Something Khaas about Kaas!

MAHARASHTRA’S OWN VALLEY OF FLOWERS

 

Within a stone’s throw from Satara lies a lone valley littered with tiny blossoms! 
Come autumn and the valley springs forth in colorful hues…
These are autumnal blooms that bloom only in August through September. So, the third week of September saw us heading for Kaas Paathaar‘Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers’, also declared as a World Natural Heritage Site.
‘Kaas’ named after Kaasa Tree and Paathaar meaning valley in Marathi, Kaas Paathaar is the name of this valley that abounds with this tree & is abloom for a short spree filled with these super blooms..  
The valley is just 26 km away from Satara. 
Smithia Hirsute
This trip that was planned by me & my close friend from college days, came to fruition in the fall of 2013, when we set out with our families in tow.
A fine September morning while the dewiness was still afresh, we zipped through Lonavla & Pune, to reach Satara by 1 pm.
 
As we zoomed through the town’s outskirts, the weather began to change mysteriously! Clear skies began to show signs of grey. 
 
Tarred roads started giving way to redder soil and the stretch had fewer vehicles. 
 
Soon, shops and buildings were replaced by deep vales on one side and lush hills on another. 
As we trudged uphill, it was natural that we didn’t need the AC. But as we slid open the windows, a gush of cold air startled us! Out of nowhere, a sudden train of tourist jeeps and cars appeared & trailed along.
Out of the blue, appeared tiny yellow blossoms, whose trail stretched for a while till the yellow dots were soon accompanied by violets and whites too. 
 
Finding an isolated spot, we parked the jeep and alighted. A veil of mist floated around and we found ourselves being pushed forward by unforeseen forcesthe wind! At the foothills lay the Shivsagar Lake on whose banks was the Bamnoli Village. 
 
The mead cloaked in velvety verdure suffused our senses with its grassy fragrance & it was so nice to be breathing pure oxygen! 
 
We proceeded uphill and in minutes reached Kaas Plateau. Parked vehicles alongside the road were indicators that we had arrived. As soon as we stepped out, the cold breeze and a canopy of fog filled with droplets, sent shivers down our spine! We were in for a surprise…this seemed like a hill-station!!
 
We trailed along the barricaded path and soon a few shrubs adorned with gay yellow blossoms appeared, as though welcoming us. The howling wind echoed through the misty plateau and tail-lights of parked vehicles began to dim. It was only 4 pm!
Lo & behold! Around us was a meadow awash with tiny super blooms, resplendent in myriad hues of blue, yellow, pink, purple and white! The vast field seemed like a sea of colorful waves being ruffled by the cold breeze. Swarms of blossoms twirled and swirled, casting colorful ripples across the filed. 

 

It was like going down memory lane, reckoning Wordsworth’s words, “Ten thousand saw I at a glance, tossing their heads in a sprightly dance”. 🥰

Patches of purple interspersed with pink and speckles of white, dotted the mead. But the wind & mist played spoilsport, blighting our efforts in capturing the scene.
So we waited with bated breath for the wind to abate. It was as if Nature conspired to test our patience. Along with the blustering gale, appeared the mist, shrouding the entire plateau in its mystical veneer! 
 
At last our patience bore fruit. Rays of sunlight trickled onto the field, lifting the veil of fog. It was as though a magic wand had been waved! Even as we began clicking a few snaps, another gust of wind blew hard and long. 
And once again the lingering mist blanketed the flower beds in its dewy blanket.

 

 

Thanks to the vastness of the plateau that spans about 10,000 hectares, the swarm of tourists that had gathered, was evenly distributed. The howling wind muffled human voices, which otherwise would’ve shattered the prevailing peace.
It was as if the sun and cloud were playing hide and seek! There were no houses anywhere in sight & we stood amid the fieldawash with colorful wild flowers. It felt magical…
 
Grazing cattle oblivious to the crowd that had gathered to witness the spectacle, completed the picture…
By 5 p.m, when monsoon clouds began to loom large, the guards (whistle blowers of this secret garden), signaled us to vacate the place. Reluctantly we retraced our steps…turning our gaze backwards with every step we took forward. 
  
Kaas….it’s so near, yet so far…for, the otherwise lush valley bursts open in a riot of colors when autumn falls! So, even if we wished to make another trip, given the proximity to Mumbai, we will have to wait for another year.
Yellow Senecio Grahamii
 
Pogostemon Deccanesis
 
Pogostemon Deccanesis
 
 

 

 
How to reach Kaas-35 km from Mahableshwar
Satara to Kaas-25 km
Mumbai-Satara-254 km. You should reach Satara from Mumbai in 5 hours.
Best time to visit Kaas: Mid August to Mid October
 
Note: Before you start, check if the flowering season has begun. Book a hotel at least few weeks before departure, because given the small window period, hotels will be teeming. There are no hotels at least 2 km in sight, although few private cottages may agree to accommodate guests for a night.  
 
Note: Please avoid trampling on tiny stems and flowers as you tread across. There’re pathways & parterres carved out for people to amble along. Stick to that route.
Do carry light woolens and scarves, as it can get very windy. 

THOSEGHAR WATERFALLS

20 km from Satara, Thoseghar undoubtedly is another crowd-puller!

Kaas and Thoseghar go together. Autumn is the harbinger of spring that carpets this valley, & the season’s mild mizzles make traveling a sheer pleasure. Silvery cascades cleaving their way through cliffs & drops would perhaps cease in winter.

 
The drive is something you’d die for! Snaking through bends, while journeying uphill, the roads alow, looked like a coiled serpent wading its way through the verdant plains. The fragrance of wet grass was another invigorating refresher! 
Hues of green ranging from brownish green, olive, yellowish green & emerald green spilled forth Nature’s palette, painting the tapestry in lush verdure. 

Blotches of black stones dotting the green, seemed as if Nature had strewn these across only to guard the scenery from evil eyes!

 
 
Pretty Violet Balsam Blossoms 
 
The distant sound of a cascade broke the tranquility. As we ascended, the sound became clearer. 
 
And suddenly we came face to face with a surge of silvergushing forth the green hills, forming another torrential rivulet on the rocky dell! 
 
Tiny rivulets crisscrossing the luxuriant hill, was a sight to behold! 
Taking in as much as the eyes could capture, I captured more… on my lens that would perhaps serve as a memoir…
 
Outside stood a small museum displaying the valley’s various bountiful blossoms. Other significant details of Sajjanghad Fort and the nearby places were also detailed.
 
  
These verdant vales are a veritable haven in whose lap thrive various flora and fauna, which take an occasional peek to witness the world of humans go by… & we left their peaceful abode, charged & rejuvenated..    

Comments

  1. Very Good & Very informative. Photos are excellent .Excellent command over language.

  2. Beautiful thoughts. Keep writing!!!

  3. Excellent. Well written, very informative, Beautiful photos

  4. Thanks Mr. Venky Parur. Hope this gives you reasons to visit the place next autumn!

  5. Anonymous

    Informative…….Commanded language……Good fotography……Keep on writting………

  6. Thanks….glad you liked it

  7. Kavitha

    Beautifully written…words seem to flow from your heart..I love the way u pen your thoughts..keep travelling… keep posting.. miles to go….

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thanks a lot Kavita, for taking the time to read & thanks for liking too. Yes, shall keep posting more.

  8. Rekha

    Beautiful…. we have never been to this place, it looks so lovely. The photos and the description are both interesting and informative…Thankyou…

  9. Kishore Kumar

    Superbly expressed as usual with lovely visuals !

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thank you so much for going through it & liking it. Readers like you always motivate me to write more & writing for more such readers is a sheer pleasure..😊

  10. Rucha Vidyasagar

    Wonderfully written.
    A must visit for me soon.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Shubhrata Shankar Iyer

      Thank you, Rucha for liking it. Yes, you must go there sometime. Perhaps there will be more flowers now, better access & better comforts for staying in because I visited the place in September of 2013. It’s 7 years since my visit. Do share it with your contacts when the time is ripe..

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