These past two weeks have been very hectic for me because of school. Let’s be honest, many study abroad programs are fairly easy in terms of schoolwork load and rigor. This CIEE program in Mumbai is no joke. As a third year undergrad I’m competing to stay float with second year MBA students. So with that being said, it should give you a little insight in how my life’s been since classes have started.
At the same time during the weekends, I’ve been able to find some time to travel. Last weekend with some of the international students we went on trip to this beautiful hill station called Matheran, located in northern tip of Mumbai. Being that we didn’t have any locals going with us, we decided to book the trip with a new friend of mine who had his very own travel agency in Mumbai called “Be The Local.” If any of you ever visit Mumbai and want see all the beautiful hidden sights of Mumbai and it’s surrounding cities, I would definitely recommend them.
We left for Matheran early Saturday morning and it was about a three-hour car ride until we reached a certain point where no vehicles were allowed; from there we took a toy train up to Matheran. Matheran has this notion of supposedly being the cleanest hill station in the world. The car ride to Matheran was an experience on its on. We went up in circles climbing a mountain with enough space on the road for one car, but used as a three-way lane. Looking over the edge the view was breathtaking. Little waterfalls flowing into a valley from all sides, the water flowing down was white as milk. The view of the city skyscrapers was visible in the distance as well. After we took the toy train up till the station and trekked towards our hotel.
Matheran has this magical aroma about it and walking through the city you see people riding on horses, little family owned stores that have been there for ages and welcoming faces everywhere. I still can’t get over the name of the hotel we stayed at. Get this; it’s called The Verandah In The Forest. I’m not sure if they were too lazy to come up with an actually name or everyone in India is just this corny. Nonetheless the hotel lived up to it’s name and really was a veranda in the forest. The Verandah in the Forest is one of the most unique heritage hotels in Matheran. The hotel was the second house to be built up on the isolated Western Ghats by Captain Barr in the 19th century. The interior designs of the rooms were an influence from Queen Victoria times.
The two days in Matheran was a well-needed break for all us from the big city. Taking a dip in the Charotte Lake, long walks through the beautiful forest, horse riding to Echo point and watching sunset and sunrise are all experiences I will always cherish. But the highlight of my trip was actually something they called Valley Crossing. Which was basically a zip-line between two valleys. The zip-line is from Honeymoon Point to Louisa Point. The points are located on a U- shaped mountain with many waterfalls. This was by far one of the craziest things I’ve done in my life.
The zip-line was nearly 2000ft long and one has to go from one side to the other hanging on a rope with a breathtaking view of the 2500ft of valley below! It was a once-in-a-life-time experience. The whole zip-line was three minutes long and I can tell you my whole life flashed before my eyes in those three minutes. I couldn’t help, but think about those Final Destination movies as I zipped across the valleys. Looking down and seeing the green valley with connecting waterfalls and watching the sunset as I zipped across the valleys is one of those moments in my life that I wish I could go back and relive again.