I am unfamiliar with the western part of India and have explored it very little. Many moons ago, I briefly dated someone from Mumbai and he showed me some very unique and special places in and around Maharashtra. The stunning Kaas Plateau was one such place, and I am thankful to him for that. Often called the ‘Mini Valley of Flowers’ Kaas Plateau as the name suggests is actually a plateau and a very rock one too. Locally known as the “Kaas Pathar” (Pathar meaning Plateau), it is situated in Sahyadri Ghat ranges close to Satara city of Maharashtra. The name Kaas is derived from the Kaasa tree (Elaeocarpus Glandulosus), the leaves of which turn red in March. The plateau covers an area of approximately 10 square kilometers and every August and September, gets carpeted with an incredible variety of wildflowers. These flowers bloom naturally for about 2–3 weeks depending on the monsoon and other weather factors and turn the plateau into a floral delight.
Table of Contents
The stunning wildflowers carpet
The Kaas Plateau was declared a UNESCO Biodiversity World Heritage site in July 2012 and it is famous for stunning biodiversity. From pretty orchids to the wild and carnivorous Drosera Indica, more than 850 flowering species can be found here during the flowering season. For the rest of the year, the plateau is covered with soil and grassy patches. The best way to experience the Kaas Plateau is with an enthusiastic and experienced guide who will not only make your trip photogenic but also point out the rarest of the rare blooms. The sight of a million tiny flowers carpeting the ground is an unforgettable one and if you happen to see a rare bloom, then the joy is manifold. However, it is only the luckiest ones who get glimpses of the Topli Karvi, a flower that blooms only once in seven years.
Kaas Plateau Travel Guide
Although some unique flowers bloom only in the month of June and July (the first rainfall months), mass flowering at Kaas Plateau happens between August and October.
How to Reach
Kaas Plateau is closest to the city of Satara. From there, one can hire an autorickshaw to visit the natural reserve. Just ask the autorickshaw driver to wait for you to avoid getting stranded or walking back to Satara. Buses and trains to Satara are available from both Mumbai and Pune.
Mumbai to Satara distance – 4 hrs, 30 minutes ( 257 km)
Pune to Satara distance – 2 hrs, 48 minutes (115 km)
Check out this website for available trains. You buy the bus tickets from Redbus.in. However, note that the frequency of local transportation is low and it usually takes a lot of time to reach your destination. The best way to reach Kaas Plateau is by car. Simply drive down the Mumbai–Bengaluru Highway (NH4) up to Satara and exit for Kaas plateau. Note that there are no food stalls or restrooms at the plateau, so tank up or empty out on your way there. The parking lot is a bit far away from the plateau, but ST buses are available for ferrying the distance for a small fee. However, the uphill walk is very rewarding as the nooks and crannies are filled with beautiful and rare flowers.
Where to Stay
Kaas Plateau is a day trip destination. However, one can stay at the MTDC-approved Kaas Village Resort or at the Nivant Hill Resort Satara, at the Kaas gateway. Alternatively, you can also stay in the nearby towns of Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, or Wai. Many also prefer to stay at the beachside town of Dapoli, a four-hour drive from the Kaas Plateau.
What to See
The sight of the plateau carpeted with pink, purple, or yellow blooms is unforgettable. However, the Kaas Plateau is also very rich in fauna and birds. For example, look for the Malabar crested lark and the Fan throated lizard (sarada superb).
Things to Remember
- To protect the delicate biodiversity of the reserve, each day, only 3,000 visitors are allowed inside the Kaas Plateau. There are three time slots for entering the plateau: 7 am-11 am, 11 am-3 pm, and 3 pm-6 pm. For the 3 pm time slot, visitors have to report at the entrance between 3 pm and 4 pm. Each time slot has a cap of 1,000 visitors.
- Online registration and booking are mandatory for entering Kaas Plateau. The fee is Rs 100 for Saturdays, Sundays, and all government holidays. On other days, the entrance fee is Rs 50. Children below five can enter for free. According to the official website an entrance confirmation cannot be cancelled, and visitors are requested to carry a printout of the receipt.
- The reserve once used to be an open area. However, owing to its growing popularity the plateau’s blooms are unfortunately threatened by visitors who trample on the plants, pluck flowers, litter, and park on the plateau. So nowadays, many of the fragile zones have been fenced off. Entry to the meadows is only allowed at certain places. A black tar road runs across the plateau and provides panoramic views of the place.
- The cycle of flowering at the Kaas Plateau changes quite rapidly. So an area that was covered in pink flowers a week before, may have yellow flowers, a couple of weeks later.
- Arrive early in the morning to ensure a good parking spot. Also, be prepared to walk a lot.
- Carry snacks and lots of water. There are no shops inside the reserve.
- Good walking shoes are essential and it makes sense to carry a rain jacket or an umbrella.
What Not to Do at Kaas Plateau
- This is a biodiversity hotspot and an ecologically sensitive area. Do not litter and carry your trash, even cigarette butts back with you.
- Be calm and quiet since the reserve is home to many species of birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
- DO NOT PLUCK FLOWERS.
- Do not drink and make a party. It is a natural reserve, not a discotheque.
Follow the rest of the Maharashtra series
- MUMBAI STREET ART
- SPRING AT PAVANA LAKE
- LONAVALA SPRING
- MUMBAI STARS STORY
- MUMBAI STARRY HITS
- MUMBAI MEMORIES
- MUMBAI MINUTES
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE