Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Having realized that Bombay was not receiving its due share of rains, I and my friends decided to head out of town for a weekend. Out of sheer laziness and lack of planning time, we picked Matheran as the destination. With great enthusiasm, I decided to take along my camera and tripod, with the intention of spotting and photographing a few interesting birds.

The evening before the trip turned out to be interesting, but not quite in a good way. I left office early Friday, intending to get to Rasayani , and then leaving for Matheran from there Saturday morning. Other than getting me a couple of extra hours of sleep Saturday morning, this was supposed to allow me to drop off loads of laundry and other assorted stuff home and take only the bare minimum – camera and tripod, on the trip. Quite unfortunately, Friday was also the last working day before day one of the Ganesh featival and all the intelligent citizens thought similarly (getting out of the city, not going to Matheran). I boarded an ST at 9.15 PM, and woke up a couple of hours later to find myself still in Chembur. The bus broke down at Deonar and I decided that it might be wiser to stay in Mumbai for the night. I took a cab from Chembur to Dadar, and the fare ensured that the cabbie’s family would have a new set of clothes, kids would get good schooling, and that he would have a decent pension for life.

Saturday morning, I ended up at Dadar station at 6.30 AM with heavily loaded backpack, plus camera and tripod. I caught the 6.41 Karjat train and my friends joined en route. We reached Neral around 8.15 AM and rushed out to gobble up some hot vada pavs. We hired a taxi for 200 Rs. to take us to Dasturi. The weather was excellent - just like it was about to drizzle. We walked to Panorama point, which is a little way off the other places to visit, and is accessed by a mud road from Dasturi. As expected it was deserted and beautiful, with no one around except a local courting couple, which I expect, didn't have kind things to think about us for disturbing them.

After a peaceful walk back to Dasturi, we headed into Matheran, spotting along the way, a blind snake. (pictures at the end). Most shops were closed on account of reduced tourist numbers (swine flu and Ganpati festival). Famished, we waited while a small restaurant owner in Bazaarpeth cooked lunch specially for us, and then proceeded to demolish the meals provided. We then walked to One-tree-hill, passing along the way, some very pretty old buildings, including the Sir Ratan Tata Convalescent Home -The Homestead. We walked in to have a quick look and found the beautiful building crumbling to pieces. We spent some quiet time at one-tree-hill, before some young tourists found the place. We then trekked to the Charlotte Lake, where we proceeded to have lukewarm tea in the company of two very friendly dogs.

By this time, my shoulders were suggesting an early retirement, and considering the time, we trudged back to Dasturi Naka, to catch another cab back to Neral. We had some excellent Misal Pav at Neral, before catching trains back home. I reached home only about 8 PM, with my pleas to my mum for a shoulder massage following around 8.01 PM.
Matheran doesn't have too many visitors in the rains - definitely visit during the monsoons when the maddening crowds aren't around happily trying to figure out why their voice echoes at every 'point'.