“Is it really far from the station? Tell me, is it really far?” That is all I could ask my friend as we travelled by a local to reach our weekend getaway – Matheran. The local train stopped at Nerul, from where we took a rickety little cab with an elderly couple. Across the next 20-odd kilometres, we wished we had better sunscreen, more chips and a little bit of air in the cramped car.
Nestled deep in the jungles of Matheran, wrapped with ferns and nostalgia, the Verandah was an old colonial bungalow. Built by Capt Barr in the 19th century, it was only the second house to be built on the Western Ghats. Now owned by the Neemrana Group, the bungalow has been restored to house various rooms. But the gem of the eye remains the long extending verandah – calling it a balcony can never do it justice. This is where we ended up spending most of our time, ignoring the monkeys, having our meals in the afternoon, sipping chai while playing a terrible game of scrabbles. The verandah overlooked the valley, which explained why the guests all came out to watch the sunset from the comfort of the vintage lounge chairs… (Read more at THE VERANDAH IN THE FOREST – AND THE MEMORIES WHICH WONT LEAVE ME )