A weekend at Matheran

August 29, 2006 at 8:07 pm 2 comments

Finally, a much needed break from the world of shredded codes and excels, a refreshing weekend spent on trekking up the dense green mountains and waterfalls, a relentless adda (chat) with old buddies and baring the soul to the nature, forgetful of the noisy city life.

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Destination Matheran: A hill station in Maharasthra perched on the top of western ghats at 2600 feet above the sea level. It is 110 kms drive from Mumbai and 120 kms from pune. Except me, all the trip members were from Mumbai, so we decided Neral as the meeting point for the group. Took a train from pune in the early morning to Neral, where the rest of the gang arrived from Mumbai by a local train. Met Sharmistha, who joined the trip at the last moment after getting a tip from her friend Kali (amitava sengupta) about the plan. Incidentally, as if to prove that life comes a full circle, she turned out to be the sister of an old friend from RKM. The rest of the team, Devadyuti, Debarati and Kali were old acquaintances. Pocha and kola (nicknames) couldn’t make it at the last moment.

from the top

From Neral, we took a taxi to Matheran, which is a 40 mins drive up the hill. The landscape was breadth taking and we had no doubt that a good time was in the offing. The MTDC hotel that we booked from Mumbai is located right at the matheran entrance, so the usual trouble of finding-your-hotel was avoided. Rooms were pretty decent, so were the service and food as we found out. The only problem one wud face here is the wild presence of countless monkeys who would keep watch on you at every possible instance that involves food!! Luckily, we got a trusted buddy, ghodpode the doggy, who in return of biscuits and other eatables, chased away the greedy monkeys. Ha ha..

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Time to trek: to go up the hill and visit the points (there are too many – most popular ones are Monkey point, Echo point, Sunset point, Lord Point, Charlotte lake, and Honeymoon point), you have two options at your disposal – a horse ride (the charges are bit too high, you need to do an extensive bargaining) or WALK. The main market area is quite up the hill from the entrance, where our hotel was. Once you reach the market, read the map to head towards these points. One must carry a raincoat and water bottles before starting for the trek. Sometimes, you have possibilities of getting lost in the woods chasing a point. So, stack yourself with some local maps (you can get them from the hotels or tourism dept office), and keep asking the locals. They are quite friendly. Have a packet of salt for there are leeches all the way. Luckily, we avoided them. Trekking shoes are MUST as the hilly roads are very sleepery and at some places you need to take big strides to avoid the rocky juttings across the road.

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We started from monkey point, which is the nearest one from the market place. After playing a little hide-n-seek with the clouds, the point offered a heart-stopping view of the western ghats and their numerous down-streams in the midst of lush green, soaked heavily in fresh downpours. Ahh. The cold breeze would take away all the mental clogs, the trickling sound of water would form the symphony while the roaring wind breaking the silence of the hills. ‘Heaven’, I said while taking a dip at the nature, drenching in the rains.

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After a heavy meal near the monkey point, we kicked off our relentless walk among the woods to go the other points, one after another, only to head back to the hotel around 8 in the evening. I was surprised with myself for such a performance – walking non stop for 8 hrs, not bad according to my standards. And coupled with never stopping Ls (a term we use for PJs), tea breaks, shooting, fighting hard with the monkeys to hold our belongings safe, a lavish wine session… – the day was gone past in a whiz, before I could even realize.

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heading back to neral brought up a debate on the Sunday morning. Finally, we decided to walk all the way down to neral, which wud take a minimum of 3-4 hrs depending on our speed. At MTDC, you have to check out before 10 in the morning – a rule that I always hated. The cycle shud be 24 hrs, I always argued. But then, a rule is a rule after all and you don’t have an option. Bidding our buddy ghodpode and those disappointed monkeys a goodbye, we headed down, leaving a beautiful day spent at Matheran.

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Ahh. I always hated this concluding part; it kind of put a heavy stone on my heart every time the ‘departure’ scenario appears on the block. We decided to grab a few alu parathas at neral befor boarding for our respective trains. Hmm. The food was superb (check out if you happen to stop at neral sometimes; it’s just opp to the station, next to the wine shop). We hogged like anything to eliminate any possibility of missing out the next train at 2:22 PM. I had to wait an hour there to catch the Mumbai-Hyderabad express for pune while the Mumbai gang took a local and headed back home. I kept sipping at my rum-mixed cola till I heard the voice “7031 down Mumbai Hyderabad express is arriving at platform no one”. with a strange blankness, picking up my rucksack, I blabbered – “back to hell **** ”

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our trip video

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Entry filed under: travel, videos.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alexmthomas  |  September 6, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    I would love to have been on this trek. It is so poignant. Nature is so very appealing that making treks like you guys did is really wonderful.

    Go on dude!

    Reply
  • 2. surfryder  |  September 7, 2006 at 11:55 am

    @ Alex: thanQ. really, it is, to be with mother nature forgetting the dusty city life!

    Reply

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