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Matheran is an undulating hilltop cloaked in shady trees, that sprawls languidly at an altitude of 800 m. The journey involves an adventurous two-hour ascent in a toy train, with food and drink vendors and monkeys jumping on and off as the valley glides by sedately. Alternately, a tough 11 km hike through thick and shady forests or a winding car drive can get you there as well.

Matheran's cliffs, with incredibely steep drops to the plains below, create stunning viewing points. These panoramic vistas, by day or by night, leave you feeling light headed. On a clear night, you can even see the lights of Mumbai from Hart Point. In fact, all of Matheran is a series of such quixotically named points that are popular if isolated sites for picnics and fireside revelry at night. Charlotte Lake, the Panthers' Caves and Paymaster Park are other attractions, especially for children.

Getting there is half the fun. A toy-like train meanders up the mountain, treating you to a breathtaking view. In Matheran itself there's plenty to see - Lake Charlotte, Honeymoon Hill, Panther's Cave, lots more. You can also go horse-riding and shop for exciting cane and leather articles.

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