Matheran was discovered by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane district in the month of May, in the year 1850.
Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay Presidency at that time, laid the foundations of the development as a future hill station of West India after Mahabaleshwar.
The British East India Company in West India developed Matheran as a popular resort to beat the summer heat in the region. Matheran is located in an elevated region of Maharashtra. It enjoys a cooler and less humid climate which makes it popular during the summer months. The temperatures range from 32 degree Celsius to 16 degree celsius. Matheran has a huge number of medicinal plants and herbs. The town also has a large monkey population, including Bonnet Macaques and Hanuman Langurs. The nearby Lake Charlotte is the main source of drinking water for the people of Matheran.
The Matheran Hill Railway was built in the year 1907 by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy and covers a distance of 20 km, over large swathes of forest territory. The Matheran hill railway, also known as Matheran Light Railway (MLR), was inspected by UNESCO world heritage site officials to enlist as a World Heritage Site. India's other Hill Railways like the Darjeeling Railway, the Kangra Valley Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway are already on the list.
Matheran has been declared an eco-sensitive region by the Union Environment Ministry and can be called a Health Sanatorium in itself. The only form of automobile allowed in Matheran is an ambulance operated by the Municipality. No private automobiles are allowed in this place for the case of noise and air pollution. Within Matheran transport facilities available are horses and hand-pulled rickshaws.
The languages spoken in Matheran from the time of Marathas and the British rule include Marathi, Hindi, and English. There are a lot of Parsi bungalows, who bought during the colonial rule of India. The beautiful old British-style architecture is preserved in Matheran. The roads are not metalled and are made of red laterite earth. There are many hilly viewpoints in Matheran discovered by the many British high ranked officials which give a panoramic view of the plains of Matheran below.