We (I and my friend) were in Maharastra for 2 weeks around end September and during our Maharastra trip, we visited Matheran from Mumbai.
Our original idea was to take toy train from Panvel to Matheran but when we tried to book the tickets, we came to know that toy train doesn’t ply in monsoon months. We traveled by train from Sindhudurg and reached Panvel next morning. Outside the station, we got a bus for Matheran but unfortunately, we didn’t realize that it was first going to Karzat. After traveling for some time we didn’t reach Matheran (Matheran is 15-16 Km from Panvel) then we started inquiring and realized it was an indirect bus.
It means we traveled in the wrong direction and now we have to cover more distance to reach Matheran. We got down from bus cursing ourselves and conductor who moved his head affirmative when we initially enquired. We waiting for another 20 minutes and got another bus to the base of Matheran.
From that point no vehicle are allowed, you either take horse or handcart or walk. We decided to walk/trek and followed other tourists walking towards Matheran.
After walking on mud trek for some time, they shifted to train trek. Rest of the distance we covered on train trek. There were monkeys on the way and they jumped on my friend when she opened the zip of her bag to take out the camera. We screamed and everyone walking ahead stopped, monkeys also ran away when we started screaming.
We were advised by people not to open bags because the sound of zipper opening attract monkeys. They think that someone is taking out eatables. We got the point and walked in peace for rest of the trek. Finally, we reached the town of Matheran. Our hotel was in the begining of town close to railway station. Here are some of the Matheran places to see.
We checked into the hotel and freshen up. The windows in the hotel room had metal grills to restrict the monkeys.
After walking around all day we were tired by evening. It was getting cold, so we had early dinner.
Next morning we decide to explore some of the other places before leaving. There are lots of viewpoints with different names and most of them have a similar view. I am not going to write names of all those points.
My advice is to visit some of the points, relax there for some time. Maybe carry picnic basket and enjoy the view because there is no point going to all points just to tick those from your list. The route to all points goes from the same jungle. Walking around in the middle of nowhere is experience in itself.
Finally, we left from the Matheran around afternoon. We walked on the mud trek. While we were returning, we saw horses carrying loads of eatable and other items of daily use. Construction workers were repairing and leveling the mud trek with rollers.
We reached base and took shared van for Panvel station, from there we took the train for Mumbai.
There is not much to do but I enjoyed walking around in jungle area, it was off season so no crowd but it was green & peaceful.
How to reach Matheran –
1.) It is 80 Km from Mumbai and very well connected with trains till Panvel.
By driving car.
2.) Panvel to Matheran is 15 Km and can be reached by toy train except for monsoon season when they close the train. Book Train ticket in advance because this toy train runs full during the season.
Many shared and private vans or cars available at Panvel station for Matheran. Takes approx 30 minutes.
Best time to visit –
Summer months but it is too crowded.
My personal favorite is end of monsoon and before winters. It is green and peaceful, no tourist crowd.