Why you should experience Asia's Highest and Longest Cable car atleast once! Our experience at the Gulmarg Gondola.

We promised to post more about our Kashmir Trip in our post on Dal Lake Srinagar here.

Gondola, Gulmarg-phase 2 is at a breathtaking height of 14000 ft (Approx Half of Mt. Everest) 
The Gulmarg experience was undoubtedly the highlight of our Kashmir trip.The Gulmarg Gondola (Cable Car) was one experience that will remain in our cherished memories till eternity. 

 Srinagar > Tanmarg > Gulmarg > Cable car Phase1 > Cable Car to Phase 2

Gulmarg is a sufficient day trip from Srinagar unless you want to explore the place in detail.

The Gulmarg Gondola located in the Gulmarg town of the Kashmir Valley is located around two and half hours from Srinagar. (We learnt in Kashmir that In hilly areas it is always wise to calculate distance in time instead of kilometres!)

We started our journey from our hotel in Srinagar at around 8 in the morning. It was on the 14th of June 2016. We reached Tanmarg, the small town at the foothill of Gulmarg at around 10 am. At Tanmarg, our driver stopped at one the numerous shops which rent gumboots and jackets. Of course these drivers get their own commission at these shops. After some hard bargaining and haggling, we managed to bring down the price for five of us from Rs. 2500/- to Rs. 700/- (five pairs of gumboots and five knee-length jackets)!! Great deal we suppose!

It was at this shop where we met our guide Mr. Hilal who over the day proved to be an excellent guide. The previous day Mr. Hilal had already arranged for our tickets for Phase 1 as well as Phase 2 for a small commission although tickets were unavailable online. We are thankful to our driver for arranging our guide Mr. Hilal.

We would suggest anyone to book online tickets a few days beforehand via the official government website. The prices for one-way phase 1 and phase 2 tickets are 300/- and 500/- Rs respectively. Hence a return trip till the top and back would cost Rs.1600/- per person. A bit on the expensive side but it was worth it!

From Tanmarg, it is an extremely scenic climb up til Gulmarg. The green valleys, colourful flowers and the perfect weather gave a great feel! After around 20 minutes we reached the entrance of Gulmarg. Here, we had to disembark from our car since only those cars having a valid hotel booking at one of the hotels in Gulmarg are allowed inside.  
Those going for a day trip like us without a hotel booking can walk their way to the base. It is a comfortable 15 minute trek on a straight path. Ponies are available but again your bargaining skills come into the picture! We and everyone else were pestered by the pony owners to hire a pony but we stood our stance that we would walk! It is possible to get a pony for as little as 100-200 Rs. although they ask for around 1000-2000 Rs. It is all up to how well you can negotiate! We preferred to walk through the scenic path - hills one one side and a majestic green golf ground on the other. We were informed this entire golf course gets covered in snow during the winter and it is used as a ski training centre!

On our way to the Cable car Entrance Gate at Gulmarg. Breathtaking is an understatement 
Since our tickets were already booked, we proceeded directly through to the boarding gate which had a huge queue! Wonder what would have happened if we hadn't booked tickets earlier since there is a separate ticket counter with a long queue again!

Entrance of Gondola Cable Car. See you at seventh heaven!
After around an hour of waiting in the queue, we could finally board a gondola! The gondola doesn't stop - it keeps moving albeit very slowly and one has to manage entering the gondola in that limited time frame while the gondola passes through the platform. No tough task though!
cable car-for-phase1-Gondola,Gulmarg

The first gondola took us up, up and higher through the pines and greens to phase 1. At phase one, we enjoyed the beautiful green scenes and cherished the snow clad mountains from a distance as we waited for our turn to board for phase 2! This was again a long one hour wait. Food and drinks are available here though a bit expensive. One can enjoy a pony ride at Phase 1 and get lost in the surroundings. But we were more excited about phase 2 as we were keen to see snow, so we skipped that. At phase one we also subtly filled up our tummies with some light snacks as we knew there is nothing available at phase 2! 
Phase 1-view-Gondola,Gulmarg

Tip: The boarding for Phase 2 closes by 3 pm  so plan accordingly!
Phase 2 -cable car-Gondola, Gulmarg
At phase one as well as two, we found agents trying to break the queue. We hurled a mouthful to a couple of them lol! We encouraged others to maintain queue throughout. It was half past one in the afternoon by the time we boarded the gondola for phase 2! 
Ourtravelcravings.com Exclusive! The info-board at the boarding of Phase 2!

And wasn't it an experience!

For a moment we thought we disappeared into the clouds. It is not joke to reach 14000 ft above sea level! Well, in other words that is 4200 mts. - half the Mt. Everest. We finally crossed the fog/clouds and after a 15 minute ride found ourselves reaching phase 2 station!
On top of the world!! Clicked from within cable car for Phase 2 Gondola,Gulmarg

Phase 2 was breath-taking! It felt like we had conquered the highest peak in the world. Everywhere, we could see only peaks and patches of snow cladding the Himalayas. We had to do a small climb through the rocks and muddy-dirty snow to reach our destination - the snow clad peak. It was covered in pure white snow! Nothing except snow was visible at all sides. We were blessed with some great a weather too. It was a perfectly sunny day.
Clicked from cable car for phase 2 Gondola,Gulmarg

Tip: A high SPF sun-screen is a must here!

We spend a good one and half hours at phase 2. We experienced manual sledging for the first time (human-pulled sledges). Again bargaining is a must! The  more adventurous can reach the top and try skiing! The view was all snow and all sun - it just couldn't get any better! We played with the snow to our heart's content. It was slippery but it was fun. 

Tip: There is nothing to eat or drink at Phase 2 so one has to plan accordingly. Also, there is no place to cover yourself in case there is rough weather. It is all open sky at a mountain peak.


Skiing at Phase 2 Gulmarg

Human Sledge at Gulmarg Phase 2 

A panoramic glimpse of phase 2 Gulmarg. 14000 ft above sea level!

We were informed by our guide that the weather here changes more frequently than fashion in Mumbai! There could be rains/snow/storm anytime. We were lucky to not witness such adverse scenario! Also we noticed that after 3 pm it was starting to get chillier.

We finally boarded the return gondola around 3.30 p.m. and reached base by 4 pm. At the base, you can hire a pony for some local sightseeing - there is a small church here too. We skipped that and walked our way to the car park. We'd gotten really tired by now but we'd collected memories of a lifetime! We were glad we did it. It was worth every penny! We are thankful to Mr. Hilal our guide for his timely advices. He even hesitated to take a small tip from our side at the end of the journey and we had to force him too!

One definitely must experience the Gulmarg Gondola once in lifetime! 

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Happy Travelling!

P.S: All photos exclusively clicked on our Nikon D5300.

Udaipur - The Fascinating blend of art, tradition and Rajputana culture

We visited Udaipur in September 2015. For just one night and two days. We felt our trip was too short and would suggest to at least stay for two nights in Udaipur to get the true feel of what this royal city has to offer.

Tip: Ola/Uber cabs are available here so you can rightly book them for a short trip and negotiate for a full day sightseeing.

We spent the evening on the first night on the banks of Lake Fateh Sagar. There are a lot of road-side eateries and that's where we had our dinner too. Lots of food options are available. If one has been to a lot of lakes before, this place is surely not extraordinary. If one has a tight schedule, this place can be skipped for good!

City Palace Udaipur
The next day we left early after some morning photography at our resort - Ramada Udaipur. We hired an Ola and asked him to drop at the Lake Pichola main entrance. We enjoyed some delicious poha and tea at a roadside stall which is just opposite to the entrance gate. (We regret not remembering the gate number) It definitely was worth every penny.

We entered the lakeside and we knew the first thing we had to do was boating! Definitely it was one of the most pleasant boat rides for a long time. The pleasant atmosphere was just one thing  and the splendid surroundings, lake palaces, backdrop of mountains were another !

We were left spellbound seeing how many semi-submerged palaces (read: lake palace) were constructed on this lake over time! What was even more astonishing to see was how they remained safe and sturdy even after centuries! A couple of lake palaces have been converted into hotels like the "Taj Lake Palace Udaipur" and they are a visual treat. Don't forget to capture a glimpse of the "Jag Mandir" while on boat.

The 45 minute ride on a deluxe boat cost us ₹ 500 for two. But the experience was for a life time!

Lake Pichola Udaipur
For those having time up their sleeves, can surely take the rope-way to visit the temple located on the hills near the lake. Since we didn't, we hired a cab to reach what is perhaps the most famous tourist place in Udaipur - the City Palace!

It was a 20 minute cab ride. The City Palace is a mammoth structure! We could have spent an entire day at the museum housed inside the city palace. We would suggest to spare at least 3 hours for this place to get a true feel of history and culture. The museum has a great antique collection right from the 13th century to present day . (Yes, the present Maharaja does exist and reside on one portion of the city palace which is closed for visitors!) We found their photos in the musuem. We even searched and found him on Facebook. Hahah! 

The city palace has lots of specifically dedicated rooms for art like Bhim Vilas (miniature paintings of Radha-Krishna) , Chhoti Chitrashali(for paintings of peacocks), Sheesh Mahal (mirror art) amongst others. The art work is sublime! 

Tip: Cameras are not allowed and are to submitted at the locker at the entrance.

There is a lot more to Udaipur than this like the Jagdish temple, Sajjan Garh, Kesariyaji Temple, Saheliyo ki Bari (garden) but well let's leave that for some future trip - we thought! To be honest, we were short of time!

Cheers and Happy Travelling!

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There is more to Jaipur than just Forts and Palaces - The Royal "Rajputana" Cultural Heritage

We visited Jaipur in September 2015. Although it was a hurried 4 day tour of Jaipur and Udaipur, it left a long lasting impression on us.

The city of Jaipur which is a globally popular tourist place is more than just its forts and palaces. There is definitely a royal touch,  a mystic sense of royal aura that oozes out of its Rajputana "Royal" culture, tradition and people as well. Although the city has evolved as a modern capital of the state of Rajasthan, what amazed us is the manner in which the history of the "pink city" with its grandeur has been kept intact.

We boarded the overnight bus from Ahmedabad which takes around 14 hours from Ahmedabad. Buses can be conveniently booked online. The frequency and options of transportation between Gujarat and Rajasthan is definitely never an issue.

The Stay

We stayed for 2 nights at the Royal Orchid Central hotel which is on MI Road. Be careful when booking Royal Orchid as they have two hotels there - one  near the airport and the other one which we stayed in at MI Road. It is a 4 star hotel with modern ambience and suited our taste and requirements. Some travellers may prefer staying at a heritage hotel having a traditional "Rajputana" touch to get a larger than life feel of the pink city's culture but that we would say is a personal choice. Jaipur has so much to offer anyway that even if you stay at a modern hotel, you would not really feel left out! We would suggest to stay on or near M.I Road as it is near to quite a few of the famous sightseeing places like Jantar Mantar as well the traditional markets are nearby. That way we saved a bit on transportation!

Our top 6 memories of Jaipur, The "Pink" City !

1. The street shopping at Johari Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar

Johri bazar Jaipur

Spending the evenings shopping or simply window shopping at these amazing pink themed markets would definitely not let you down! Here, we got a feel of the true meaning behind the city being called a "pink" city. The variety of items you get to see is simply unbeatable. With some haggling and bargaining we got some really good deals. THIS is the place to collect your memoirs of Jaipur! The long series of pink themed shops and the traditional items on offer takes you back in time and the experience is unbeatable!

2. The cheating Autorickshaw wallah!
Pink city-pink shops-jaipur

Well, this shouldn't be on top but unfortunately it is. We boarded an auto from our hotel and he promised us to drop at the "best market in town" for just Rs. 20. (Wow, we thought!). To our utter disappointment he dropped us near a building at a secluded area. The basement of the building had  a single big shop and he obviously got compensated for dropping customers there. He explained to us that the main market is "closed today because of some procession". We'd never been fooled like this ever before. We felt cheated right before we could have glimpse of anything in Jaipur. Somehow we left the place amongst their constant persuasions and pressure to buy something. We suggest you to clarify with the autowallahs beforehand about exactly where you want to go to avoid being trapped.

3.  The Full Day tour to the famous places - Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Jantar Mantar, Jal Mahal, Birla Mandir.

Jantarmantar Jaipur

Read full details of our day trip at these most popular places of Jaipur here.

4. The Golden Hearted Samaritan who returned us our lost mobile phone.

Broken Mobile

Click here to read the story of our lost phone just outside Jantar Mantar

5. Absolute stunning cuisine and ambience at Handi restaurant

Handi Restaurant Jaipur

We were told it's a famous restaurant and we didn't have enough time to visit Chokhi Dhani which is the benchmark for traditional cultural experience of Jaipur, we zeroed in to Handi. The food was delicious and the ambience was gratifying!

6. The huge influx of foreigners

We're not sure where they are from, but they are there in large numbers! And there is this innate gene inside every Indian which fills us with pride when a foreigner appreciate the beauty of the land. Their abundance is a sign of their love and respect for our country and we truly appreciate that in the right spirit!

Indeed we understood in its true sense why Jaipur always has a special place in Indian tourism. It definitely deserves a part of being in the "Golden Triangle". 


Stirctly avoid summer. All the important places of sightseeing are outdoors and there is no way one can bear the heat and enjoy at the same time. Winters are ideal.


Finding a cab for a day tour in budget is sometimes not easy. Hotels charge exorbitantly! There's a save though. We booked Ola Cab for a short ride from our hotel on M.I. Road to Jantar Mantar and during this short trip we negotiated with the driver for a full day tour. (The previous day we had already inquired the market rates). He agreed and logged out of Ola to stay with us for the whole day. It was a win-win. We have noticed that drivers of Ola/Uber and other standard operators are usually polite enough and refrain from ripping us off and we suppose one of the reasons is that we can give driver ratings and reviews!

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We followed Jaipur with Udaipur, the experience of which we will be sharing soon!

Cheers! And Happy Travelling.

How would you plan a day trip to top tourist places in Jaipur? Here's how we did!

Our September trip to Jaipur left an everlasting impression. There is definitely a royal touch,  a mystic sense of royal aura that oozes out of its Rajputana "Royal" culture, tradition and people as well. Although the city has evolved as a modern capital of the state of Rajasthan, what amazed us is the manner in which the history of the "pink city" with its grandeur has been kept intact.

Amer Fort Jaipur

First things first, if you are looking to visit Jaipur then it has to be ideally in winter and at least not in summer! All the places mentioned below are outdoor visits so there is no way one can bear the brunt of the heat and enjoy these places at the same time! Jaipur gets really hot in summer.
Hava Mahal Jaipur

Secondly, hire a cab! That's the best way to have flexibility as well as convenience. Mind you, at some places like Nahargarh Fort you would not find cabs or any other means of transportation available. Hence it is wise to pre-book a full day cab in advance.


Here is a pro-tip that we made use of for finding a full day pocket friendly cab:

NaharGarh Jaipur-inside

Finding a cab for a day tour in budget is sometimes not easy. Hotels charge exhorbitantly! There's luckily a save though. We booked an Ola Cab for a short ride from our hotel on M.I. Road to Jantar Mantar and during this short trip we negotiated with the driver for a full day tour. (The previous day we had already inquired about the market rates for a full day cab). He agreed and logged out of his Ola app to tour with us for the whole day. It was definitely a win-win. We have noticed that drivers of Ola/Uber and other standard operators are usually polite enough and refrain from ripping us off and we suppose one of the reasons is that we can give driver ratings and reviews on their respective apps! 

(Off topic: While negotiating with the Ola cabbie, one of our mobile phones fell on the streets outside Jantar Mantar while we were getting down from the cab. Here's the story about how we found it back!)

Our Itenerary was like Jantar Mantar > Amber/Amer Fort and Sheesh Mahal > Nahargarh Fort > Jal Mahal > Hawa Mahal > Birla Temple 

Jantar Mantar Enterance-ticket Counter-Jaipur

Make sure to buy the composite ticket - a single ticket which gives you access to all these places. We'd mentioned and also shared a picture of the composite ticket in this previous post.

If you are judicious with time, you can squeeze in Jaigarh Fort as well which is en route Naharagarh Fort (Although it is not included in the composite ticket!)

 Jantar Mantar hosts the largest sundial in the world. We were absolutely amazed how our ancestors managed to develop such an accurate and advanced astronomical system. Without a guide we would have not understood anything so a guide is must here. The rates of guide are fixed by government at around Rs. 200 for a human guide. Audio guides (earphones) are also available at a fixed price and they are perfect for solo travellers. We noticed that the guides could speak quite a few languages apart from English and Hindi. The audio guides are available in a few foreign languages as well like Spanish.
Amer Fort-Jaipur

Amer Fort is perhaps the most talked about place in Jaipur. It is big, really big! And there are lots of things to see inside ranging from, lets say the Sheesh Mahal to the palace of concubines! The Sheesh Mahal was a stunning visual treat. A guide can help here but  is not absolutely necessary since there are important notes put all over for reference. There is a facility of hiring elephants to reach the Amer Fort from the base. We didn't hire the elephants because we were not sure how they're treated or fed. Also the terrain is not even. Elephant rides at Amer Fort have been a controversial issue since long from the perspective of animal activists.

Sheesh Mahal At backside-Jaipur

Amongst all, the Nahargarh Fort we'd say was the stand-out place of interest. Although it is the farthest , Just don't miss it! From Nahargarh Fort you'd be able to have a bird's eye view of the entire city of Jaipur and indeed it looks incredible! In fact you can also distinctly identify the pink parts of the city. It gives a sniper like feel and it is the whole city in one frame. Absolutely phenomenal and breath-taking scene!

Breath taking View-Nahargarh Fort-Jaipur
We observed Jal Mahal from a distance in the evening and it looked truly unique with the perfect reflection on the clear waters. It almost seemed like history has been captured in a frame till eternity. Although we heard that the structure of Jal Mahal is in a sorry state, we found it perfect to be revered from a distance - the banks of the Man Sagar lake.The Hawa Mahal was cherished on our return from across the market street. We have already seen so much of it in pictures that it didn't really amaze us as much as it should have. But still a great place to grab a few camera moments! The structure which resembles the crown of Lord Krishna is indeed unique. We walked across the markets from here on and it was satisfying evening walk. The markets of Jaipur are definitely the most imminent part of the Rajputana culture. We saw a brief glimpse of the Birla Temple only from the outside so can't comment much on it. 
Jal Mahal - Jaipur

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Hotel Review: The Westend Matheran

We recently posted about our entire experience at Matheran which you can read here

But it would be incomplete without our review of our accommodation: Hotel Westend Matheran (Category: 3 star):  

We stayed at Westend Matheran during our short trip  of 2 days in July 2015.

On the day we visited, it was pouring on and off. Once we reached the hotel and glanced through the cottages, initially we were like “How are we gonna live here!”. We doubted the facilities, cleanliness and comfort of a cottage located in the midst of nature’s lap with incessant rains. But to our pleasant surprise, things were taken care of quite professionally (except a few things) inside the rooms.

The Location:
Westend is located towards the end of the market which meant that we had to trek through the entire market before we reached the hotel. Though a bit faraway from the market, it is conveniently located to visit some of the “points” . We would rate it 3/5 for location

The Service:
The service was good given the circumstances (mild to heavy rains) Food could be ordered in-room and the staff arranged for the dining table and chairs in the room or in the lobby depending on where we’d want to have our food. Staff responded well to our minor queries/demands/complaints through the intercom.

The Food:
Since Matheran is a vehicle free town, it also means that we have to walk a lot and at the end of the day we got quite exhausted. We couldn’t imagine ourselves going back to the market just for our dinner! Most of the meals were at the hotel – be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Food served was quite good and prices were acceptable – neither too cheap nor too costly.

The Surroundings and Ambience:
There is a large clean and well maintained pool but we didn’t use it in the damp, rainy and cold weather. The areas inside the resort are  nicely decorated with a variety of flowers. A badminton court is available too. Overall the ambience was quite relaxing and pleasant - A nature lover’s paradise indeed.

The rooms:
Rooms were neat and clean. Hot water was always available. Bathrooms were neatly maintained. We indeed felt safe and cozy inside our rooms.

Overall we would rate our stay 4/5. Some lapses in service but very much acceptable. Would recommend!

Read our review Hotel Bombay Palace Pahalgam here!

The Complete Matheran Guide - Part 3

This post is in continuation to our last two posts where we share our experience of Matheran!

Here are the previous posts:

A Complete Guide to Matheran Part 1
A Complete Guide to Matheran Part 2

Now that we have reached Matheran which are the places we'd visit? What did we visit? Here's the map of sightseeing of Matheran:

matheran map guide
Matheran Map of Points of Interest!
The map may look too cluttered and one might wonder that 2-3 days are not enough to have an entire feel of Matheran. But well, that's not really the case. A Matheran trip should at the max be of 2 nights according to us, since you would not really need more time that that to explore the place fully.

Eco point-Matheran

Most of the points look the same, once you get a feel of how it looks like from the top because after all it is hills and hills everywhere. The best way to explore would be on foot. But there's just too much of walking so at the end of the day-1 itself you would be exhausted walking. We were! But the trek of the first evening was spectacular to say the least. Here are some pictures from the trek. The scenery was mesmerising. The roads were mostly deserted because of the rains. The solitary trek of around 2 hours was one of the most memorable. So the next day we had two choices, Whether to hire pony/horse or to hire a hand pulled single-person cart.

Carts cost more than horse/pony.
Trained Horse-No need of Horse owner-Matheran

We obviously chose 3 horses for the three of us. A single guide controlled all the three horses! That is to say that he steered two horses with hands while one was left at will. Initially it looked insane but the horses are well trained and one really does not need to bother about. Our horse ride was quite comfortable unlike a few of our horse rides at other places (like Vaishno devi temple and Mount Abu).

Quite a few of the points remain closed during the rainy season because of the risks involved. So if you are venturing in monsoon  do get  informed about which points are manoeuvrable. Otherwise the horse owners may rip you off.  Also, they do sort of make fake promises about taking you too "n number of points" while negotiating but at the end you realise that they just create too many "points" out of their whims and fancies to get the money! Bargaining is a must but do keep in mind about their hardships and labour when negotiating. A good tip at the end is always welcome.

You may start at the Charlotte lake which looked brilliant to us. From there walk a bit further to the echo point and lousia point. A small temple is located en route.
At backside charlotte lake and one small temple

There are 28 points on paper. You may visit the once as per your deal with the horse owner but do include a lunch break in-between at MG Road and perhaps a point from which you can view the toy train!

For the Adventurers

Adventure seekers may try Valley crossing at Honeymoon point which involves crossing a portion of the mountain hanging on a rope! It definitely needs some guts to try and also it is one way. So you may ask the horse owner to pick you up at the other point. This and a few other points are closed during rains. We would have not tried it anyway haha as we believe in a safe and relaxed travel over anything else!


Never ever keep your belongings loose during sightseeing. There are a lot of monkeys/langurs and they snatch anything and everything if kept lose. We escaped a serious mishap when we kept our backpack on a bench at Charlotte lake point. While we were busy captugin pictures, a monkey opened our bag and took away another small bag inside it which contained some very important personal things. Khushbu noticed it just at the nick of time and removed her sandals and threw it on the monkey in a split second.(An ultimate presence of mind from her!) Thankfully the monkey left the bag before disappearing into the bushes of the mountains.

They Posing for us! Matheran

Also, during our evening trek amidst the rains on the first evening, a street dog walked with us through the entire trek! That looked very cute but only until we reached near the market and found it fighting ferociously with another dog over some let over food on the streets. We immediately decided not to entertain any dogs at Matheran from that moment!

Horse Rides are usually safe but recently there was a news of a kid falling off and dying (very unfortunate). So it pays off to act responsibly and inform the owner beforehand to be careful and attentive.

Tip: It is better to fix a deal to only 3-4 points and spend more time at each place then to rush through all the spots.

Happy Travelling!

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The Complete Matheran Guide - Part 2

The Adventurous toy train ride in Matheran

toy train at enterance of matheran

This is the second part of our Matheran Guide based on our experience and here we are gonna talk about the wonderful toy train! as well as other options to reach Matheran from Dasturi car park. If you missed the first part here's the link.

Apart from the joy ride and spectacular sightings including streams and greenery one more advantage of taking the toy train is that it helps you omit the stiff climb by road as discussed in the last post.

There is a catch though! The toy train from Neral to Dasturi takes around 2 hours while the road takes only 20 minutes. During the summer months it can look painfully long. One more thing to keep in mind is that during the monsoon months of July to September the toy train is usually closed at all times. So this option is out of the list.

However there is a save! From the Dasturi Car park, you CAN board the train to Matheran town and this route is usually open even during monsoon. This is perhaps the best of both worlds. So you can climb by the road and reach Dasturi. From Dasturi take the short toy train trip of 20 minutes to Matheran town. The views are spectacular and the train is slow, enoyable and comfortable.

Toy Train-Matheran

If you want to take the toy train from Neral itself, you can easily find the time-table online. However, you cannot pre-book it online. You have to buy it at the Neral railway station itself on the day of travel itself or you can buy it 3 days in advance (which is not so possible for travellers!).

Dasturi Car Park to Matheran Town

that's out porter! treking towards our hotel-Matheran

The distance from Dasturi Car park to Matheran town is around 4-5 kms. We trekked the whole path alongside the railway track, This trek was one of the most exciting part of our trip. The rains playing peek-a-boo, the lush green scenery and red soil! What more can you ask for? We hired a porter for our luggage, put on our raincoats that we had bought (Always pre-check the weather conditions before travel - click here to know more about our travel essentials) and took out my Nikon D5300  for some initial clicks!

The trek took around an hour with breaks in the middle. The route is straight and not sloppy. The soil was muddy because of the incessant rains but the surroundings and the weather made it exciting. En route you can check around the hotels if you haven't booked already. We had pre-booked at The Westend Hotel which is located at the farther end which meant we had to cross the entire market and further trek to reach the hotel. (Here's the review for The Westend, Matheran)

Hand pulled cart-matheran market

If you do not want to trek, you can very well hire a pony or you can also hire a hand pulled single-person cart. (The carts are similar to the ones you see at your nearby mall!, oh, not really lol)
see rain drops in picture-horses stand-market matheran

While returning from Matheran, we boarded the toy train uptil Dasturi car park. That short  ride of around 20 minutes was exhilarating! The train runs at a snail's pace but that gave us an opportunity to click some good pictures, being the "piccrazy" people we are!

Well, this was not the only toy train ride we took, a similar but longer(5-6 hours!!) to train operates from Kalka to Shimla (yes, the queen of hills and the ex summer capital of India). Read more of our toy train experience in Shimla here.