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Panorama Point in Matheran

Friday, March 16, 2012

This trek took place in the rainy season last year. It had been raining heavily for a couple of days, so my office colleagues and I decided to go on a trek to see some place in all its green glory.

We decided to go to Peb fort which is located near the hill station of Matheran. We gathered at Kurla station on the Central line and decided to board the last local for Karjat. We had to reach Neral station on the Karjat railway line.

Eight of us boarded the 1.07 am train at Kurla. We made a lot of noise in the train. Since this was the last train for the night, it was packed with people who later started alighting at their respective destinations. Initially we laughed and joked a lot, but then we began to get tired and started taking short naps as were going to reach Neral at 2.45 am.

Our plan was to wait at Neral station until dawn and then set out. A trek is no fun if you get lost in the dark, and we were here to have fun. We tried to sleep but the mosquitoes and the outstation trains with their sirens kept us awake. Finally we decided to make a move at 4 am.

Now we hadn’t carried any torches so our only hope was that the moonlight would help us to tackle the dark roads and that the rains would spare us.

But what is a trek if there is no adventure?

View from atop Matheran

No sooner did we step out of the station than it began to rain. The rains started playing hide and seek with us. It was very chilly.

We missed the electricity tower where we were supposed to take a detour and carried on in the dark night with no moonlight to guide us on. :(

Even after walking for around two hours we were still climbing. A few locals told us that in order to visit the fort, we would need to go along the railway line.

There are two ways to get up Matheran. The road takes you up in 30 minutes’ time though the climb is very steep and the mini-train takes around 2 hours. So if you have lots of time to spare, then you can certainly take the rail route.

The railway line is closed during the rains for fear of landslides. The line had already been closed a week when we got there.

Trekking to Panorama Point via the railway line

On this trek we got to travel by both the road and the rail route. At indicator 135 NM we boarded the railway line and decided to walk along the stretch. We walked for two hours and all we saw was the track ahead and the scenic view around. By this time the sun had risen and the rays were breaking the clouds and falling on the face of the earth. It was a beautiful sight to see.

I immediately got my camera into position. At which point my fellow-trekkers began to pose for pictures and cribbed loudly about my unwillingness to click their snaps. I had to remind them that I had brought the camera along to shoot nature pictures.

Finally there was a sign there indicating the way to Peb Fort, which apparently is now on a different hill range altogether. We were very pleased to see it. On the Peb hill range, I could see a temple with a table like structure in the distance.

Kadyavarcha Ganpati

We saw the access route to the fort. It seemed difficult to cross, but promised adventure. We decided to head to Matheran as the track would take us there. On the way there was an entrance to a temple. But we could not locate any temple.

The entrance had a bell and had a series of steps leading somewhere. We didn’t follow the steps to see where they were leading to. I wanted to go, but most said NO so I obeyed the majority and we decided to head atop to Matheran.

After walking for around 30 minutes we were taken by surprise by something we saw on the left hand side. There was this huge statue of Ganpati (standing erect) painted on a rock surface with a rat at his feet. This is known locally as Kadyavarcha Ganpati, as it is on the corner of the hill.

Panorama Point
The statue was around 2 storeys high and looked stunning even from a distance. Then we realised that perhaps the steps near the temple led to this place.

After walking and enjoying the scenic view we reached the entrance of Matheran. It was 10.30 am. We had a few refreshments there and decided to visit Panorama  Point, the highest point on Matheran. We walked through thick vegetation and finally landed at Panorama  Point. Most of us were dead tired as we had walked for almost seven hours at a stretch to reach here.

Atop Panorama  Point we could see Peb Fort in the distance and the Ganpati too. It was just awesome. After that we boarded a jeep which took us down to Neral station within 30 minutes. I was back home at 2:30 pm. This was certainly my shortest trek ever.


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