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Olympia Race Course in Matheran

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On our way to Little Chowk Point we asked a few villagers for directions to Olympia as we had been able to locate it on our map, but there were no signboards to help us.

The villagers were carrying bales of hay on their heads. I wonder how much they get paid just to cut the dried grass and sell it off to the horse owners.

The villagers gave us directions to the race course, but when I asked them about the whereabouts of Panther’s Cave, they said they didn’t know about it.

Olympia Race Course in the middle fo the thick jungle on Matheran
This was a momentary setback, but then we figured that if the name, Panther’s Cave, featured on the map, then it meant that the place did indeed exist. Perhaps it was known by a different name locally. That would explain why the local people had not heard of it.

It took us around 25 minutes to reach Olympia from Rambaug Point.

In the midst of thick forest suddenly there was a huge open ground. It had two tracks, one on the inside and the other on the outside. I guess horse races take place on both the tracks.

The  horse hooves in the mud at the Olympia Race Course
I located a horseman here and decided to bombard him with a few questions. “When are these races held, and who participates in them?” He told me that the races are held in the month of May and that local horses from Matheran participate in them.

I decided that I would get the exact dates of the race out and try to see one for myself, but he didn’t provide me with the dates.

The outer track clearly showed the imprint of the horses’ shoes on it. Perhaps the horses had already started practicing for the championship.

I imagined the stadium full of people sitting and cheering and thud - that was the sound of the gun, marking the start of the race. Horses racing in the mud, struggling to be the first to arrive at the finish point. The sound of the hooves and the loud cheering of the crowd adding to it, it would surely be a sight to see.
I then headed off to see Little Chowk Point.

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