Last weekend, six of us met at Matheran for a small weekend get-together. Three of us headed from Pune and the other three from Mumbai. Coincidentally, both groups started at the same time (8:30am) and reached Dasturi at the same time (11am). We were dropped at the foothills of Matheran from where we took a shared cab to Dasturi car park (around 7kms). From Dasturi car park, we walked just over an hour to reach our hotel, The Verandah in the Forest.
If I’m to talk about Matheran, I think I would harp on our hotel (a beautiful heritage hotel) than the local spots. Truth be told, Matheran in monsoon, is filled with tourists to the hilt. And that is something not very sensory. In fact, I found it quite distressing. People everywhere, shouting, screaming, rushing, pushing. I’m so glad we chose a place which was far from the madding crowd. With only 11 rooms, the hotel was a special place.
It belonged originally to a Parsi family but is now a renovated ‘heritage hotel’ under Neemrana Hotels. The Verandah in the Forest is a perfectly apt name for it. There is, in fact, a huge verandah where breakfast and lunch is served.
The place resembles colonial bungalows of the bygone British era. Lovely wrought iron works, wooden chests, floral sofas, wooden-jute lounge chairs, porcelain dinner sets, silver cutlery, high-ceilings, four-poster beds, marble table-tops, candle-stands, portraits on the walls, statue busts, chandeliers, you get the idea.
I was transported into another era; an era of Victorian charm. The mist, the rains added to the beauty of the place. There was a tree-house (a bare minimum of a tree house, actually) that added to the charm.
Nearby, there is Lake Charlotte; a lovely place when not abused in the hands of tourists. Tourists shower, get drunk and do all kinds of antics during the day but if you are staying at The Verandah in the Forest, you should visit the lake once the tourist’ screams dies down. It’s a truly pretty lake.
I will not lie. I didn’t see the usual touristy spots of Matheran, I didn’t take the toy train (though I did try on horse-riding) but I don’t regret it a bit.
I went up the tree-house and felt the clouds passing by; watched the lone lantern dancing in the wind; wondering how life would have been in the bygone era. I had long conversations with nature. I fell in love with Matheran.
Tip: please don’t stay in the “town/bazaar”; stay in a secluded place, away from the crowd