• 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 hectare is a visual treat till October when the bloom lasts.

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 Marathi language. The plateau is full of wild flowers 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 on the top biodiversity hot spots in India. Who knows, there might be lot of other flora yet to be discovered. Due to its beauty it attracts many tourists, scientists and nature lovers. Major portion of the Kaas Plateau is a reserve forest and it has received 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.

Kumudini flower (Water snow-flakes) in the Kumudini pond. Kaas has more to offer if you sweat a little bit. Just few miles ahead of Kaas, there is a pond in which you can see this flower in numbers.

The pond also gets it’s name due to this flower which is in abundant. Without visiting a Kumudini lake your trip to Kaas will be incomplete. Kumudini lake is famous for Kumud flowers which is nothing but a type of lotus. Usually, it blooms at night and fades after 10-11 am. Lake covers 2 hectors of whole plateau and sometimes it gets covered with the white carpet of Kumud flowers and their green leaves.

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 very high rainfall zone. Due to this, the flora and fauna of the region is 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!

Best Time To Visit:

Thousands of tourists flock 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 centers and Farmstays around Satara offering comfortable stay & food options. Tourists can also check in into hotels & resorts in nearby areas. Food offered is mainly Maharashtrian local cuisine & is sumptuous.

Trekking through the flower covered plateau is a gratifying experience. However, there is nothing much to do except taking lazy strolls through the meadows. 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 in late August to September.

Here are the 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 flower bed

  • Don’t make noise

  • Don’t party

  • 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 Kaas plateau. It’s a restricted area. More importantly, there are forest guards. Kaas Pathar Booking doesn’t allow you to stay on plateau. It is just a day pass for visitors.

This beautiful place can be reached by ?

By Road

  • Mumbai to Kaas Plateau distance – 300 km (5-6 hrs drive)

  • Pune to Kaas Plateau distance – 140 km (3 hrs drive). By Road, one can easily reach Kaas Plateau from Pune

By 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, Kaas is just 30 km away and it takes 1 hr to reach by road. There are frequent state transport buses available for Kaas Plateau. Otherwise, one can go for a private taxi as well.

By Air

Nearest Airport is Pune. One can hire private Cab from Pune to reach Kaas Pathar of Satara.

Places to visit near Around Kaas Plateau :

  • Kaas lake: This lake is easily accessible and just 2 km after Kaas Pathar.

  • Vajrai Waterfall: Vajrai falls is one of the top waterfalls of India by height. Moreover, it’s a 3 tiered waterfall. And, one can easily trek to the second tier. Bhambawali is the base village and 6 km away from the Kaas Pathar.

  • Vasota Trek: It’s an amazing jungle trek and requested to be visit along with the experts only.

  • Bhairavnath Boat Club, Bamnoli: Boating in Koyna River gives stunning views of surrounding area. A good place for landscape photography.

  • Thoseghar Waterfall: Just 45 km away from the Plateau. Stunning view of waterfall is visible after a walk of 5 minutes. There is entry fee of Rs. 10 per person.

  • Chalkewadi windmill farms: This countryside location is on the way to Thoseghar waterfall. You can halt to see how big windmills are? No permission & No entry fee.

  • Sajjangad: Road almost goes to the top of fort. One has to climb some steps to explore.

  • Ajinkyatara: Easily accessible fort from Satara city, just 15 minutes drive will take you to the entrance gate. One can have bird’s eye view of the Satara city.

  • Baramotechi Vihir: It’s an ancient step well of Maharashtra, located near village limb. Google map doesn’t work at the end but you can ask villagers anytime.

To summarize, don’t expect anything fancy here. It’s not a leisure tour. Enjoy your Kaas Pathar tour and do let me know if there are any changes/up gradations.

I hope you found the write up useful. Would love to hear your feedback at writetoajazshaikh@gmail.com and do follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.