Matheran

I went on a mini road trip – on a motorcycle. We were wwo bikes, four people and a road to a town where we could take our bikes, Matheran. I’m happy to say that I’ve completed a road trip on a bike. It wasn’t very far, only about 2 hours away, but I got to drive for some of it too, which was super cool. I drove a little over 100km/hr too. Off to a late start on Saturday, Vineet, Saffy and Upasni met on the highway with two Bullets and took off. Riding on roads that you’ve been on in an enclosed vehicle is completely different. On a bike you are with the road, you’re in it. It’s awesome. We took a few stops here and there to stretch out (your butt gets sore, but that’s a part of it and it makes you feel accomplished when you realize that you’ve been sitting in nature for a long time) and to have snack breaks. About 40km before we got there we took a long juice break, watermelon, jaljira, kokam, and nimbu. Finally we reached where the “toy train” took people up the mountain. It doesn’t run very frequently, and fortunately or unfortunately (as we’ll never be sure), the train was full so we had to drive up the mountain. It was the steepest climb any of us had ever been on. At one point our bike’s front tire came up a little bit. The views were amazing.

            What’s unique about Matheran is that they don’t allow any vehicles at all. We parked outside, and walked up more, in the red dirt until we reached the town. Parking was a mess. It was a holiday weekend (Republic Day) but I can’t imagine anything like that happening at home. It was utter confusion and backed up cars that had no where to move. Saffy and I waited while Vineet and Upasni parked; we watched the confusion for a while and then just couldn’t do it anymore. After paying a Rs20 entrance fee for the village, we entered to find rickshaws (human ones) and horses for those who weren’t able or didn’t want to take the walk up to the top. We walked slow, took breaks, and enjoyed the lack of pollution sound and environmental. It was hot and dusty but really beautiful. The gorawalas (horse guys) shouted “Side!” every few minutes, and we often missed being run over by the horses with their riders.

In the main market area, there were shops and hotels were on both sides of the streets with different chapals (sandals) (hand made in that area) icies, fruit and food. We took a stop at a place that someone recommended to Saffy and sat there waiting and waiting for anyone to serve us, givinImageg us time to be ridiculous. We didn’t have a place to stay for the night but looking at the sunset from the top of the ghat (hill) was also very important, so we took a walking trip to Echo Point where we shouted, looked at the sun, and admired the view. I tried to avoid people’s eyes. The stares happened. I don’t know what to say about that anymore. I’ve gotten used to it – it’s been over 2 years – but often when I go to a new location, it becomes a little uncomfortable at first.

            We played carrom. Upasni and I won. On a side note, I’m the worst carom player ever, but somehow I managed two amazing shots! Dinner was a buffet in the pool area accompanied by a magic show. It was good; silly, but good.

            The next day, bright and early we woke up to head home, but not before visiting another few points along the way. The market was as busy as the previous day and we continued to watch out for horses and rickshaws from both ends. We stopped again for fruit and icies and to sit along side the track. The way there we took the “path” but on the way back we walked along side the toy train track. The train takes 2 hours to go up what took us about an hour. It’s slow. Plus we got to stop, check out different views, and do maasti.

            Finally, reaching the bottom of the hill, we got our bikes and began the descent to the bottom of the ghat. We fell. Gravel is the worst enemy of a bike. Good thing we were going maybe 15km/hr. Neither of us was hurt, unless you count a nick on my pinky. We were lucky. Vineet said it’s not a trip without a fall (no pun intended).  ImageWe recovered quickly and continued down the long hill. We stopped at the same place to get some juice and continued until we got all the way to Lonavla. Switching drivers (I got to drive) after some chai, we decided not to stop again. I got to drive fast and later on in traffic driving faster than I normally would.

            The weekend ended with seeing Maite who is visiting for a week again. It’s nice to have someone staying at home for a while again too, not to mention someone who is a good friend. We caught up for a bit and then went to my salsa class and then out dancing after that. It was definitely a huge weekend. 

    • Kusum
    • August 6th, 2013

    Hi thr, Very nice blog indeed. Me and my hubby are planning to visit Matheran on our Kinetic Honda. Was wondering if the ghat roads were safe to ride as I will be riding in parts. Did you guys switch off the engine downhill on your way back? Need some tips .Thanks, Kusum.

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