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A Macro Ride to Kas Plateau

Have you ever appreciated that visiting few places becomes a religion for you? Like, visiting that particular chae wala shop around the corner in Kolkata or that old movie theater that has stopped screening new movies in Old Delhi since a long time or that particular CCD in Lucknow where you had coffee with your soul mate? Nostalgic, isn't it!

I find this theory true to our travelling too. Just a view of Vishwanath Temple of BHU, idling at Assi and Dashaswamedh Ghats of Banaras, trekking every year at Naneghat, bathing at Nagaon - Alibaug are the few of the travelling things that I do almost every year. The new entrant to this annual travelling pilgrimage list is Kas Plateau. Just like the last year we rode to this place again and were happier than ever.

Trivia
Kas (Kaas) 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.
 
Flower flower everywhere....
(Bed of 
Eriocaulon sedgewickii Gend as shot by Lumia 720)
Kas, 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, its 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.”
UPDATE: This year we found rather bad traffic and on bikes took about an hour to ride through some 1-2 kilometer final stretch. Best part was that now bikes were allowed to park near the protected area.

Ride:
This time we were three Decide and Ride bulleteers – me, Samir aka Samzy and Sandesh aks Sandy - and no pillion. So, it was a perfectly ‘pure ride’ and the treat of macro-photography made it an amazing one. However the Chae breaks were undoubtedly the most interesting part of the ride. Not only we devoured the refreshing tea at almost every hour but also spent ‘quality bitching time’.

Photo Story:
This time I had a single aim for the Kas – Macro (Nikon’s Micro) photography. Equipped with 18-55 mm kit lens mounted with cheap (eBay) Macro (+4) lens, I could able to appreciate the macro world in a sense I had never had before.

Click and enlarge the pic how he holds and enjoys the bud
Hold it tight, Enjoy it right!
Senecio dazellii or Hiwali sonki
Justicia procumbens or Kalmashi in Hindi/Marathi (Macro)
Some symbiotic shrub
Flemingia gracilis or Jartari Fabaceae
Flemingia gracilis or Jartari Fabaceae
Flower flower everywhere....
(An HDR Comosition of the bed of 
Eriocaulon sedgewickii  called as "Gend in Hindi/Marathi")
As it was on Macro!
The Grasshopper Camouflage
A macro capture
Love was in the Air :)
(Experimenting with Macro led me to follow them)
Murdannia semiteres
A Macro shot of Smithia Bigemina or Lahan Kawla
Bed of Smithia Bigemina or Lahan Kawla
Bidens biternata
Dipcadi montanum
Special thanks Shubhada Nikharge, for her awesome Flickr Album guided me to recognize these flowers.

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.

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