Sunday, 15 September 2013

Maharashtra’s valley of flowers: Kaas plateau

              Visit to Kaas plateau was pending in my travel to do list from last few years.  Due to some reasons and priority, it was postponed and finally I was able to visit this majestic beautiful place. It is a heaven for flora/nature lovers and great place to click amazing photos with the huge variety of flowers. This place is also known as Maharashtra’s valley of flowers.

Kaas Plateau
Kaas plateau

About Kaas Plateau:
             The Kaas Plateau also known as the "Kaas Pathar" in Local language (Pathar means Plateau). It is situated in Sahyadri Ghat ranges close to Satara city of Maharashtra. The name Kaas originates from Kaasa tree (Elaeocarpus glandulosus). The leaves of the tree turn red from green as it matures during the month of March. The area of plateau is approximately 1,000 hectare (10 square kilometers).
               The plateau is full of wild flowers during the months of August and September. These flowers bloom on their own and stay for about 2–3 weeks depending on the monsoon and other weather factors.  In July 2012, it has been declared as Biodiversity World heritage site by The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
               Best time to visit Kaas is from August to September. We got information from local experts that some unique flowers (shape and color wise) bloom only in the month of June and July (As per first rain fall) but people love to watch flowers in quantity so everyone prefers August/September month. Flowers which were blooms in June-July can’t be seen in September and wise versa. This place has more than 850 different species of flowers and plants which blooms throughout the year.

            To reach Kaas plateau from Pune is Catch National highway 4 (Mumbai-Bangalore highway) towards Kolhapur/Bangalore direction – Drive for around 104 – 106 km on NH4 – you will able to see Satara city at your right side – Take a right turn to enter in Satara (Sign board are there to guide) – Cross Satara through pawai Naka –After few km drive, you will see Y share junction and tunnel on left side – Do not enter in the tunnel as that road goes towards Sajjangad fort and Thoseghar waterfall – Take right turn before tunnel – Drive 19 - 20 km to reach on Kaas plateau – U need to drive 700-800 meters downhill to park your vehicles.

Travelers for this trip were me, my wife Renuka, my parents and sister Pratima.

Day 0: 14th September 2013 - Pune to Satara (Total Distance traveled: 106 km):
                We wanted to visit Kaas plateau in early morning so we decided to travel to Satara on Saturday. Stay was not a problem for us as my mother was born in Satara. She had spent nearly25 years in Satara before her marriage. We left Pune by 7 PM and reached Satara at around 9.15 PM. We stayed at mother’s best friend’s place.

Day 1: 15th September 2013 – Satara – Kaas - Pune (Total Distance traveled: 224 km):
               We woke up early morning and left the place by 6.15 AM. My mother came in Satara after 12-14 years so she was more excited to see Kaas and her loving city. Soon we joined Kaas Road. Small ghat section offers you a beautiful view of Satara city. After crossing small plateau and beautiful forest, we reached at Kaas. There are few restaurants before Kaas plateau where you can take pit stop for breakfast.

Satara view
Satara view

             We had done online entry booking for Kaas plateau. Forest guard guided us for car parking. You need to walk little bit from parking place to Kaas. We reached there by 7 AM and hardly there were any tourist. Flowers were bloom in huge numbers looked like nature having its own colored carpet. From Main road (tar road), there are walkway paths constructed by forest department with the fencing. You can choose any route and then free to explore the beauty of nature. We choose 2nd pathway on right hand side from Entry gate.

Kaas

Fencing at Kaas
Fencing at Kaas

                 I was busy with my camera and my parents were enjoying the beauty of Kaas. We saw 10 to 15 different species of flower. Mainly we saw flower carpet in Purple, Blue, pink and white colors. At every point we can see different colors and shape of flowers. Few flowers are so small in shape that you might have to use magnifying glass. There are few areas where people are allowed to go inside green field but on mentioned narrow walkway paths. Hardly people were fallowing that rule. I saw small rocky patch with small pond. I went there carefully and capture some nature frames.

Kaas Plateau
Kaas with small pond

Kaas Plateau: Valley of flowers
Kaas Plateau

Kaas and sahyandri
Kaas and sahyandri 

We spend around 4 hours exploring the area. The following is a list of some of the flowers that we found on this plateau.

  1. Exacum Pumilum (Local name: जांभळी चिरायात)
  2. Cyanotis Tuberosa  (Local name: अभाळी)
  3. Tridax Procumbens (Local name: दगडी पाला)
  4. Cassia auriculata (Local name: तारवड)
  5. Alysicarpus belgaumensis (Local name: गुलाबी शेवरा)
  6. Murdannia lanuginose (Local name: अबोलीमा)
  7. Pinda concanensis (Local name: पंद)
  8. Impatiens (Local name: पांढरा तेरडा)
  9. Smithia hirsute / hirsuta (Local name: कवला)
  10. Impatiens oppositifolia
  11. Hitchenia caulina (Local name: चावर)
  12. Pogostemon deccanensis (Local name: जांभळी मंजिरी)
  13. Hypoxis aurea (Local name: सोनतारा)
  14. Pentanema cernuum (Local name: सोनसरी)
  15. Eriocaulon tuberiferum  (Local name: गेंद)
  16. Utricularia purpurensis (Local name: सीतेची आसवे)
  17. Vigna vexillata (Local name: हळुंदा)

I am not expert in flora so maybe I have missed few names in above list.

White flower carpet
White flower carpet



Colors
Kaas

            Here are some Photos taken during my Kaas Visit. I missed a lot of photos and next year I will be back on blog with a lot of flowers photos.





Impatiens oppositifolia
Impatiens oppositifolia








Pogostemon deccanensis (जांभळी मंजिरी )
Pogostemon deccanensis (जांभळी मंजिरी )

Utricularia purpurascens (सीतेची आसवे)
Utricularia purpurascens (सीतेची आसवे)

Smithia hirsute (कवला )
Smithia hirsute (कवला )

            After our nature trail, we were hungry. We went to car parking and then drove down to Kaas Lake which is hardly 1-2 km from Kaas plateau parking. There are 3-4 local restaurants. We had heavy breakfast and then visited Kaas Lake. I was happy and satisfied with this visit. I like this place so much that I have added it in my “Visit every year for photography” travel list. We left Kaas at around 12.30 PM. During our return journey, we saw huge traffic jam and long queues. It is always better to visit Kaas on weekdays or in early morning. We went for our nest destination, Thoseghar waterfall and Sajjangad. I will upload different travel Blog for those destinations.

The general rules to be fallow on Kaas trip:

  1. Abstinence from Smoking and Consumption of Alcohol
  2. Rash driving should be avoided. 
  3. Be responsible and respect Nature
  4. Don’t pick the flowers from Kaas
  5. Take care of plants and flowers while taking photographs
  6. Please park your vehicle in allocated parking area only.
  7. Do not litter forest land and water bodies
  8. Do not through Plastic bags, bottle or wrappers etc.
  9. Inflammable material and Camp fires are prohibited
Forest is Home of plants and wildlife; be a responsible Guest!

My observation and request to other travelers:
  1. Tourists park their vehicle on Kaas Plateau which creates huge traffic problems.
  2. On Kaas, Many places are yet not covered by fencing. People visit such places and then they cut the flowers knowingly or unknowingly. Kindly avoid it.
  3. There are forest officers and volunteer team to help you out. But tourist shout on them rather than helping them.
  4. Many young groups or couple lies down in flowers carpet for photography, Please avoid that as flowers and plants are delicates and we suppose to take care of them.
  5. 1 to 2 areas from Kaas are accessible for tourist (Forest people allowed tourist to cross the fencing to view flowers closely) so please visit that area only and fallow narrow walkways or rock patches. You can take photos close to flowers but without harming them.
  6. After discussion with forest team, we got to know that around 9000 tourist visit the place on weekends. I think they should be strict with some count to maintain the beauty of Kaas.
  7. For news and update about Kaas, visit the website: http://www.kas.ind.in/

Book for Reference during Kaas visit
         Pushppathar Kaas by Dr. Sandeep shotri (Available in Marathi and English language)

Our Expenses:

  • Car Petrol: INR 1800/- (around 21 Lit. at INR 84.11/lit)
  • Toll-1 on NH4 (Khed-shivapur): INR 75/- (one way)
  • Toll-2 on NH4 (Anewadi satara): INR 50/- (one way)
  • Kaas Entry fee: INR 50/- for 5 members
  • Car parking at Kaas: INR 40/- (For Bus its INR 150/-)
  • Camera chargers at Kaas: INR 50 for Normal camera and INR 100/- for DSLR
  • Breakfast at Kaas lake: INR 207/- for 5 members (Egg omelet-Roti: INR 100/-, Misal: INR 45/- and Vada-pav: INR 20/-)
  • Pushppathar kaas book by Dr. Sandeep shotri: INR 250/- (MRP price)
  • Toll-2 on NH4 (Anewadi satara): INR 50/- (one way)
  • Toll-1 on NH4 (Khed-shivapur): INR 75/- (one way)

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.
Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

31 comments:

  1. When one looks at the variety of the flowers, one can understand the power and beauty of nature.
    Some lovely pictures here, especially the close ups.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot...Happy Traveling...!!

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  2. It is really wonderful place. I was not aware of this place. All photographs are excellent and more over information gathered about these flowers is equally important. Just next 2-3 days later your visit, I read in news paper that this place is over crowded and needs to protect from extra enthusiastic people. Anyway, thanks for beautiful photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot....Happy Traveling...!!

      Delete
  3. Lekh sundar ahe..fakt kahi personal goshti ugach tapashilat dilyat !

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  4. Hi Prits I am Dr Sachin eye surgeon from Pune Can I hav ur mailid or mob no so that I can contact u for some help regarding hotel availabilities in Kashid/ other sites? My no 8600005091/ 7588287524 Pl rply Thanx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi,
    Great Blog,
    I like the way you written the post.
    You written a very nice information on flowers it will be very useful for new traveler.
    Images are very clean and easy to optimize.
    All the post of your blog gives the information ofMaharashtra Tourism.
    Thanks for sharing such a nice blog...

    ReplyDelete
  6. When does these flowers bloom....same as monsoon ...this year I am trekking Uttarakhand valley of flowers with Renok Adventures
    http://renokadventures.com/valley-of-flowers-trek/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best time to visit Kaas is between Mid Aug to Sept end.
      Thanks for link and in future will try to visit
      Happy traveling!

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the lovely post, the photographs of Kaas Plateau are just amazing.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your comment...Happy traveling...!!!

      Delete
  8. Really helpful and attractive blog, i like most… Well Amba Resort and Holidays in Amba Hill Station, Maharashtra, India are really great and memorable, visit once and enjoy.

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  9. A nice n informative blog..the pics as well..will make it a point to visit next season..Thanks n keep it up! :-)

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  10. Thanks for sharing this blog........

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment... Please avoid ads/website link in the comment... such post will be deleted

      Regards,
      Pritesh

      Delete
  12. Kaas patthar is a beautiful place. I have never seen the place myself, only heard from friends and heard of it and also seenn on internet. But this is a wonderful article, complete with instructions. Loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for comments...

      Regards,
      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete
  13. This is an excellent and very informative post on Kaas! We do a women only trip to Kaas every year, and do hope the forest department will keep this place beautiful for generations to come. I agree with your suggestion to restrict the number of daily tourists.

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  14. I am planning to visit this year. your post helps. Thanks and keep posting

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for comment

      Regards,
      Prits Kulkarni

      Delete
  15. Kaas is lovely (prefer it just after the wet season). great place to walk around. avoid weekends as the crowd is high. for stay, there is an okay MTDC place. during the high season acco should be booked in advance to be on safe side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for comment and Tips.

      Regards,
      Prits Kulkarni

      Delete
  16. Nice Blog post, Thanks for sharing good information !

    Get quotes from multiple operators for Valley of Flowers Trek. Compare easily and book your trek from any operator on Mojhi.

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  17. It's nice place we visit yearly at sep/oct month. Such a beautiful nature creation..

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment...truly beautiful place.. hope to visit again in year 2017

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  18. Great help. Thanks for providing detailed info.. ur blog is a complete guide to the plateau and I appreciate that you have provided info of how many people visited with you.. it's very helpful. Thanks a lot for publishing such a post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment...
      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete
  19. how much time does it take to satisfactorily cover the plateau?
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Morning time is enough to explore the plateau. if u wanted to do study at kaas then might be entire day required for same.

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