Every year, during the months of August-October, Kaas pathar in the state of Maharashtra comes alive with a riot of colours.
“It is literally a bed of flowers”
Just an hour’s drive from the town of Satara, lies this magical table land. It’s not just the quantity of flowers that will take you aback, but also the varied species that can be found here: several of them endemic in nature.
Catching some Breeze !
Pune is the gateway to Kaas unless you are stationed somewhere in the vicinity. I rode from Pune on a motorbike with my backpack and my camera gear on the saddle. Pune to Satara being connected by the National Highway NH4, the ride was pretty smooth and took a couple of hours. Satara-Kaas was a wonderful ride through the countryside for an hour, through a village called Wadi. There’s an alternate shorter route through the Satara town, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless saving time is on your agenda. ! Ask around for Wadi and then to Kaas.
I stationed myself at one of the private properties 10 km. before the plateau. I accidentally ran into the owner of the property and he was glad to host me; and I was glad to have found shelter closer to Kaas! Moreover, the place was set amidst beautiful surroundings, so I had nothing to complain about !
“The Farmhouse offered fantastic vistas with backwaters in the backdrop”
I left my rucksack behind at the farmhouse and set out to explore the much famed plateau of flowers. Fresh country breeze in my hair, the gentle sun and a sweet aroma in the air got me singing some country songs. As I climbed the gently winding road, I could see the pathar, meaning the stone, at the top. The tar road cuts through the flower bed and I could witness thousands of them on either side. There were whites, there were yellows and oranges, and then there were violets. Perhaps, only the Reds were missing. There are couple of walkways which run through the plateau and vehicles are not allowed on them. In fact, I learnt from the forest guard that because of the rush on the weekends, even parking on the tar road parallel to Kaas proper is not allowed ! Walking is anyway the only way one should be exploring the hidden treasures of this delightful land. There is a very thin layer of soil on top of the rocky bed and that suffices for flower magic. Here are a few wide shots from the plateau. I am not into macro photography, so you wouldn’t get up-close and personal with the flowers in this post ! Sorry for that.
These cute flowers are well known as Mickey Mouse flowers !
“Ten thousand I saw at a glance”
Most of the visitors visit the Kaas-proper and return. But hold on ! If you take the walkway (which I was told was an ancient route to Mahabaleshwar) and walk along it for a kilometre or so, you can get a great view of the beautiful Kaas lake set amidst the evergreen forests.
“It offers interesting landscape shots with colourful flowers in the foreground and the azure lake as the backdrop”
I made friends with a couple of nature lovers during my walk and we planned to camp in the forest sometime in the coming year !
Kaas has more to offer if you are willing to sweat a little. A couple of miles farther down on the same walkway lies a pond. You might wonder: what’s so special about a Pond ! Well, a couple of things: the stark similarity of this piece of land with a desert-scape: cactuses all around; so much that it’s more like an oasis than a pond. The other one being thousands of Kumudinis to be found in the pond. Kumudini, its Marathi appellation, is kind of like hybrid of a lotus and a water lily and they are common here in the months of October and November.
“Affectionately, they are also called Water-Snowflakes!”
“An early morning start allowed me to set up for a sunrise silhouette!”
A great place for a short trip; here are some suggestions if you do plan to visit.
Although you could find public transport both ways, it’s sporadic and hence, it is recommended to have your own vehicle for a good use of your time. Depending on what your interests are, a day at the plateau may not be enough. If you are a botanist or into photography, you could easily spend wonderful 2-3 days here. If you get lucky(like I did!), you could get accommodation at one of the few private properties close to the plateau. Alternatively, you could try your luck at the villages en-route. I had inquired for the same with a couple of lads from the village called Petri and they sounded very receptive. That will surely be a nice experience !