When it comes to popular natural terrain in India, plateaux are no novice to the spotlight. The Kaas Plateau, located in the Satara district of the state of Maharashtra is one of the most popular of the above plateaux, complete with the designation of a UNESCO Natural Heritage. The plateau is mainly known for its natural floral cover during the rainy season of India i.e from late July to early October. The plateau literally changes colour every fortnight during this period, showcasing a sea of rare flowers. The seasonal flowering and the delicate nature of the flowers makes viewing a sweet victory as a little shift in weather can render the plateau a bright green.
So, without, further ado, Imma show you some pictures of the Kaas plateau, all taken on a Saturday road trip.
This is a hill en route the Kaas Plateau. The brush-like tree cover on the peak as well as the mammoth emptiness reminds me of a view from the Scottish Highlands, except a lot sunnier:) The Kaas Plateau is formed from the cooling of lava which has led to the formation of multiple gorges and valleys in the surrounding area and this hill faces one such valley, overlooking a very beautiful dam reservoir. I also love the tiny house nestled in some bushy trees. Cottages such as these give me major fantasy vibes, taking me back to witch’s huts and ghostly hamlets. Notice how the foot is laden with yellow flowers. These flowers are one of the many species seen on the plateau and floral patches along the road make for a good preview:)
This is the Urmodi Dam reservoir, very close to the plateau itself. There’s multiple viewing points at different locations surrounding the area, all offering different angles of the dam and the valley. I like the effect of the diffused sunlight in this picture as it really brings out the cloud layering into the frame.
This is the entry of the Kaas Plateau. The starting walk through the plateau presents a mix of all kinds of flowers and as one goes forward, different species dominate different stretches of the plateau. The tall flowers in the picture are Toothbrush Orchids and the yellow patches are formed by a tiny yellow flower called Sonki. The plateau has a paved trail in the middle of the surrounding grasses and tourists are strictly told to stick to the trail and not venture into the flower beds. Being a World Natural Heritage, the Kaas Plateau has very strict security, with guards posted along the trail to prevent littering and trampling of the flowers. Plucking flowers is strictly forbidden. The locals in the area are very particular about the rules and will ensure that they are being followed to ensure a pleasurable experience.
This is a sprawling white carpet of tiny white flowers called the Seven Angled Pipewort. These flowers bloom in the months of August and September and stay on till early October. These flowers have a sort of ‘companion’ flower scientifically called Utricularia purpureus. It is a purple Bladderwort and the fun part is that it’s insectivorous.
I mean, just look at the two flowers, nicely hanging out in harmony. It’s like being friends with Hannibal Lecter. Weird eating habits but we get along just fine. I just described ‘Silence of the Lambs’. Hehe:) Let’s focus on the flowery stuff.
This is the view of the dam from the plateau. There’s a small open grass area off the walking trail where tourists can cool off. It’s a nice spot for taking family photos with the above view as the backdrop. There’s also small food stalls where locals bring home-made food and sell it to the tourists. The food, consisting of a flatbread made of millet flour called Bhakri, served with a savoury porridge made out of chickpea flour, is served hot and very nicely packed and it gives a great taste of the local cuisine. There’s also vendors selling fresh cucumbers topped with chilly and salt as a refreshing snack.
The vendors, who are mainly old ladies and some local men with their children, are very friendly and they serve the food very lovingly which really shows the hospitality of the locals. The vendors who served us also agreed to pose for a picture which was really sweet and one of the highlights of the trip.
After a short recess, we continued down the trail with more flowers along the way.
This is a leaning Indian Gooseberry plant, growing on the sloping sides of the plateau. Gooseberries are something that I’ve always loved and the very thought of it makes my mouth water. I also love the little mud reservoir in the distance, it gives me major ‘Merlin’ vibes, especially with the surrounding trees, reminding me of the Lake where Excalibur lies. It’s funny how a plateau in India takes me back to Medieval England. It’s a small world, hehe.
Since Halloween is round the corner, here’s some pre-fest spooks for ya. The plant on the left is called Solanum virginianum which is a type of a Nightshade and the leaves literally have thorns sticking out of their lamina. Like this is right out of a gothic horror film set in the forest. One prick and you fall into a permanent slumber, only to be woken by True Love’s Kiss™. The plant on the right has a little surprise which can be seen as a brown coloured object nestled in one of the leaves. That brown coloured “object” is actually a huge spider and it has full potential to eat a human being. I said what I said.
This was a cute little sit out right in front of the plant with the brown spider. The position of the tree makes it look like a gateway into some enchanted land and I love the small glimpse of the yellow flower beds on the left. Who knows, this could be a portal to Narnia and that spider might actually be guarding the entrance for Aslan. Hehe. P.S. I also love the backdrop of the darkening sky and the tree-lined horizon:)
This is a huge expanse of grassy flowers called Arundinella leptochoa. These flowers are really fun to watch when there’s wind as the whole expanse literally ripples in the breeze. Here’s a small video for ya.
These grasses are found towards the end of the plateau but as one nears the exit, there’s a whole new variety of flowers that comes your way.
These purple wildflowers were quite a surprise. I’d seen a single flower at the beginning of the plateau tour but seeing a whole cluster was really fascinating.
These were taken at the literal end of the plateau tour. The tree on the left reminded me of the ‘Tree of Life’ and it made for an excellent frame with that beam of sunlight falling on it. The flower on the right is a sort of a Wild Onion which happens to be its common name, directly translated from the Marathi version where it’s called ‘Ran Kanda’. It’s really fascinating how something as common as an onion grows as a rare species, forming a part of natural heritage.
Our last stop on the plateau was one of the best floral views.
This flower is the highlight of the plateau during early October. It’s called Smithia and there’s a huge bed of it, right at the exit, complete with butterflies and grasshoppers.
After the plateau walking tour, we stopped at a small souvenir shop. The souvenirs here include cups and t-shirts with the Kaas plateau emblem as well as statues of birds and animals found in the region, marked with the World Heritage tag. I bought a t-shirt and the statue of a native bird. Another souvenir was a reference book called ‘Flowers of Kaas Plateau’ written by a renowned botanist of the area. The book is really good and is a great help for blogs(such as this one:)) as well as for leisurely reading.
On the way back from the plateau, we stopped at a viewing point offering a panoramic view of the dam and the towns surrounding it. I love the temple on the hill. It’s quite common to have a small shrine atop a hill in India and it’s one of the things I love about the hilly places here.
We also had a little furry onlooker who was a wee bit shy in front of the camera:)
Finally, as we left the plateau and the town, we saw two puppies playing on the footpath while their mum watched from atop a water tanker. It was a sweet way to end the trip.
And that is a wrap!
Until next time,