Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Plateau Of Flowers, Kaas Pathar and Thoseghar Falls

29th Sep 2013

Impatiens oppositifolia: pink flowers: These were the largest blooms covering Kaas plateau.
Murdannia simplex: the purple flowers.

While I was in Bangalore someone had asked me about a plateau of flowers in Maharashtra and I went blank. I knew so little about my own home state. So when I returned I resolved to explore Maharashtra as much as I did the South. 

Ipomoea barlerioides

Rainy season always calls for special picnics but except going to Thal I had not gone anywhere in the hills actually we did go to Gondavle in Aug but that route is something I know like the back of my hand and did not notice anything unusual or may be the drama of nature had not begun unfolding yet.

help me name this flower.

So when I discovered a company called The Western Routes that does some lovely themes in Maharashtra I hopped on to their bus along with Dad to visit Kaas Pathar. Enroute they handed out a print info on Kaas Pathar or Plateau in English. It gets it name from the Kaas tree. 

Kaas pathar and view of the Satara city below

The purple flowers: Cynotis tuberosa

In the two monsoon months of August and September the nature dresses the plateau of Kaas with vibrant colored wild flowers. The carpets of purples, yellows, whites, pinks. The flowers of one color start blooming then another and this drama lasts only for 2-3 weeks. 
The yellow flowers : Senecio bombyensis

We left Pune at 5 am and reached Kaas before 9 am. Turned out to be a good plan and ofcourse the experience of Jayesh who runs The Western Routes to save us from crowds. However we did have trouble with traffic while coming back as the road to Kaas is narrow and barely two lane. The bus had dropped us at the entrance gate and then came to pick us up again thru the crazy traffic. Some idiots had clogged the two lane road by parking along the sides. They should not allow vehicles to go beyond the parking area. Walking up the trail would do good.

Pogostemon deccanensis: the purple flowers in the forefront

Kaas is a visual treat so here are some iPAD pics of the beauty. It was foggy and as we roamed around it started raining. That set a really good mood for the day. No sun meant I could enjoy the outdoor without worrying about harsh sun burns. The soil layer here is very thin barely covering the volcanic rocks. The Sahyadri range in Satara is mainly made of Laterite and Basalt. This thin soil layer does not allow the growth of many trees but the wild grasses and shrubs are abundant. What was nice is there were a group of botanists who educated us about the Kaas and its environment and helped identify the flowers.

Eriocaulon Tuberiferum: white balls

Most of the plants here are endemic to Kaas, which means they grow only in the environmental conditions specific to Kaas. There are some 850 species of flowers that grow here and some are endangered. In an attempt to protect these species Kaas is declared as Biodiversity World Heritage Site by Unesco. We picked up some plastic and cans that the public had littered and brought it back with us to Pune to dispose to the municiplality, The Westren Routes is a very pro environment tour company and this is one of their initiatives.
Topli Karvi : gets its name from the basket shape leaf arrangement. 
Strobilanthes callosus blooms >once in 8yrs.

View from the bus as we came down from Kaas

We were well taken care off on this trip. For tea we stopped at a restaurant when cream biscuits were handed out. Breakfast was thick theplas, cucumber and cheese chutney sandwiches in packets so we could munch on when ever and where ever we wanted. After spending an hour or 2 at Kaas we were herded into the bus and taken to Satara city for lunch at the famous Khanaval run by Supnekar in Yadogopal peth. 

We enjoyed a very homely lunch and burped with happiness and some new connection were created over interesting conversations.

After this we headed to Thoseghar falls to view the rain water gushing down that makes these falls a sight to behold only in the monsoon season. There are two falls one with a straight fall and another one that flows down the edge of the ravines.

After a long time we were travelling with a group even though they were strangers we started chatting up with them and had a good time. More group trips for Dad and me in the future!

Kaas and Thoseghar falls exhaustive pics here...

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