Kaas is Western’s Ghat’s smaller and cheat’s answer to visit and experience a Valley of Flowers. There are no arduous treks or long journeys involved and all you need to do is just undertake a long drive. While I haven’t seen the actual Valley of Flowers in Uttaranchal, I got a chance to visit Kaas in September this year and loved every thing about this beautiful plateau. Kaas comes alive during monsoons with numerous flowers flowering in a riot of colors, such that it gives an impression of being amidst multi colored bands. There are all kinds of flowers here, including some endemic, some rare and some insectivorous too. Along with flowers, there are other smaller life forms that are found around here such as birds, bees, beetles, etc. Overall a must visit for every nature lover.
While I have already written detailed posts about my trip to Kaas, this post is a quick travel guide in case you are planning to visit this unique ecosystem.
When to visit?
The best time to visit Kaas is in the monsoons when the flowering happens i.e. from August to October. Within this time frame too the best time to visit is from mid September to early October as post that, the flowers start wilting. The weather is normally good around this time, but do be prepared for rains and limited visibility.
How to reach Kaas?
Kaas is located about 26 kms Satara and is easily accessible via Satara from Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. Satara is well-connected by trains, buses or you can drive in your own car or a rented one. The drive to Satara from Mumbai takes about 6 – 7 hours and about 3 hours from Pune. Once you reach Satara you can take a local bus, car or an auto to Kaas. Many travel groups such BNHS, Jungle Lore, etc too organize short trips to Kaas.
Where to stay?
Satara has pretty limited options for stay and there are no fancy places here. There are a few options in terms of homestays, small hotels and camping but please keep your expectations pretty low. We stayed at the Nivant Hill Resort which is the best hotel here, but it was still a basic hotel. However it made up for everything else with its fabulous views of the city below.
A trip to Satara is definitely not for food, but there some popular Maharastrian food joints around. Also during our drive we stopped in Wai for Misal Pav and just before Pune for Vada Pad at Joshi Vadapav. Both were awesome. Then in Satara, do try a Kendi Peda, a local desert.
Things to see in and around Kaas
The main attraction here is definitely the flowers on the Kaas plateau. Hence do take your time and wander around this plateau to spot as many different varieties of flowers as you can. If possible do accompany some botanists as they can help you spot and identify numerous flowers and their salient features that you wouldn’t otherwise know about. Also do try to spot some rare plants especially the insectivorous ones. 🙂
Post that do walk all the way down to the Kaas lake and sit by the lake and enjoy some solitude by the clear azure waters.
Recently the local officials have started official registrations to visit the Kaas plateau. This is to control the number of visitors in this area. Though nobody asked us but I would still recommend you register in advance, just in case. You can register on the official website here and you then need to carry a print of the same with you to the Plateau.
Basic Rules and Etiquette in Kaas
When you visit Kaas, please do remember that this is not a typical picnic spot hence please follow the following rules – No trampling or plucking flowers, No food and drinks on the plateau, No smoking and No littering.
Things to Carry with you – A jacket for the cold, a raincoat as it does tend to rain quite a bit, a good quality camera, a good pair of walking shoes and some sunscreen.
Other Things to See around Satara – Apart from Kaas, there are numerous other thing that you can visit around Satara –
- Forts – Ajinkyatara, Sajjangarh.
- Waterfalls – During the monsoons numerous seasonal waterfalls are seen around this area with the major ones being – Thoseghar Falls, Sada Waghapur, Yavateshwar Falls, Kasani Falls, Khadgaon Falls, Dhareshwar Falls, Ozarde / Nawaja Falls, Ekiv Falls, Bhambvali-Wajrai-Kaas Falls, Sandawali Falls, Khadgaon Falls, Palsawade Falls, Bharsakhale Falls and Kelawali Falls.
- Windmills – Chalkewadi, Wankusawade
- Temples – Parali, Pateshwar, Yavateshwar, Ghatai, Jarandeshwar, Meruling, Wagholi.
- Lakes – Kaas Lake, Koyna Dam resevoir
- Caves – Ramghal, Shivpeteshwar, Morghal, Nandgiri, Helwak, Nageshwar, Rajapuri.
I have collated this list courtesy a friend, websites and Sandeep Shirothri’s book – Kaas Plateau of Flowers. Since I would like to make it as exhaustive as possible, please do let me know if you know of any other things that one can see or do around Satara.