Kas Plateau: Five things you should know

1. Maharashtra has a Valley of Flowers too!

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Most people think of Uttarakhand when they hear “Valley of Flowers” and indeed, they wouldn’t be wrong.A lesser known destination, however, is its sister, the Valley of Flowers at Kas Pathhar, near Satara, Maharashtra.

The best time to visit is when the flowers are in full bloom which is generally the period from mid-September to early October. It is easy to get to Satara from Pune as well as from Mumbai, both by road and by train.

 2. Once in a Blue Moon. Er… Seven Years

This wild and verdant plateau is home to many species of flora owing to its laterite soil base, a special one being Pleocaulus ritchei, or Topli (Inverted Bowl) Karvi in Marathi, which blooms once in seven years. People flock here to see this rare purple coloured blossom which is only found in the Western Ghats, and flowers for only 15-20 days.

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Topli Karvi in bloom

3. You can’t just walk in when you please

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While you might think that nature has no boundaries, prior online booking is necessary to visit (You can do it here). There is a limit on the number of visitors (3000 daily) in an attempt to preserve the delicate biodiversity.

4. Running Wild

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Satara Hill Marathon           Source: SHM

Well, what if stopping to smell the flowers isn’t your cup of tea? For the more active readers out there, it’ll interest you to know that every year, the Satara Hill Half Marathon takes place along this route.  And guess what! Last year the marathon set a new Guinness World Record title for ‘most people in a single mountain run’ when 2618 runners participated.

5. Bring your own tent

If you’re the kind of person who could dance the night away under the stars,pitch your tent and immerse yourself in the Milky Way. While the flowered plateau is out of bounds, there are several good campsites around Kas that are perfect for stargazing.

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Starry Starry Night                                   Source: Outlook Traveller

The plateau itself is relatively untouched by civilization, other than the barriers constructed by the authorities to protect the biodiversity. Flowers grow in clusters and resemble a water colour painting, especially in the rain when everything is tinged with a halo. If you’re the kind of traveller who likes to wander off the beaten track, and spend a few hours in quiet introspection amidst nature’s masterpiece artwork, this is one weekend destination you should definitely not miss.

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