As the raindrops fall on the roof of my cottage in the darkness of the night
As the distance sounds of unknown animals reach my ear
As I watch the mysterious mist engulf the air making it heavy
An un-described feeling of thrill runs down my spine!!!!
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta
The 15th August long weekend was approaching and entire Mumbai wanted to make use of it, we as usual came to senses after all hotels had the no vacancy board hanging. I wanted to go to Bhandardhara which is believed to be one of the most beautiful getaways near Mumbai, but unfortunately there was no hotel available. So we booked a cottage in Matheran for the weekend. My Mom was with us, so it was important to plan the weekend in the best possible manner.
The drive from Mumbai to Matheran was relaxing, green mountains, mysterious fog and occasional downpour greeted us with open arms. Mumbai besides its busy, panting life is actually beautiful. While the Arabian Sea kisses the city land, the greenery and beauty of the Western Ghats embraces it from the other end.
As we approached Neral, we were a bit surprised to see drivers asking to lend their skills, for the drive till Dasturi point. However with slight reluctance we decided to continue with our journey on our own. As soon as the car started to make its way up the winding mountain roads, we realised the drive would be a tough one. Narrow stony mountain roads, unexpected twists and turns and vehicles at high speed coming from up hill made the journey no less than a nerve wrecking roller coaster ride. Avishek's commendable driving skills helped us pull through. However the surrounding landscape was jaw dropping and was worth taking the risk and pain.
From Dasturi point starts the untouched, rustic woods of Matheran and no motor driven vehicle is allowed beyond it. We took horses while Ma a man pulled rickshaw.
The journey through the words was very intriguing. Muddy and stony roads were surrounded by thick vegetation. Some people walking, some riding horses like us and a few on rickshaws like mom were making their way up hill to feel the majestic yet mysterious woods of Matheran.
It took us around 30 minutes to reach our destination, Cecil hotel is a lovely property to put up in Matheran. Not because it’s luxurious but because it actually gives you the feeling of staying in the dark woods. The cottages were huge and comfortable; there was no electric bell but a small chime to call for room service. Outside the property premises there was literally thick forest land which seemed to be owned by monkeys. The hotel served vegetarian food only, but extremely delicious.
The rain man seemed to be doing overtime that day, incessant raining and mist imparted the forest a look which suits it the most.
We stood through the afternoon witnessing nature’s extravaganza, it was indeed a sight to behold when the rain caressed the dense woods. A steaming cup of tea was like icing on the cake, it was pure bliss in the chilled forest winds. Dusk descended in full glory, as if embracing the greenery in its dark mysterious shroud. There was mist all around and the distant cries of some unknown animals reached our ears. The feeling of being close to the untouched parts of the wood sent thrill down my spine.
I firmly believe, that the essence of any place is felt when adequate time is spent to actually assimilate its uniqueness. I loved my trip to Matheran to the core and more so because I spent the night to feel its being.