Did you ever wish to visit heaven prior to death? Yes it is possible and is situated in a very close proximity to Mumbai. I am talking about "Kaas plateau" aka "The valley of flowers." The Plateau has been recognized as "bio diversity heritage site" by UNESCO.
A car, 3 friends, a DSLR, some beer and kickass music what else do we need for a road trip! All of us being fresh graduates did not own a car but we hired a self-drivediesel car from Girikand cars and headed straight to Mumbai-Pune expressway and reached Satara town in about 6 hours(it's not that far but we took a couple of breaks to enjoy the journey). Being a national highway, the roads were smooth and there was no scarcity of eateries. We halted at one of the dhabas to fill our tummies and kept moving. It was an uphill journey from Satara to 1 of the 7 wonders of Maharashtra - The Kaas Plateau. This 22 KMs ghat is not a very tough one to drive on and its full of scenic beauty. As we went closer we could seethe blossoms and suddenly it started drizzling making the journey more pleasing. Car parking space is after you cross the valley of flowers and you have to walk back to the valley. Once we reached on the plateau, all we witnessed was an endless carpet of colorful blooms on both sides of the road. It seemed as if the rainbow has been laid on the ground.
The whole stretch was so refreshing and rejuvenating that for once, we thought of quitting our jobs and stay in the valley forever. It is a surely a paradise for shutterbugs and can be an inspiration for poets and painters. Kaas also endorses a breathtaking aerial view of Shivsagar lake. The Kaas plateau is known to be home to around 850 varieties of plants of which around 600 are flowering plants and about 40 of which are only found in Kaas. The volcanic soil i.e. rich in natural minerals is the reason for such wide floral diversity. This plateau is surely an ocean of learning for botanists and researchers. Being a weekend it was crowded.We were luck to visit the heaven in the days when there was no entry fee but now a days, a very minimal fee of Rs 100/- is charged per person. We are sure you won't mind this once you soak yourself in the carpet of flowers.
Humble Suggestion: Do not pluck or disturb the blossoms and walk only on the pathways marked with stones. Also, buy some stuff(snacks, etc) item from the local vendors as tourism is probably the only source of income.
When to Go: Best time to visit is end august to November as the flowers bloom during these months. Do check this website https://www.kas.ind.in/ before visiting Kaas to see the current pictures of Kaas.
Where to stay: There are a few stay options on the way to Kaas plateau but we went further downhill to a laid back village called Bamnoli and stayed at a local home stay on the lake side. Check our story on this pretty lazy village.
Must carry stuff on a roadtrip: Aux cable, cigarette point charger, knife, water, jacket, extra pair of shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, old newspapers, mat, bedsheet, nail cutter, mug, DSLR, football, snacks, beachwear (if the place you heading to has a beach)and hell lot of great music.
After experiencing Kaas and staying at Bamnoli, we headed to an un-touched white sand beach on the Konkan coast. Stay tuned for next story to know more about this virgin beach.
Story by: Abhimanyu
Pictures by: Utkarsh
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