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Old 22nd October 2018, 17:21   #1
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Default Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers

Hi guys,

A couple of years back, I had seen a travelogue on Team-BHP about KAAS. I was blown away. The place was quickly added to my bucket list. I used to live in Navi Mumbai back then. Alas, I never ended up going there.

It was a few weeks back when me and my wife decided to travel to KAAS plateau, known as the Valley of Flowers of Maharashtra. The logistics were a tad complicated, but we managed just fine, thank you.

Here's our VIDEO-log, or vlog, or video tour, of that:






We made our way from Delhi to Bombay on a Vistara flight.


Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-flying-shot.jpg


On moving across the aerobridge, I noticed something different about our Vistara plane. It had a white tail. With a bunch of painted stripes. This was quite different from the signature Vistara purple tails.


Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-vtatv.jpg


I asked the crew about this, and they excitedly told me it was a 'one of a kind - India's First Retrojet'. So its the newest addition to Vistara's fleet, and has been painted in the colour scheme of India's First Commercial Jet - belonging to Tata Air Lines - flown by Mr. J.R.D. Tata himself. The tag on this plane says TATA SIA AIRLINES. And they've even got the authorities to allow them to use the same registration as the historical plan - VT ATV.


Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-vt-atv-magazine.jpg


We also saw this unmarked windowless (maybe a cargo?) plane. It wasn't VT registered (so probably foreign).


Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-unmarked-white-plane.jpg


Well, it was a nice start to our ride for sure!

Eventually, we reached Mumbai, and headed over to my in-law's home.

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-mum-airport-1.jpg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-mum-airport-flag.jpg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-mum-airport-night.jpg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-reaching-worli.jpg

The next morning, we started early-ish. We made our way to Navi Mumbai, which I must say I don't recognise from my time there, and went over to the Team-BHP favourite - Kalamboli McDonald's.
This is where I got my second surprise - the awesome McDonald's new menu. Now I know a lot of you would find my delight surprising, but you should know - we never got the updated menu in Delhi! And I really like the American burger!

And then off we went towards Pune! The expressway brought back a lot of memories of my Bangalore - Mumbai drives (as detailed in the video).

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-exp-mum-pun.jpg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-green-hills-exp.jpg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-mum-pun-exp-2.jpg

As we made our way past Pune towards Satara, we came across the beautiful flowers all over the sides of NH4. (or is it NH48 now?)

We encountered some traffic after entering Satara, and some roadwork confused us as we were following G-Maps, but we eventually found the road to Kaas. After a few kms, the entire scenery changed! The video should give you a more immersive experience of this.

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-reaching-kaas-1.jpg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-reaching-kaas-2.jpg


By 5 pm or so, we reached our hotel, which was barely 500 meters away from the Kaas plateau parking. The hotel itself was quite ordinary, and in some ways quite badly managed. The sheets were dirty, and the washroom was stinky. The room we booked on booking(dot)come was very different from the one we were put in. But as soon as we entered our balcony, we realised it was WORTH IT! What a view! And we had luckily reached around the golden hour. I have a short time-lapse from the hotel in the video that you should see!

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-view-hotel.jpg


The next morning, we made our way to check an item off my bucket list. We got to the parking and took the shuttle bus to the actual site of all the flowers. The shuttle service is priced at Rs. 10 per head one way. We walked around the flower beds and just took in the mesmerising view. The last few days had seen a lot of rain, and so the lighter flower petals had fallen off. So we got to see mostly the yellow flowers. But the blue sky with white clouds, the light green grass, the dark green trees in the distance, the light and dark brown thorns, interspaced with some brown of the earth gave us quite a kaleidoscope of colours!
We just walked around and soaked in the view for a while, and let the cool breeze take away all the travel fatigue. Some friendly locals gave us some pitla bhakari and some buttermilk.

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-kaas-vid-1.jpg

Some interesting points about Kaas
  • Kaas is a UNESCO certified World Heritage Site
  • It has 850 species of flowering plants. Out of these, 624 are listed in the Red Book by IUCN, marking them endangered species. 39 of these 624 are found ONLY at Kaas.
  • This extensive diversity in flora also means there's a diverse bit of fauna around. This includes many types of insects.
  • Why Kaas is Able To Support Such Diversity: Kaas plateau has been formed out of volcanic upwells. This volcanic rock has a thin layer of soil over it. Normally, this thin layer of soil should have been able to support only thorny plants that require very little moisture to survive. However, being in a region getting good amount of rains in the winters, Kaas also has smaller plant species, including all the flowering plants, that grow here.
    Most interestingly, these plants remain underground and only pop-up during the monsoons, upon getting the moisture they require.

Having read a little bit of the above, and done some research before going, I felt really blessed to be there, in the middle of this biological wonderland.

In case you want to go there, keep in mind:
1. Time of the Year: Right after monsoons in Mid September to Early October (with some variations) is when you'll get to see most plants. It can be a bit of a hit or miss, as a heavy shower will sometimes take away most plants.

2. Getting there: Satara city is about 100 kms away from Pune, and Kaas is about 30 kms from Satara. You can drive to Satara from Pune, or take the bus. After that, you can get an auto rickshaw or other public transport to Kaas.
Pune is about 200 kms from Mumbai, and about 160 kms from Navi Mumbai. It is well connected via Mumbai-Pune expressway.

3. Precaution to take as a Responsible Visitor:
This place is bio-diverse, but extremely sensitive to human activity. This is why the number of visitors is limited to 3000/day. During season time, you must pre-book your visit online (explained in video).
Once you reach, make sure you:
  • Don't get closer than 3 kms to the plateau in your own vehicle
  • Don't play loud music or honk the horn in the vicinity
  • Don't eat/drink/smoke at the plateau
  • Don't litter
  • Don't pluck the flowers
  • Don't walk on the flower beds

Remember, most of these plants CAN NOT grow anywhere else apart from this plateau.

After chilling at the plateau for some time, we made our way back to the shuttle bus, where we again paid Rs. 10 per head to get back to the car parking. We then drove back to Bombay, stopping only once at the Mumbai Pune expressway for, you guessed it, McDonald's!

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-reached-bombay.jpg


Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-wwwkasind.jpg

Hope you guys enjoyed this thread.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,
Sam
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Old 23rd October 2018, 14:50   #2
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Default Re: Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers

Lovely travelogue Sam. I had been wanting to visit Kaas since many years, but haven't been able to get myself to visit it. Eventually, with a lot happening in life, I forgot about the place altogether.

I enjoyed viewing your vlog. Besides, you have nicely jotted down interesting facts about Kaas and what not to do. Not right away, but in a couple of years maybe, I will plan a drive. I just hope that the landscape is untouched till then and well beyond.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 19:55   #3
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Default Re: Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers

Nice Vlog. I see fences, so visitors can only see this from a distance, behind a fence ?
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Old 23rd October 2018, 21:28   #4
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Smile Re: Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Lovely travelogue Sam. I had been wanting to visit Kaas since many years, but haven't been able to get myself to visit it. ...Not right away,...
If I may, I really do recommend going there the soonest you get a 2 day window. I do feel the authorities are doing most of what they can, but I'm not so sure the people visiting the place care as much. I really do hope it can remain preserved.
It's about 5 hours away from Bombay.
Also, I know it's a bit idealistic of me, but I really would say don't put off things ( specially the experience based) for too long in life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Nice Vlog. I see fences, so visitors can only see this from a distance, behind a fence ?
There're defined access zones. These are manned by guards. One can enter/exit from these, and walk all across the land. You can catch this footage in the video.

Cheers,
Sam
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Old 24th October 2018, 16:08   #5
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Default Re: Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers

Here’s a bunch of pictures from the Kaas trip and some from our time in Bombay.

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-4c0013898dcf4855a18916768d1c3bc4.jpeg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-1cfc1959e7514b77bb247ca827698736.jpeg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-693e1242720e4d5db2065ad26fe2163f.jpeg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-c6942353a70d4bcf96e4b34565ac68a6.jpeg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-97cc3c51b4814e23b2b8692f8eae22c8.jpeg


Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-1da6aa0da1ff481f962de3eaea3fef7f.jpeg

Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers-dc830c899d1e49bc8e433e7ccbaf6d94.jpeg

Cheers,
Sam
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Old 24th October 2018, 16:45   #6
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Default Re: Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarth.bhatia View Post
Here’s a bunch of pictures from the Kaas trip and some from our time in Bombay.


Cheers,
Sam
Nice video samarth. This month end we are heading to Mahabaleshwar, so just thought of checking if Kaas does have the flower blooms now. Is it worth to visit now.
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Old 24th October 2018, 16:50   #7
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Default Re: Video Tour | Kaas Plateau : The (Hidden) Valley of Flowers

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK_HakunaMatata View Post
Nice video samarth. This month end we are heading to Mahabaleshwar, so just thought of checking if Kaas does have the flower blooms now. Is it worth to visit now.
Hi,

Glad you liked the video
The flowers were almost gone when we got there. Now I doubt there would be any left.

That said, since you’re headed to M’leshwar I highly recommend doing the extra 30 kms to Kaas. The road is wonderful, and so are the views. I actually wanted to go back via M’leshwar but didn’t due to lack of time.

Sam
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