Kaas has been on my list for a few years now. But you know how life gets in the way of one’s best-laid plans. (Yes, that’s my excuse for everything)
Getting back to Kaas. As the monsoons set in Maharashtra every year, the Kaas Plateau comes alive with over a thousand varieties of flowers. This 1000-hectare plateau, outside Satara, is home to millions of wild flowers, including many endangered varieties. Many call Kaas Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers, after the famous Valley of Flowers in Himachal Pradesh. I guess Plateau of Flowers doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
The plateau is made of extremely porous laterite rock and a thin layer of soil that doesn’t retain water through the year. This unique topography means that plants come alive only during the monsoons. And, not enough rain, like this year, means lesser flowers and a mostly bald plateau.
The ideal time to visit Kaas is between July and end September. Locals say that to see all the varieties, one needs to make fortnightly visits because a new species flowers ever so often. Apparently, the season starts with white orchids in July, changes to yellow flowers followed by purple in August, and then various shades of red in September. When I went in the first week of October, the predominant colour was purple though there was enough of white and yellow as well.
We got out of Mumbai at 6 am and reached Kaas post noon. Here’s a pro tip: walking in the open in the October heat is not a good idea. Also, Kaas gets really REALLY crowded. So, if you can make it early, do so – visit the plateau really early in the morning. Think sunrise. Remember to keep your eyes peeled to the ground because many varieties are really tiny and you could miss them really easily.
A 10 rupee ticket gives you unlimited access to the plateau. Then you are pretty much on your own dodging family picnics, countless selfie sticks (how I hate them!), wailing children running through fragile flowers and couples on dates. Two hours later, I walked out having sweated out half my body weight (I wish!) and with muddy knees acquired trying to get the best possible photos.
So, is Kaas worth the 6-7 hour drive from Mumbai? YES. I am definitely going back next year. Also even if you don’t see too many flowers, the drive is enough for city-weary eyes to soak in the green bliss of velvety lush hills and a glimpse of crystal clear lakes.
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