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Good to Know - Travel Tips for a Tranquil Vacation in Matheran

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The quaint hill station of Matheran is cooler and less humid than nearby Mumbai or Pune. The area's steep mountains mean there are many viewpoints with stunning views of cliffs and waterfalls, as well as dramatic vertical drops to the valley below. Many visitors are drawn to Matheran for its tranquillity and natural beauty.

Best time to travel

 

A good time to visit Matheran is in October, after monsoon season. During monsoon season, from June to September, heavy downpours muddy the roads and many places are closed. But if you’re up for a good storm, some hotels offer 50 percent discounts. Temperatures reach a high of 32 degrees C (89.6 F) during the summer and around 15 degrees C (59 F) during the winter. The busiest times in Matheran are during the Diwali Festival in mid-October and the Indian school holiday from April to June.

Not to miss

 

As no vehicles or bicycles are allowed within 3 km of Matheran, staying in the town allows travelers to slow down and enjoy their natural surrounds. Wild monkeys and guided packhorses fill the mud streets. In October, just after monsoon season, vegetation is lush and waterfalls are swollen, enhancing the beautiful vistas you'll find at viewpoints around Matheran. Adventurous souls should definitely try the Matheran Valley Crossing - a 600-meter zip wire from Echo Point to Louisa Point with nothing but 800 meters of air beneath your dangling feet.

 

Getting around

 

Getting to Matheran is part of the adventure. For a fun way to travel, why not consider the popular 2-hour trip on the Toy Train from Neral? To get from Mumbai to Neral, a wise choice would be either the Deccan Express or the Koyna Express. You can also take a taxi from Neral to Dasturi car park, around 3 km from Matheran. Horses are waiting there to carry you the rest of the way. Once you’re in Matheran, you can hire hand-pulled carts and guided horses, or there’s always good old-fashioned walking.

 

Cuisine

 

Restaurants in Matheran are varied and plentiful, while many hotels offer all-inclusive packages that cover all meals. Local fare includes misal pav, a hot bean breakfast dish, vada pav, a vegetarian version of a burger, and the popular yogurt drink taak. In the bustling market, you'll find many versions of chikki, a sweet, nut-based snack. There’s good Chinese food to be found, too. If you’re a meat eater, make sure you try Maratha mutton, a goat dish particular to this region. After your meal, a 7 to 10 percent tip is customary.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

In Matheran, as elsewhere in India, people generally don't like to give negative answers. So they might say yes, but then they’re very vague with specific details. This may be a sign they’re actually saying no. Whether you’re bargaining with a vendor in the local market or trying to catch a ride on a hand-pulled cart, try to get a completely positive commitment to a price or a destination.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 5000
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  • Spoken languages: Marathi, Hindi, and English
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  • Electrical: 230 volts, 50 Hz, plug type C, D, M
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  • Phone calling code: +91 21483
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  • Emergency number: Ambulance: 102; Fire: 101; Police: 100