We left at early noon and had our brunch at the Food Park situated near the highway. We sang to melodious tunes and gossiped all the way while admiring the scenic beauty. On our way we also picked up munchies like corn cobs and salted soaked peanuts. After parking our vehicle we had to trek for almost half an hour to reach the market area. Along with a friend who knew the place, we were able to locate a calm, secluded and a huge hotel – Hotel Ashok, well more of a homestay! After completing the check-in formalities, we rushed to our rooms for a quick rest. Though the place had a mini swimming pool, the dust and the rains barred us from using it.
Finally it was time to explore the place. Matheran has a lot of points to visit which of course could not be covered in a single day. So we picked a few and embarked on our small trek. Our first stop was the sunset point or as my friend calls it – the “edge of the earth”. I do not have enough words to begin describing the place. It was calm, serene and yet so magnificent. We sat there for almost an hour, clicking pictures and gazing at the mountains. I think each one of us, at least for a few minutes, got lost in the high peaks and began self-introspection or maybe just remembered a loved one. As it started getting dark, we decided to leave for the hotel. We were so amazed by the place that none of us could sleep before 4 a.m. We talked at lengths sitting on the veranda, listening to the melodious sound of the rain. We tried waking up for sunrise, but were too tired. “No worries” one of us said, “we can watch it in our next trip to this beautiful place”.
After a scrumptious buffet breakfast at the hotel, we packed our bags and left for the Echo Point. The place was not just too crowded but to my surprise, all our attempts to hear our voice in echo were in vain. I believe this was because, the topography of the place had changed, or maybe there were just too many people. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the view along with our favorite Maggie, tea and corn. BEWARE: there are monkeys all throughout the hills who have become quite skilled in snatching away your snacks.
Next, we walked towards a path which seemed to be leading somewhere, but not many people were taking that route. I suddenly remembered the lines from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost – “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” and took the first step towards the escapade. Just behind the cafes on the echo point, there were two paths going towards the right, both leading to the edge of the mountain. The pattern of the wind and rain was inexplicable. It was like magic!! Like literally MAGIC!!! The rain was pouring upside down! The wind made it seem like the rain was coming from the earth below rather that the sky. We actually held our umbrellas upside down! As the path continued forward, the crowd increased, but we stopped there for a good half an hour to appreciate the nature’s enchantment.
On our way to the next stop, the Matheran Dam, we were sort of lost in the confusing treks. But being together as a group, it turned out to be one of the best moments of this trip. After asking co-trekkers for the right directions, we finally found our way. Due to monsoons and repair of tracks in progress, we couldn’t catch our toy train back to the base. Hence we trekked all the way back and had our luncheon at the marketplace near the Matheran Station. On our way back to Pune, we relished chikkis (an Indian sweet made from gur and nuts) near toll plaza.
With a zeal to try new food and venture new experiences, Priyanka is always up for something new. With her childhood spent in different parts of India, she acknowledged her passion to unravel new delicacies of the world.