IntroductionThe Kaas Plateau in native language is commonly known as the "KaasPathaar" and is situated in the Western Ghats of the Sahyadri range. Did you know that the name Kaas originated from Kaasatree. It is about 22 kilometers from the city of Satara in Maharashtra, India. The place is renowned for many types of wild flowers which bloom during August-September every year.
How to reach?The area of plateau is located at a height of 1200 mts and is approximately 1,000 hectare. There are two ways to reach Kaas. The direct way is from Satara and the other way is from Tapola via the link road connecting Mahableshwar and Panchgani. Kaas plateau is about 20 km away from the Northern part of Koyana Sanctuary. The plateau is about 125 kms from Pune, 280 kms from Mumbai and 150 kms from Kolhapur.
Most tourists like us, all took the Satara route. In fact, if you want to see the flowers early in the morning then stay on the plateau. There are few good hotels and others are home stays which provide bed and breakfast. Since these places are at the top of the plateau, they are quite chilling and pleasant. They ate reasonably priced too.
The plateauThe plateau is formed of basalt covered with a very thin layer of soil and hence he basalt is directly exposed to the atmosphere. The entire plateau is uneven, and water gets accumulated in these places resulting in a typical marshy flora. The major portion of the Kaas plateau is reserve Forest and comprises of many new species and endangered species. The place has about 850+ different species of flowers and other plants including the carnivorous plants such as Drosera. Out of the 624 species recorded till date 39 species are found only in Kaas Region. Kaas plateau has been declared as Biodiversity World Heritage Site by The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).The plants and shrubs growing on Kas plateau are typically of herbaceous nature of like grasses. The small shrubs and trees are located at the periphery of the plateau at Kaas plateau.
After the night stay I walked about 6 kms early morning, along the road. The sun rise was a golden glow and there were a lot of birds flying around in the sky. Further on, we drove and reached the plateau by 9 am. The cars were driving by right from 6.30 in the morning. It sure looked like a traffic jam was coming up. The forest division charges a small amount for the entry into the place. By the time we reached there were a lot of people already moving about in the grass observing the flora and fauna. The cars were parked right to the end of the plateau. I enjoyed colors, and the flowers but am not too much into biology. Hence after sometime we were ready to move on. While coming back we were caught in a traffic jam and took about 30 minutes to come out. Buses are parked a little away from the plateau. Only the cars and two wheelers are allowed on the plateau. This year the rains are not enough and the blooms were only 50% of last year. Nevertheless it was worth the visit.
Little further from the plateauThe next stop was at Kaas Lake, on the south of the Kaas Plateau and is surrounded by dense forests. It looks like a bowl carved out of the Sahyadri mountains. It is a permanent source of water supply for western part of Satara city by the force of gravity. The lake is quite big but no boating is allowed. On the way to the lake, you can see with lovely heavy blooms of bluish purple wild flowers spread across a large area. If you have a change of clothes you can take a dip in the water. But there are no changing facilities. Unfortunately the entire place in the walking distance of the lake is littered with glass pieces. May be people drink and break or throw the bottles away. This is one very serious issue which needs to be tackled with if more people are to visit this place or we desire to make this place a safe tourist destination. If you go some few kms further, you can reach Bamnoli village from where you can take a boat to Tapola. A small village where you can eat local delicacy: Jhunkabhakar. We visited both these places and headed back home with memories of the lake, flora and fauna.
In short, Kaas is a must see destination with various marvels of nature at least once in a lifetime.
Kaas plateau is a beautiful destination for natural lovers located near Satara. We visited Kaas plateau in September, and it was an awesome experience.