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Kaas Plateau: Maharashtra’s own Valley of Flower

So, I finally could ride to Kaas Plateau last Sunday. Almost a year back I came to know about this place, popular as Maharashtra’s Valley of Flower, in a Jet Airlines magazine; was scared to miss visiting the place this monsoon and wait for one more year.



Trivia
Kaas (Kas) Pathaar or Kaas Plateau is located in the Satara District, some 30 kilometers off NH-4 (now NH 48) towards West. Plateau is about 300 kilometers from Mumbai via NH-4 and 375km via NH 17. We took NH-4, which is obviously a faster and better option to ride, though NH-17 is more scenic and the last leg of some 70 km through ghats would be rather amazing to ride.


Kaas, situated in the Shahydri Range (Western Ghats), is now declared as a UNESCO Biodiversity World Heritage site. It derives its name from Kaasa tree (Elaeocarpus glandulosus). Though the Kaasa blooms in March, whole plateau is adorned by a wild number of wild flowers during late monsoon and generally post-monsoon. These flowers stay for a few weeks and that too is dependent upon the monsoon.

Tip:
“For the plateau is a protected non-parking zone, vehicles are generally to be parked at about a kilometer ahead of the plateau. Though there is a designated parking area, it’s better not to park there, it being mucky, and park on the side of narrow road (narrowing it more to get traffucked later). Advisable is to park a kilometer or so before Kaas, there is a bifurcation towards a temple, where one can park; that way, it would be easier to avoid traffic.”
Ride:
Co-rider Indro with his Bull
in the Mucky-parking area
We started from Navi Mumbai at 4:30AM. Ashutosh, my roomie, was my pillion and Indro co-bulleteer. As decided, we took JNPT and then NH4. As we started ascending Lonavala ghats, dense fog welcomed us. First, I thought it could be smoke from some diesel engine, but so pristine it was, I could soon feel riding through the clouds. This was the best ride to Lonavala ever, better than the one I blogged about (and, which is one of my most read/popular blogpost).

Weather was cool and sky was cloudy. Riding in such weather is just awesomeness. We loved it, though were also praying not to meet rains or at least hard rains. Lonavala-Pune-Katraj stretch was a fun ride of about 165 km that we did well within 4 hours of ride. Stopped for breakfast, we were again riding high. From the Khambatki Ghats, we could see clouds over the Satara district. Minutes later, heavy rains welcomed us and then accompanied till the Kaas Ghats.

While returning, we rain-ride the entire stretch, from Kaas to back to Mumbai! So, not only we enjoyed a long ride (some 580-600 kms in a day), the magnificent Kaas, but could also be able to cherish probably the last rain-ride of the year!

The Kaas Plateau:
Trivia already shared, we spent some 30 minutes indulged in photographing the world famous wild flowers of Kaas. Taking help from http://www.kaasplateau.in, I could name a few species of flowers.


Murdannia lanuginosa

Cynotis tuberosa (aabhali flower)

a walk within the edges of a dimension called Life
Bed of flowers




Pogostemon deccanensis (Jaambhli manjiri flower)

some fern



We couldn't go to the lake, but it's truly beautiful and worth visiting.
Kaas Lake
Take Aways:
  1. Better to do an overnight trip. That way you would have plenty of time cherishing the beauty and taking better shots!
  2. Spend some time there; it’s worth breathing out there :)
  3. Carry rain-coat, umbrella and protective gears for your camera.
  4. Park your vehicle intelligently ;), if you have time – may try the NH17 route.
  5. There is no shop at the very location, carry your own food etc, but do not litter! Please!
  6. Nivant is the only good option to stay near the Plateau. Recommended by friends. 
  7. For riders, Hotel Sahyadri (Sampat Jadhav @ 982204613) may be an option. They offer food and have got a multipurpose hall (may allow tents also), and is quite closed to the protected area.
Ashutosh, my roomie, walking down the beautiful road
Government is doing its part saving and protecting this beautiful place; do your part...it would survive for generations :)


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