If memories become foggy over a period of time, recollections from Matheran would be the most vivid ones for me. Be it any season, any time of the day, this woodland perched above the Sahyadri summits of Maharashtra is always enveloped with cottony fog. I have visited this place twice or thrice since childhood, yet it never fails to allure me.
Matheran is a favourite weekend getaway for Mumbai and Pune, but still untouched by pollution of these twin cities.
Pollution-emitting vehicles are shunned in this eco-sensitive zone. You have to select from a few rudimentary options like toy-train, horseback, hand-pulled rickshaws and good-old hiking to reach the hilltop from the entry point.
I always preferred hiking, and thanked myself for doing so. The moment you enter the gates of this green haven, you are welcomed by the sound of silence; occasionally broken by chirping of birds or neighing of horses.
Rows of quaint little hotels, private bungalows and government properties built in the yesteryears give a Victorian air to this hill station.
If you think that travelling in rains is not a big dampener, then you must visit during the monsoons. The landscape looks like a freshly-painted canvas of nature. Rain-bathed trees swank their brightest greens. Petrichor lingers around day and night. A steady downpour turns the sun-baked roads into gooey mud-ways. (Be careful of your footwear though. It is best to choose closed shoes or strappy floaters over delicate sandals and flip-flops.)
If it is drizzling gently, wear a poncho and a rain hat and step out for sightseeing. There are over 20 spots worth visiting.
However, you can always walk an unwalked path and discover something altogether new.
And if, by any chance, you end up trapped in your room with torrential rains outside, don’t you worry. Just grab your favourite drink, a cuppa coffee or a glass of spirit, and enjoy the view from your window for hours. Not to mention, with your favourite music in the background.
Well, rains may extend for a week or two more. So, why don’t you pack your bags and visit this monsoon getaway?