Matheran, literally ‘Jungle Above’, is a tiny patch of peace and quiet capping a craggy Sahyadri summit within spitting distance of Mumbai’s heat and grime. Endowed with shady forests criss-crossed with foot trails and breathtaking lookouts, it still retains an elegance and colonial-era ambience, though creeping commercialism and illegal construction are marring its appeal (it could do without the Ferris wheel and wax museum, for example).
In the past, getting to Matheran was really half the fun. While speedier options were available by road, nothing beat arriving in town on the narrow-gauge toy train that chugged up to the heart of the settlement. However, derailment woes caused the suspension of the train in 2016, and it now mainly runs for just a 2km-stretch from Aman Lodge.
Motor vehicles are banned within Matheran, making it an ideal place to give your ears and lungs a rest and your feet some exercise.