- Ajaz Shaikh
Kaas Plateau - Maharashtra's Very Own Switzerland
Maharashtra is blessed with many beautiful poetry-inspiring places, be it lush green mountains, verdant valleys, pristine lakes or blissful waterfalls. And the beauty of the Western Ghats enhances many folds during the Monsoons! One such marvel is the Kaas Plateau, also known as the “Plateau of a million flowers”!
You can also say it as Maharashtra’s answer to the Valley of Flowers, Kaas Plateau comes alive after the rains when the entire region is carpeted with flowers. The plateau spread over 1000 hectares is a visual treat till October when the bloom lasts.
How to reach this beautiful place?
The "Plateau of the million flowers" is around 30 km from Satara. Satara is very well connected by Road, Railway with all the major cities. There is no direct connectivity between Kaas Plateau & Mumbai, but Satara has good connectivity by Bus (MSRTC). From Satara Bus Station it will take hardly 40-50 mins to reach the Kaas Plateau.
Via Road: Satara is very well connected by road from Mumbai. The frequency of buses is quite high and usually, the bus leaves at the night from Mumbai. It will take around 6-7 hrs to reach Satara from Mumbai.
If comfort is your priority and travelling in a group go for a by car. Kaas Plateau is well-connected to Mumbai by roadways it will take around 7 hours via Mumbai - Bengaluru Highway.
Via Train: Satara is the nearest station to Kaas Plateau. There are many trains available from the major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. From Satara, you can take State Transport Bus to reach Kaas Plateau or you can go for a private taxi as well.
Maharashtra's Very Own Switzerland
The name ‘Kaas’ originates from the Kaasa tree. The leaves of the tree turn red from green as it matures. During the month of March, the tree sprouts white flowers. The plateau is known as Kaas Pathar in the Marathi language. The plateau is full of wildflowers during the months of August and September and the blooms last for about two to three weeks. The whole plateau resembles a carpet with flowers of every hue from the colour spectrum. More than 450 different species of flowers, orchids and carnivorous plants such as Drosera Indica are found in Kaas.
Which places this plateau high among the top biodiversity hot spots in India. Who knows, there might be a lot of other flora yet to be discovered. Due to its beauty, it attracts many tourists, scientists and nature lovers. The major portion of the Kaas Plateau is a reserve forest and it has received a World Natural Heritage Site tag too. If one pays attention to the detail, you can see many beauties including carnivorous plants on the laterite soil in Kaas.
Kaas Plateau was formed by volcanic activities and is covered by a thin soil cover as a result of which, no vegetation thrives in the region. Having peculiar volcanic rock soil, the plateau has become home to many endemic species of plants – those that can only survive in this region. It was absolutely amazing to see so many different flowers with the slightest differences in hue, making the plateau a Technicolor carpet. This area comes under a very high rainfall zone. Due to this, the flora and fauna of the region are unique and endemic. Its unique ecological features make Kaas one of the hotspots of biodiversity.
Kaas also has around 33 endangered species. These species are only found in rocky lands and are on the brink of extinction due to the changes in climatic and geological conditions.
If William Wordsworth had visited Kaas before penning down his legendary poem “Daffodils”, I am sure he would have many more varieties of flowers to write about! From bright purples to pinks to whites, blues & yellows many different color & varieties of flowers grow here. Needless to say, the plateau is also home to many beautiful butterflies & multi color bugs too!
Kumudini flower (Water snowflakes) in the Kumudini pond. Kaas has more to offer if you sweat a little bit. Just a few miles ahead of Kaas, there is a pond in which you can see this flower in numbers.
The pond also gets its name due to this flower which is abundant. Without visiting a Kumudini lake your trip to Kaas will be incomplete. Kumudini lake is famous for Kumud flowers which are nothing but a type of lotus. Usually, it blooms at night and fades after 10-11 am. Lake covers 2 hectares of the whole plateau and sometimes it gets covered with the white carpet of Kumud flowers and their green leaves.
Best Time To Visit:
Thousands of tourists flock to this place in Monsoons & it is recommended to arrive well early in the morning as every day only up to 3000 tourists are allowed at this Eco-sensitive plateau. Given its closeness to Satara, it is advisable to halt in Satara the previous night & visit the plateau early morning the next day. There are many agro-tourism centres and Farmstays around Satara offering comfortable stay & food options. Tourists can also check into hotels & resorts in nearby areas. The food offered is mainly Maharashtrian local cuisine & is sumptuous.
Walking through the flower-covered plateau is a gratifying experience. However, there is nothing much to do except take lazy strolls through the meadows. The best time to visit Kaas Plateau is after the rains till October end. Many people visit Kaas during the rains; however, the plants bloom only from late August to September.
IMPORTANT POINTS that you need to keep in mind:
Don’t drink or/and Smoke.
Don’t pluck flowers, most of them are endangered.
Don’t stamp flowers
Don’t walk on the flowerbed
Don’t make noise
Don’t LITTER – Bring your food, but don’t throw them everywhere. Take it back with you.
Please don’t think of carrying a tent and camping on the Kaas plateau. It’s a restricted area. More importantly, there are forest guards. Kaas Pathar Booking doesn’t allow you to stay on a plateau. It is just a day pass for visitors.
Add them to your itinerary along with Kaas Plateau:
Unlimited Maharashtra: Koyna (Koynanagar)