Matheran is a miniscule hill station on the outerskirts of modern day Mumbai. Motor vehicles are banned on the top citing pollution. So the only transport options available on top are horseback and foot. Vehicles are allowed to ply upto a ceratin point close to the peak though. There are 22 odd view points for us to feast upon the unintoxiated platter of beauty nature has to offer. But as majority of the populace chooses foot over horseback, the number of points that can be covered in a day is limited to 4 or 5. But we, the brave and curious explorers, decided to go one step ahead and cover as much as possible. I am proud to say, we did cover a total of 8 points, some of them mind blowing!
We got up at 3.30 am reached Matheran by 8.30 am. And the journey started! The best description I can give to what followed is enchanting woods, enticing nature, sizzling rains, walk through the clouds, peek into the heavens, a crazy trip accounting for an awesome sunday! It was the first time in my life where I spent a whole day getting drenched in rain again and again. The first point we reached was named Monkey point. It offered an amazing view of the valley and plains below. There was something magical about the view. Or so I thought only to be disproved later on the same day! After the ususal frenzy about photographs was over, we proceeded next to Echo point. To say the views were breathtaking is an understatement. Lush green valleys, deep gorges, clouds floating at one hand's distance and a waterfall. "The act of waking up at 3.30am is gratified", I told myself. But the Echo point never echoed.
Next in line was Charlotte lake. It is a huge lake on top of a hill fed by rain waters, which in turn feeds a giant waterfall. Tourists are permitted to bathe in the overflowing waters and when did we ever miss a chance to have fun! This experience was the icing on the cake. It was just mind blowing. We spent an odd 20 minutes in the water which felt like hours for us. Next in line were 2 important things - Lord's point, suppossed to be one of the best view points in Matheran and Lunch! We were disappointed at Lord's point as cloud cover refused to budge and all we could see was glittering silvery grey. So we headed straight to have lunch.
Post lunch, we decided to pay a visit to the One Tree Hill point. This a funny place where you get to see a huge hill with only one tree on top of it! This was the best place on Matheran and it is situated in the southern end of it. If at all, you go to Matheran, don't miss it. This is a place where clouds play hide and seek with you! Yes. One minute you see silvery grey clouds, next minute you see incredibly deep valleys, next minute it is the picturesque town miles away and next minute you can't even see your fellow mates! Man, you have to be there. "The act of waking up at 3.30am is completely gratified", I told myself again.
On our way back, we stumbled on a path that would lead us to what was Belvedre point. As our batteries were nearing red zone by then, some of us were diffident to explore it. But the sign that read "Belvedre point. 2 minits" motivated us to go there and witness something that is simply not possible. As we started nearing the Belvedre point, it started to rain heavily. But something caught our eye, the rain was coming horizontally as if someone was shooting water bullets at us. We went further to investigate it and... abracadabra! There was a waterfall in which water never fell! Winds were blowing at such high speeds that entire water was sent backwards to where it came from! I know it is hard to believe this. For the skeptics and the admirers, I captured a video of this incredible natural phenomenon. Contact me for the video and see it for yourself!
After this the agenda was to go home. But reliable sources gave us the information that there was one more place, Lucia point, worth visiting. Some of backed out saying it could become dark and we don't want to be late. But a group of 7 nature enthusiasts headed straight to Lucia point. Believe it or not, it always pays to go that extra mile, in this case, literally! Lucia point is situated on the highest elevation on Matheran. You can see the tops of smaller hills from here and the winds are so strong that if you jump, you will land a few centimeters back. This is a narow cliff with nothing on 3 sides, not even railings! The most dangerous venture limit is decided by your confidence and courage. And yeah, there is no hide and seek with the clouds, you just walk through them. Clouds are all around you and visibility at times reduces to near zero! It was getting both dark and late by that time and our batteries were almost exhausted. So we had to start the return journey. It was a long, painful walk back to the taxi stand, aggravated by the wet jeans and wind cheater. Somehow we managed to reach the taxi stand and subquently NITIE.
It was a day of sorts. I got up at an hour I usually go to sleep, did a lifetime of walking in a single day, took bath in ice cold water with jeans on, pushed myself to my physical maximum, walked through scary forest pathways, interacted with mother nature face to face, had lots and lots of fun and returned with a rejuvenated mind. Not to mention my jeans that were completely drenched every half and hour! The day will never get over without special mention to two people - 'Akash'pedia, for taking the responsibility of guiding us although he knew nothing in Matheran and Mr. Pandey, for never failing to take the wrong route in every possible juncture! Next day, I slept completely and when I woke up I just had could, cough, fever, body pain and killer ache in the legs. All in all, it was a day that deserved to be remembered and it will be!