Matheran is situated at a height of 803 m above sea level. Since 1907, a narrow gauge railway line connects Matheran to Neral in the plains. Motor vehicles are completely banned in Matheran (Venice and Matheran are probably the only places in the world where motor cars are banned), making it quite peaceful despite the thousands of visitors that come here, mostly from Mumbai. There are a number of lookout points that provide spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Matheran is a plateau with a resonably dense forest cover. Being a hill station it is pleasant almost throughout the year. In winter, the nights can get a bit chilly though. The best time to go to Matheran is post-monsoon. It is truly spectacular at this time of the year with lush greenery, waterfalls and the lake full with water.
You can catch a Karjat bound local train from CST(a.k.a. VT Mumbai, India) on the Central Railway to Neral Station. From Neral Station , there is a toy train which runs to Matheran about 4 times in a day. This toy train is not operational when railway route in under maintenance or when there is a perceived hazard e.g. the monsoons. The only way to know about it is at the Neral Station. Alternately, there are many share-a-cabs which take you to matheran from Neral. The distance from Neral to Dasturi Point(last point to which vehicles are allowed in Matheran)is 6 km.
The drivers that ply through the roads have immaculate driving skills, so a real advice here is not to keep eyeing the blind turns and foot-to-brake co-ordination, but to just enjoy the breath-taking views as you climb up towards the Dasturi point.
Cars are not allowed within Matheran. However you can drive up and park your car at DastuItalic text min walk/horseback/Man-pulled rickshaw to Matheran along a mud track.
As motor vehicles are banned, there are two ways of getting around in Matheran.
Some of the popular points include:
Due to the prohibition of cars, Matheran is a relatively peaceful place. So walking is an activity that will be richly rewarding. There are numerous points all over Matheran, some of which provide some fantastic views of the valley below.
Horse riding is also quite popular way of getting around in Matheran. Finding a horse is not very difficult, as there are many of them around. It is a great way to travel for people who prefer not to walk.
There are all kinds of restaurants in Matheran serving various cuisines. Try the Maharashtrian style Vada-Pav (Indian Burger)which is available at the various points. Also, try the chikki which is available in different flavors in the main market.
There are all kinds of restaurants in Matheran serving various drinks, try the unique Kokam Sherbat there.
A good place to stay is the R. B. Curumsey Damjee Arogya Bhuvan, A health sanatorium in Matheran run by a public charitable trust. All the proceeds from this sanatorium are used in maintenance of the property and for other charitable purposes only. Situated near Monkey point it is equidistant from Dasturi (Car park) and the Market away from the crowd where there is just you and nature. Two old heritage bungalows have been taken over and remodeled and two more bungalows have been added. All bungalows face a lush green forest. Each bungalow is divided into 2 or 3 units. The place is vegetarian and alcohol is prohibited. The trust's rules apply.Their Website
There is a entry fee of Rs 25 for visitors entering Matheran. The proceeds from this is used for the upkeep of the place considering its fragile ecosystem.