The season of flowers is upon us. The rare Neelkurunji bloom has cast its lilac glow in Munnar, setting Kerala’s healing, undulating hills on a blue-tinted fire. On the opposite end of the country, wildflowers have bloomed over the Valley of Flowers in Himalayas, taking over every weed, nook and corner.
Did you know, however, that in a small town in Maharashtra, past concrete houses and stretched out highways and away from the rumblings of the city, there lies its own version of valley of flowers? Come September, Kaas, a rather ordinary low-lying plateau in the Satara district of Maharashtra, metamorphoses into a field of blooms.
On the map, Kaas lies ambiguously close to the popular hill station destinations of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. But it takes a conscious traveller’s decision to take the left to go to Satara, and once they do, they’re only the better for it.
Recognised as a UNESCO Heritage Site, Kaas is home to over 850 species of flowers, of which about 30 species are unique and local to this region. The best time to visit Kaas plateau is in the monsoon months of August-early October, where the bloom is at its peak and the entire stretch of land is dotted with colourful flowers. Although it is on flatland, people often make quick one-day ‘treks’ to the valley. Here, they can walk past the flowers, although there are strict rules about not walking on the flowers, and staying away from cordoned-off areas. As it is perched on the Sahyadri hills in Mahrashtra, there are spots from which you can view the entire lush green valley and take a glimpse at the beautiful Kaas Lake, which is a local source of water.
A walk further down from the fields of flowers leads to a small lake with lotuses far as the eye can see. This makes for a resting spot for travellers where backpacks are fashioned into pillows and people lay down on the soft grass for a while.
How to get there: Kaas is safe and best visited in the early mornings before scores of travellers take over the field. For that, getting there the previous day and staying in a homestay, or travelling by an overnight bus is a good idea. There are many trek orgainsers and travel groups such as Travel Trikon, Trekmates India and who take you to the location from Mumbai and Pune at an affordable fee.
Entry: The entry to Kaas plateau is ₹ 50 for adults on weekdays and ₹ 100 for adults on weekends. Buses and cars must be parked at a distance from the main entrance. Passes can be obtained online or from the site