Kaas Pathar Flower Valley
The flora of Kas i. e. Kaas Pathar Flower Valley near Kaas Pathar Village Resort and Kaas Hotel the entire flowering plants and their related plants are typically restricted to that particular locality only. This is because the plateau is largely formed of basalt which is directly exposed to atmosphere. The basalt is covered almost entirely by a thin cover of soil formed due to erosion and has accumulated a layer of not more than a inch or so. This soil is neither black nor lateritic. At certain places water gets accumulated because of uneven surface. Such places appear like small puddles which harbor a typical marshy flora. Because of this particular situation of soil the plants growing on Kas plateau are typically of herbaceous nature of like grasses. Botanically the flora is labeled as “herbaceous”. The small shrubs and trees are located at the periphery of the plateau.
25 Km away from Satara District H.Q. & 20 Km away from Northern part of Koyana Sanctuary. Locally called as ‘Kas Pathar’ or ‘Plateau of Flowers’.The major portion of the plateau is Reserve Forest. Kas plateau is listed under the Protection Working Circle. Kas lake (built 100 years ago) is a perennial source of Water supply for western part of Satara city by gravity.It is a glory of satara forest division.
Elements of outstanding Universal Value Plateau is rich in its Bio-diversity. Very IMP for botanical studies and research work. Many species which are still new to the Botanical Science are observed on plateau. Many of the endemic, endangered plants are found on Plateau. Plateau will provide a potential site for future research in botanical studies. More than 850 species of flowering plants are reported. 624 species have entered in the Red Data Book. Out of these 624 sp., 39 sp. are found in Kas Region only.
It Approximates 6% of the Red data species It has become very urgent to take effective measures to protect this whole area in order to conserve the diverse, rare and endangered flora of Kas plateau. Plateau seems to change the colours after every 15- 20 days as the cycle of flowering plants progresses with the monsoon progress since June to October.
“Kas Plateau – Wildflower wonderland and UNESCO World Heritage Site”
Kas the valley of flowers of Maharashtra. Locally called ‘Kas Pathar’ or ‘Plateau of Flowers’. Kas has been awarded as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site (WHS).
The Kas Plateau is a lateritic table land, typical of the the Western Ghats in Maharashtra. In the monsoon months the Kas Pathar as it is locally known, transforms into a wildflower wonderland. More particularly so in September when vivid shades of pink balsams, yellow smithias and blue utricularias carpet the vast grasslands. For serious botanists, a visit every ten days from the beginning of June to end October will present you with the entire spectrum of Western Ghats monsoon montane grasslands flora, some of which are rare and endangered.
Satara is the convenient gateway for a visit to Kas with a range of hotels available to suit all budgets. The best way to get from Satara to Kas is by your own vehicle. Failing that, hire an auto rickshaw or a taxi from Satara. Kas is 20km from Satara via Yevteshwar. The beginning of the road for about 3km is currently bumpy but the rest of it is a smooth drive. It takes about 30 to 45min to reach the Kas Pathar, with plenty of photo opportunities en route. The Yevteshwar plateau is a flat ridge with the beautiful Kanher lake on one side and the vast Urmodi reservoir and Sajjangad on the other.
On weekends, parking at the Kas Pathar is strictly regulated by the local authorities and you may end up having to leave your vehicle about 3km away and then wait for a public bus to take you to the flower zone. Alternately one can park at the Kas Lake which is about 3km below the Kas Pathar and walk up from there. On weekday mornings so far, you can park as close to the Pathar as you like though not within the designated No Parking and fenced area. Everyone who visits has to pay a small fee per head, per camera and per vehicle. If you want to pay in advance of your visit, you may also register on the Forest Department’s website kas.ind.in.
The entire wildflower zone on the Pathar is now fenced. Visitors may spend as much time as they like and walk through designated pathways on either side of the road traversing the plateau. It is advisable to wear comfortable footwear if you plan on walking far, and do watch out for snakes. Avoid shorts to avoid insect bites. Butterflies and birds are aplenty too and they certainly don’t bite!
In September, the weather can change within minutes so what begins as a warm, sunny morning with azure blue skies can suddenly change to billowing clouds, mist and rain. When the skies are blue, the sun can get pretty intense, when it rains it pours and when it is misty, visibility can be near zero – all this from personal experience over several visits! So dress appropriately and keep a waterproof cover handy to protect your camera if not yourself, in case it rains.
Illustrated booklets on the flora of Kas are on sale at nominal prices at the Forest Dept. checkpost as also in most of the hotels in Satara.
After you have had your fill of flowers at Kas, go further to the pretty Kas Lake and even further to Bamnoli on the shores of the vast Koyna Lake [Shiv Sagar]. The same road winds its scenic way along the lake shore to Tapola and then up the mountain to Mahabaleshwar.
On weekends and public holidays, makeshift stalls sell tea and snacks along the road to Kas and at the Kas Lake. Otherwise, pack your picnic lunch or have it at Bamnoli where there are a couple of eateries serving hot food.