Getaway to Matheran Hill Station

The most pleasant hill station to visit near Mumbai, Matheran, founded by British collector Hugh Malet, is cooler than Mumbai all year long due to the elevation, and it's particularly nice in the months leading up to and during the monsoon, when the hillsides burst into verdant bloom. One big attraction is the fact that Matheran is car-free, and the main forms of transportation are horses, hand-pulled rickshaws, and carts. The late Jimmy Lord, a crusty Parsi gentleman who established a Raj-style hotel (Lords Central) here, was responsible for the push to hang on to Matheran's heritage: he was at the forefront of campaigns to keep the hill station free of vehicles. Over the years this hill station has grown from a tiny hamlet to a budget tourist resort. Horseback riding on the country paths beyond town is a pleasant and popular pastime. Matheran is famed for its handmade shoes, and stalls and stalls of footwear dot the town. Equally famous is the historic "toy" train by which you get hereā€”it's not a toy but, rather, runs on a narrower-gauge track.

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