My son was watching a Bollywood movie where the hero and heroine were singing in Holland amongst a field of gorgeous flowers. My son was fascinated and wanted to visit there. But planning a sudden overseas trip was impossible.
My wife, who is a native of the Konkan region of India, insisted that a gorgeous valley of flowers can be seen right here in our own country. She introduced me to Kaas Pathar.
I was surprised to know that I was not aware of this wonderful part of India until that day. I immediately went online to read more and plan for the journey. When I discussed with my cousin, he also expressed a desire to join us along with his family on the trip.
Therefore, on a Thursday night last September, seven people – three of us and four from my cousins’ family, set off to Kaas Plateau. We planned to cover the region and its nearby attractions on Friday and return the next day.
An Introduction to Kaas Plateau – Kaas Pathar
Kaas Plateau is a UNESCO World Heritage site and biodiversity hotspot.
It lies at an altitude of 1200 metres above sea level amidst the Western Ghats, some 25 kms away in west direction form the city of Satara in the State of Maharashtra. This place is also 40kms away from another popular tourist town called Mahabaleshwar.
This area is home to an amazing valley of herbaceous flowers and waterfalls. The best time to visit here is June to October.
How to approach Kaas Plateau
We travelled the 280kms distance from Mumbai in great comfort and reached the base camp the next day morning. From there we took a bus to the Plateau.
If you want to take the aerial route, Pune is the nearest airport to Satara. There is a railway station at Satara for people travelling by Railways. From Satara you can reach Kaas by road. There are road routes to reach here via Shendre and Pachawad Kudal as well.
Please note! Visitors are restricted to 3000 per day here due to fragile nature of the environment. If you plan to go on weekends or Public holidays then online booking is compulsory. Parking not allowed on Flower valley. Hence, you have to leave your car and take a government bus to the top of the plateau to view the Valley of flowers on top.
Kaas Plateau, A Valley of Flowers
The region gets its name from the Kasa tree whose leaves turn red when tree matures.
I am still at loss of words to describe what we saw once we reached the valley. There was a vibrant bed of flowers as far as the eye could see! Numerous flowering plants, not more than a metre in height, bloomed.
Locals related a story of how a meteor fell and made the soil of this land fertile. This is the reason they attribute to the blooming of numerous flowers across squares of kilometers on the plateau during the rainy season. This tale may be folklore, but this land and its soil certainly seemed blessed with abundance.
Our guide asserted this fact too. He explained the science behind this. The valley is filled with endemic plants because of the special soil and topography of nature. The Plateau has a very thin layer of soil formed from basalt. Hence, only herbaceous flowering plants such as Lichens, Orchids such as Karvy, carnivous plants such as Drosera Indica and several other wild flowering plant and grow here.
More than 850 varieties of flowering plants bloom during the months June to September. Their sight is feast to eyes and a photographer’s delight. Another point to note is that there is change in the color of the topography due to emergence of new flowering plants every 15 days. You may also get to see rare Insects, birds and snakes here.
The complete area is under Government’s jurisdiction due to its fragile nature. There are some tracks built around for visitors to walk through and view the flowers without trampling them.
My son and his second cousins, unburdened from schoolwork, enjoyed themselves thoroughly here.
Around Kaas Plateau –
After an eyeful view of the flowers, we moved to the next destination.
There are many exciting areas to explore around the Kaas Plateau. Here are some places that we visited on our trip.
Our next stop was Kumudini Lake.
At the far end of the valley is the Kumudini Lake. Beautiful lilies float over water that makes you want to click photos away for your Instagram followers.
Bhambawali Vajrai Waterfall:
The water from this perennial waterfall drops from a height of 260 metres. It is a delight to stand and stare at this waterfall that is located about 5 kms away from the flower valley. It is also 2 kms away from Bhambavli flower valley. .
Ensure you go during the day and return by 5 p.m. Wild animals like snakes and big beasts roam around this area, so take care!
Ghatai Devrai, Bamnoli Boat Club:
Ghatai Devrai means the reserved forest area of Forest Goddess. It is three kms away from the Kaas Plateau.
Bamnoli is a pretty village at the outskirts of Kaas plateau, just 12 kms away. This place is famous for boating on Shiv Shankar Lake. Our ride on the lake waters was pleasant barring the noisy motor of the boat.
You can visit Tapola from here, which is the base part of Bamnoli. Locals also provide boats to visit places like Vasota Fort, Tapola and Nageshwar temple.
Kaas Lake & Dak Bunglow:
One can also visit the Kaas Lake from Bamnoli. Kaas Lake was constructed about a century ago to provide water to the residents of Satara.
Shri Kshetra Yewateshwar:
Five kms away from Satara and at an altitude is 2000 feet is an ancient Shiva temple, Shri Kshetra Yewateshwar.. The architecture style of this temple is Heamadpanti. My wife was elated to reach this temple. She had visited it long back with her parents and today all those sweet memories were playing in her mind.
This fort is more than 1100 feet from the sea level. It is on the banks of Shivsagar Lake. One needs to take permission of Forest department to visit this fort.
This fort was built in the 12th century. It was given the name Vyaghragad by Chatrapathi Shivaji. Though many parts of the fort were destroyed by British bombardment in 1818, one can now see parts of Shree Mahadev Mandir and Sadar in this fort. A sub-river of Koyana also emerges from this fort.
This Waterfall is located about 24 kms from Satara in Jawali Taluka, very near to the Kaas Plateau. On the way to this waterfall, we saw small waterfalls, temples and the Urmodi Dam. There was some rainfall enroute but the weather cleared once we reached the waterfall.
This waterfalls cascade in two stages – the first part falls for 400 feet and the next part about 200 feet. You can actually go very near the falls; but rocks are slippery and hence caution is advised.
Tapola also goes by the name mini Kashmir of the west, attributed to its beautiful environs. It is the entry point for Jungle trek to Vasota Fort. On the lake, we enjoyed some water sports such as Kayaking, swimming, windsurfing and Canoeing.
Some dos and donts while visiting Kaas Pathar and its nearby attractions
- Carry water with you some Glucon D or ORS
- Some dry fruits and snacks
- Carry torch with batteries
- Good pair of shoes for more grip on the hills
- Keep ready umbrellas and raincoats with you as the tourist season coincides with the Monsoon in these parts. Avoid coming here when heavy rains are predicted.
- First aid should be kept handy
- Wear full-sleeved dress and full pants to avoid insect bite or prickles from thorns.
- Avoid using plastics here,
- Avoid swimming in the lake or waterfalls.
- Be cautious of the harm to the area by means of plucking flowers, littering or wearing nature-harming footwear.
Our trip ended in a high note. The whole world is in a mini form right here in our Country. Whether be it snowy mountains or rocky hills or valleys of flowers. We only need to explore our beautiful and diverse country more to learn its magnificence. I am planning to visit this place again soon with other friends and relatives to show how diverse our country is.