 32 - General Class / Rs 170 - First Class

1 comment:

Mr. A said...

That's a very nice description by Chiru about our Matheran Trip...looks like this guy has a lot to say but limited by constraints of space n time......do not worry yaar....u will be appointed as an official reporter of IGTC for coverage of our next trip to Goa.:)