The month of December for me is all about Christmas and the festive mood with Christmas lights all around. I love these strings of colourful lights and the aura it creates when these are put on the Christmas tree. So to celebrate my favorite festival, I decided to visit India’s smallest hill station – Matheran. The cool air of the hills is such a refreshing change from the hustle-bustle of city life. You can get absorbed in the beauty of this place and never want to go back to your tiresome daily routine. Matheran is just about 100 kms away from Mumbai. It is one of those few places in the world where absolutely no vehicles are allowed. The fresh unpolluted air of Matheran free of smoke is definitely rejuvenating!
On reaching the foot of hills, we had few options to reach Matheran – take a Toy train which takes 2.5 hours to reach the top of mountain, take a horse ride or hand pulled carts as no vehicles are allowed. But, I chose a healthy option and decided to trek up 🙂
The brown, the blue, the green and the white was sparkling as I was going higher and higher. After a sumptuous meal at the Resort and short break on the porch swing, we decided to explore the scenic beauty of Matheran. There are around 33 lookout points that provide spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Most of the tourists prefer to ride a horse to visit these points. This hill station has about 460 horses and every horse has a name which is embroidered on saddle blanket of the horse. The horses which I rode were named as Tapu and Jethalal (names of characters of an Indian daily soap).
So the first viewpoint was Edward point which gave a breathtaking view. I was wondering who blows cool air from the hills and to my surprise I found the source of this cool air. If you observe the picture below closely, you will see the lips of the mountains blowing cool air.
Most of these points are fenced and there are few shops at the entrance which are occupied by Gola wala’s, Maggie and tea stalls.
The next point was Echo point where the tourists were calling out their names and the names of their loved ones to hear the echo.
My favorite point was Upper Louisa point which also had a Lion’s Head. The Monkeys welcomed us when we reached this point. The Monkeys here are well trained and would give you a good pose for a click. But beware of these notorious monkeys as they are wicked enough to snatch food packets from your hand. In my opinion, they are supporting the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ campaign (cleanliness drive launched by the Government of India recently).
Well the name Lion’s Head did ring a bell and I started looking out for the Lion’s Head. With a little ego, I took the challenge to find the Lion’s Head without anyone’s help. Uff uff uff…there it was right in front of me after I had analyzed all the rocks and forced my brain to make them appear like Lion’s head. If you take a close look at this stunning rock which resembles the Lion’s head, you will see a red flag on it – so that means somebody dared to climb on this rock and stand on the head of Lion!
The other lookout points were Honeymoon point, Malang point, Monkey point, Alexander point and the list goes on. The last point for the day was Porcupine point which is also known as the sunset point. To my great surprise, the lips of the mountains which were blowing cool air swallowed the Sun as I saw the sun setting leaving behind my favorite colours of sunset.
The perfect day ended with perfect dinner at the Resort where I treated myself with delicious food and the unleavened tandoori roti. Tandoori roti is a popular bread which is made from whole wheat flour and made on a tandoor (pictures below for your eyes).
The next day at Matheran started with Rambag point which is also known as the sunrise point. We reached the sunrise point quite early as we just did not want to miss the sunrise. I was staring at the sky and was stunned to see a bright fast-moving spot. Is it a meteor? Is it a plane? It might be the International Space Station (ISS) as it was visible for couple of minutes.
So the early birds were rewarded on Christmas! The space station looks like a fast-moving shining star in the sky and is one of the most stupendous views. I was hoping to get some sunrise shots with a backlit mountain. As the bright, orange ball of sun began to rise, it was like looking at an artist’s palette of colours because it just kept changing!
Matheran was a memorable experience and the ISS was definitely the icing on the cake! Wishing you and your family Happy New Year 🙂
Cheers – Lubna