My Husband, Mr.Desai and I are bike trip lovers and we enjoy exploring outskirts of Pune on bikes especially during monsoon and winters. Best time to plan such road trips around Pune is from early July to September end. There are certain things that I love about this season and bike trips.
Mr.Desai, a big time nature lover had been to Kaas probably half a dozen time in past. He had told me some wonderful stories about this place and showed me some amazing pictures. He exactly knows how to make me jealous! So this time I decided to take initiative and visit this place without fail. One fine Thursday while seeing rain from office window and sipping my coffee, I dropped an email to colleagues to check who were interested in joining us for this day long trip. We were about 7-8 folks who quickly agreed to visit Kaas on coming Saturday. That was mid August in 2013. Probably till 2010 this place was not as popular as it is today however known amongst trekkers and nature lovers. After Sahyadri Western Ghats came into UNESCO world heritage list (in 2012 as per Google), the place got more attention both from state government and tourists.
Kaas Plateau is about 135 kms from Pune also known as “Kaas Pathar”(Pathar is Marathi word for Plateau). It is situated in the Western Ghat Sahyadri range, 22 kms from Satara city in Maharashtra and is known for various types of wild flowers which bloom during August – September every year. The area of plateau is located at a height of 1200 meter from mean sea level and spread over 1000 hectares.
Tips: Before you plan your trip to this place, you want to make sure flowers are bloomed. Flowers typically start blooming when monsoon is nearing the end and days are sunny. So you probably want to wait for 2-3 weeks after pick monsoon has gone. Maharashtra’s local newspaper like “Sakal” normally publishes pictures of Kaas Plateau during this season. Kaas website (mentioned in useful links) also keeps updating this information each year based on weather conditions. Using same link you can pay parking charges and get tickets for yourself. Charges are as nominal as 20-30 bucks. Prior booking helps avoid weekend queues as typically flowers lasts only for 30-40 days. Also they claim that only 1000 vehicles are allowed per day to preserve environment.
We decided to start at about 5 am in the morning as we wanted to reach Kaas as early as possible. We were well aware that we have to explore this place walking all around. Apart from that Kaas weather is dry so mornings are way more pleasant than late afternoons. Our first stop was Satara at about 7:30 am. Like every other city Satara has its own charm, the streets are narrow and then near main roads they go wide. You see homes that give you feeling of small town and then on opposite side, you see a big bunglow with BMW parked in a porch. We crossed the city centre, a market place and a bus depot. There was crowd but it seemed everything was at its own pace. To get soaked in that morning chaos, we stopped by at one of the tea stalls.
Journey from Satara to Kaas is more than overwhelming for nature lovers. Satara is located in a valley and hence a drive to Kaas is a good climb. Roads are curvy however clean and maintained, soil is red, mountains are covered with almighty hues of Green, there are small waterfalls and streams. Air seems fresh and pollution free. There are plenty of butterflies and birds species if you have got sharp eyes! What else do you want apart from your camera?
Weather was in our favor too! Clouds were gone, sky was sunny and morning breeze was cold, a perfect weather to capture beauty of this place and enjoy the bike ride.
After about 5 kms from Satara, climb starts which take you to Kaas. We had to stop to enjoy this breathe taking view of Satara. My eyes didn’t want to blink, my nose could smell the aroma of fresh air, my lips had that peaceful smile, my ears could hear birds singing and my heart was filled with joy. My senses were at their best, I guess!
Road to Kaas is nevertheless than Europe! (I had been to Europe and hence can definitely claim that). Whenever I show pictures of Kaas to anyone, I introduce particularly this picture as “Road to Heaven”. Every other minute I wanted to stop and enjoy the serene beauty before my Husband reminded me that we are still 15 kms from Kaas and we wanted to reach there before crowd starts gathering.
Now that Kaas Plateau is maintained by State Government, some major improvements have happned in last couple years. There are barricates everywhere so that people don’t crush flowers and small narrow lanes are maintained between barricates for people to walk. Vehicles are not allowed anywhere than parking lot which is about 2 kms from where plateau starts. Once vehicle is parked, you are free to roam all around. The site was mesmerising, first time in my life I saw flowers till the horizon ends! All the flowers in valley are naturally grown, wild flowers they are! We saw flower belts in yellow, pink, purple, red, orange and even blue!
I wanted to explore every bit of this place and spending about 4 hours walking 8-10 kms was still not enough. There were many small water streams in near vicinity, water was so pure that it seemed potable. We washed our faces and drank some which felt refreshing! Apart from flowers, there were various species of butterflies and birds. And if you are really lucky probably you will find Green Vine Snake just right there!
It was about 1:30 pm and it started getting hot when we decided to make a move. I left this place with hope of visiting it again next year! Now that I am writing this post much later, I reveal that I couldn’t wait till next monsoon and visited place again in another 15 days!!!