Kaas Plateau is Maharashtra’s very own Valley of flowers. Entire region is covered with tiny colorful wild flowers as far as your eyes can see. Post monsoon this unique plateau, spread across 1000 hectares, becomes home to nearly 1500 species of tiny plants of which around 600 are flowering plants. From the local Orchids of Maharashtra to the hard to find carnivore plants, you are in for a visual treat.
Kaas is declared a bio-diversity heritage site by UNESCO in June 2012. The plateau gets its name from the Kaasa Tree with red leaves which turn green on maturity, and blooms for just 15 days in March with beautiful white flowers.
Kaas is a volcanic plateau at an altitude of 1213 metres. It is nestled in the Sahyadri ranges north of the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. The peculiar volcanic soil aids the growth of endemic flowers.
Kaas Flowering Season
Flowers start to bloom in late July and undergo dramatic changes until October. Different varieties of flowers blossom at different times. The best time to visit Kaas is just after the rains. Many people visit Kaas during the rains, but the fog and drizzle make it difficult to spot the flowers and to explore the entire plateau.
Exploring Kaas Plateau
The only way to explore the plateau is on foot. There are barricades at the start of the plateau to deter people from stomping on the flowers. Most flowering plants are only few inches high. Avoid stomping them while exploring the plateau. For a layman, it is difficult to identify most flowers. One can hire a local guide, or buy the book by Dr Sandeep Shrotri which provides information on the different flowers found in Kaas. Or, one can take pictures of the different varieties and then try to identify them based on the information available online. In Fog, do not venture up to the edges of the plateau. They are steep and not fenced.
Kaas Plateau Permits
Maharashtra Tourism Authority regulates tourist visits on Kaas Plateau. Only 3000 visitors are allowed in a day. There are 4 batches of 3 hours each starting from 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening. The best time to visit Kaas depends on the weather conditions. Generally people prefer batches starting at 10 am or 1 pm as it allows sufficient time to explore the plateau.
There are very few or no street lights on the road to Kaas from Satara. Hence, avoid the last batch, unless you plan to stay at a hotel around Kaas.
Tickets can be booked online at www.kas.ind.in. Usually bookings can be made at the entrance without a problem. The list of Charges as hosted on the official website of Kaas.
Flora and Fauna
Apart from the endemic flowers, one can see diversity in wild life. You can spot lizards, frogs, eagles, snakes and rodents.
Things to do around Kaas Plateau
1. Yavateshwar Temple(located on the Kaas Road)
2. Kaas Lake ( located at 2.1 km downhill from the Kaas Plateau)
3. Vajrai Waterfalls
4. Bamnoli ferry ride ( Located at 12 km from the Kaas Plateau)
5. Vasota Fort (to be accessed from Bamnoli)
6. Tapola : mini Kashmir of Maharashtra
Club your Kaas visit with any of the following options around Satara:
1. Wai – Panchgani- Mahabaleshwar-Pratapgad Fort- Parthawadi- Dhom Dam
2. Sajjangad Fort- Thoseghar Waterfall- Chalkewadi Wind Power Plant
Getting there and Around
By Air : Pune is the nearest airport. It is 115 kms away from Satara.
By Railway : Satara Railway Junction is the nearest railway station
By Road : Kaas is located approx. 28 kms away from Satara city.
From Mumbai – Kaas is at a distance of 280 kms i.e. approx. 6 hrs drive from Mumbai. Drive via the Mumbai- Pune Expressway, and continue along the Mumbai Bangalore Highway. Exit at Satara. From Satara, drive-up the hill for a distance of about 28 kms.
From Pune– Kaas is at a distance of 115 kms i.e. approx. 2.5 hrs drive from Pune. Take the Mumbai- Bangalore Highway and exit at Satara. From Satara, drive up the hill for a distance of about 28 kms.
Where to Eat
There are no restaurants at the Kaas Plateau. However one can find few local restaurants near the Kaas Lake. To reach there, head down towards Bamnoli from the Parking lot.
One can try local Maharashtrian delicacies like Bharli Vangi, Mutton Bhakri etc. at these restaurants or at the nearby hotels before the Kas plateau.
Where to Stay
There are only a handful of hotels and homestays available near Kaas Plateau ( within 5 kms ), hence one should book well in advance. Alternatively, there are many hotels in Satara which is approximately a 45 mins drive from Kaas.
Below is the list of hotels near Kaas Plateau ( within 5 kms ):
1. Kaas Pathar Village Resort and Kaas Hotel (3.7 km from Kaas Plateau)
2. Hotel Kaas Pathar Lake View (3.6 km from Kaas Plateau)
3. Kaas Holiday Resort (3.3 kms from Kaas Plateau)
4. Hotel Sahyadri Pushpa (3.8 kms from Kaas Plateau)
5. Nature Plateau Paradise (1.2 kms from Kaas Plateau)
What to carry
Wind-Cheater, Waterproof cover for your camera, Sunscreen since the plateau is at the top of the mountain and there are no shady trees in sight, Camera, Tripod, Water