Matheran hill station, Asia's automobile free place

Matheran ropeway, near
Matheran Hill Station, near

Matheran, Asia's only pedestrian hill resort. courtesy Arne Hückelheim (CC BY-SA 3.0).
Matheran is a well known  hill station in Karjat Tahsil and is also the smallest hill station in India. Located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level it is  about 90 km from Mumbai, and 120 km from Pune. The of the hill station  population is around 6000 plus.

Matheran. Hill
It was during the British rule - East India company, this beautiful , picturesque hill station was discovered in May, 1850 by one  Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane district.  The foundation for  the development as a future hill station, was laid by the foundation by  Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay Presidency. The credit goes to the  British who took the initiative and developed it as a popular  hill resort for relaxation and to escape from scorching summer heat in the plains.

There are  as many as 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, where one can enjoy the distant blue hills and greenery with  mystic clouds hanging over them. There is a small town called  Neral here.
There is a mountain railway covering a distance of 20 Km. The Matheran Hill Railway, also called Matheran Light Railway (MLR), was built in 1907 by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy and the track cuts through the forest area. UNESCO is yet to recognize it as a world heritage site.

It is, it is believed, that it is the only hill station in Asia where no private automobiles are allowed inside the hill station because, it being
an eco-sensitive region, it might affect the ecological balance. If allowed, the net result is both fauna and flora will be the causality. The modes of transport  are horses and hand-pulled rickshaws. This place is well known for its bio - diversity - medicinal plants and also for wild life.  Malabar giant squirrel, Fox, wild boar, mongoose,leopard, Barking deer are found in the forest. This hill station has large population of monkeys,  including Bonnet Macaques and Hanuman Langurs.

There are British style bungalows. The roads are not metaled and are laid with laterite rocks.  The word Matheran, means "forest on the forehead" of the mountains.