After taking two days to visit Kalavanthin fort and Prabalgarh fort, we called an auto from Prabil Machchi Bers camp and returned to Chowk. He did not dare to travel after having money. The journey is a feeling. With a shelter to stay in and food to cook and eat, the time or day was not an issue, and the plan was to take a return ticket and return to the country if we got tired.
In Maharashtra during the Corona era, travel is moving forward by using public transport as much as possible and taking shared taxis and autos to other places. Panvel – Chowk – Karjat – Neral was our itinerary.
The main reason for traveling by Chowk Connect is that public transport has not resumed properly in Maharashtra after Corona. Now we have to call autos to travel to many villages. The journey of both of them continues as if Veenatam is Vishnu world. There is no direct bus service to Karja. A google search shows Chowk as the main place near Karjat. The plan was changed. Without getting down at Shetong Fati, the journey started from the base camp and reached Chowk after half an hour by paying a hundred rupees more in the same auto.
Took a shared taxi from Chowk to Karjam.
Even after reaching Karjat, the taxi driver does not stop the vehicle. The taxi driver is waiting to fool us who have Google map open. In the meantime, it was the job of landing at a place called Pulli Neral in Nice after giving an estimate of one thousand rupees. When we realized the incident, we stopped the car at the next stop and got off. Here too, taxi drivers are waiting to pounce.
They know our destination with bag on shoulder. Otokar circled. Many people say that the rate is ridiculous. Meanwhile, someone looked at us, who had gone away from everyone. It’s drizzling outside, hot and sipping hot tea, I crossed the straight road and started waiting for the taxis going that way. The gentleman mentioned earlier approached us again with the cart. He said that he would pay a hundred rupees less than what he bargained for earlier. He somehow said no and got rid of him. He parked his car at the auto stand a little behind and walked towards us. He stayed there for some time. We go this way without minding anything while we keep our eyes on the vehicles. A taxi car coming straight ahead stopped. Something in Marathi tells the taxi driver that the person mentioned earlier has run away.
I noticed his body language. When the taxi driver quickly left the car without picking us up, I realized that he was nice and gave us a job.
We stood back a little before leaving and applied the hitch hiker formula of not waving when a taxi comes. He waved to the goods cart that was coming. Fortunately, the second waved carriage stopped and got into it. There is a road two and a half kilometers before reaching Neral town, where the vehicle is stopped.
He also gave them their tea money
We thanked the lorry driver and got off. Waited for the next shared taxi.
At six o’clock in the evening, the shared taxi climbed the pass through the mountains of the Western Ghats and reached the top, and that natural village rich in beautiful views was waiting. From here, we can only continue our journey on foot or on horseback… If till now taxi drivers were a nuisance, here the horsemen and porters are a nuisance.. So we decided to walk. Aiming at the bazaar, he started walking for a distance of more than four kilometers along the railway track towards the lake side.
It was getting dark and fog came over the cage. Due to two days of trekking and rain, the walk is a bit slow. It kept moving forward regardless. They are slowly discovering this place, like Shimla, Darjeeling and Ooty, when the high officials of the British Raj are finding places to spend their free time. In 1850, Hugh P. Mallet, who was the collector of Thane in East India, discovered this paradise. A heaven called Matheran, meaning forest, situated on a hill in present-day Raigad district of Maharashtra, was opening before Malet. As a result of long years of study, research and work, building methods that are in harmony with nature have been developed here.
Located not too far from Mumbai and at a height of about 805 meters above sea level on top of the Sahyadri hills, this hill station is not accessible by vehicle.Being an eco-sensitive region and a nature reserve village, Matheran, which is in harmony with nature, has limited facilities compared to other hill stations. Horse and hand-rickshaw, man-navigable,and the toy train. Many sights are waiting for tourists. Being a residential resort with a population of around five thousand people and tourists, the only motor vehicle facilities are an ambulance and police station vehicles for emergency use.
I was a bit tired from walking. Slowly awakening the sleepy eyelids were the street lights of Matheran Bazaar dimmed by the fog. After a short rest, the walk continued again. There is no further distance to Tatakakara. That’s where you need to wake up. I was really surprised when I saw the way the dawn had fallen!Those were all the routes that were completed yesterday with both head torches. Yes, yesterday’s bed of two crazy travelers on the road where they couldn’t see each other despite being right next to each other was a tent erected inside a shop.
Before the shopkeeper came, he folded the tent and left the bag there for some time and went to the lakeside. Tourists are just starting to arrive one by one. We went down to each view point point by point.
Lake Point, Alexander Point, Honeymoon Point, Malang Point, Echo Point, Lucia Point, Porcupine Point. It was late afternoon by the time I saw all the points etc. Came back to the store where the tent was pitched yesterday at the lake side. The shop is open, a total buzz. After drinking each kanta bhaji and tea, he became nice and told the shopkeeper that he left his bag for the night. When the door opened, all the bags had been taken away in a safe. The doctor took the bag and said Bandharka Bacha. A part of your bag has been torn by a monkey. Fortunately, Bagg did not suffer any major losses as the creditor came in time to clear the debt.
He took his bag and walked to the bazaar station. This is where the toy train is. The toy train here known as ‘Fool Rani’ started running in 1907. The distance of the train journey is about 22 km. Due to landslides, soil erosion and accidents, the service from Neral to Matheran has been temporarily suspended. However, there is a 4km service from Aman Lodge to Matheran Bazar for the tourists, with ticket charts ranging from Rs.40 to Rs.350.
A ticket of Rs.40 was taken. The train started. When the train gets off at Aman Lodge, if you change the fog outside and the North Indian parrots inside the train, the ride on the toy train does not seem to be anything new. There is one more view point to be found here. Suryodaya point/pinnacle point. Walked there and pitched a tent for one more night and stayed there. Unfortunately did not get to see the sunrise. However, the two beautiful nights of life that were pushed away on this mountain remain in the memory. There are limits to telling the sights and experiences seen that day.. There are a thousand stories that cannot be told by pictures and dreams. But, it is understood only when traveling and experiencing it. After seeing the views of Materan, I came back down the hill and came to the bus stand. We have to leave the snow roads that we have seen and travel to the real snow world of Maharashtra.