You’ve planned weekends here, taken the toy train back and forth, fed the monkeys and clicked pictures with friends and family at all its famous points. But Matheran, which literally means ‘forest on the head’ (matha + raan), has a lot more to offer even to the experienced traveler.
That’s what this duo of city trekker and nature expert found out. And to share their experiences, Yogesh Chavan and Shailendre Patil have decided to publish a book that features the hidden facets of Mumbai’s favourite weekend destination. Their book, Matheran - A Practical Guide, set to release by Diwali this year, contains information that would be of help to not only the layman but also trekkers, nature lovers and the experienced traveller.
“We realised that existing books on Matheran were dated and the latest developments were not a part of them. Even the maps of the area were really old and needed to be updated,” says Yogesh Chavan, an avid trekker of 10 years, who also runs the adventure company Rainbow Adventures, a group that promotes nature education and education. He adds that it was only when he sat down to actually doing research on Matheran for the book that he realised that there were many places yet to be explored.
“Then I started charting trek tracks and making lists of what all could be included.” Photographer and nature expert Shailendre Patil helped by co-authoring the project and giving images to supplement the project.
The 125-page book contains all possible information a person visiting the hill station would need. This includes information on the 34 points there (with pictures and description), distance from the market to each point, a feature article on what is available in the market and the history of Matheran, with a mention of the latest developments. To cater to the average nature lover, there are also separate sections that list insects, butterflies, moths, reptiles, snakes, birds and mammals that can be seen there, along with their colour pictures for identification. Flora too is listed, with their scientific names and pictures.
To plan your journeys out and ensure that you don’t get lost in the jungle, trekking routes of 10 major points, with detailed description and landmarks, are also available. These are listed with their approach routes and difficulty levels. One can also access a blown-up geographical map of Matheran.
Info, like the timetable of the mini train, ST buses and connecting local trains, the complete list of hotels and their contact numbers, a list of useful places like the library, hospital, police station and technical data such as height above sea level, latitude-longitude, rainfall and temperature variations. Chavan says, “This information can help anyone, and help them discover a new side to the old Matheran.”