Saturday, 21 December 2013

Bird watching at Pashan Lake, Pune

Purple Moorhen
Purple Moorhen
The winter season is delight for bird watchers. I love to do bird watching and bird photography hence doesn’t want to miss an opportunity with my new Camera. There are many places around Pune where you can see migratory birds. I visit Pashan Lake once in week. You can spend plenty of time by just watching birds and their activity. 

About Pashan Lake:
Pashan lake is artificial Lake near Pashan area. The lake was built in 1990s to supply drinking water. Pashan lake has a total catchment area of 40 square kilometers (15 sq. mi). Now water quality deteriorated due to quantity of sewage water and other effluents mixing in the water. This Lake area and surrounding area attracts migratory birds and so is popular spot for bird watchers from Pune.There is narrow footpath Nature trail along Lake. Nature trail is best place for Bird watching and to capture photo.

To reach Pashan Lake, join Paud road (by flyover from Dashapuja Ganesh temple) from Pune city – Paud road – chandani chuwk – Do not join on national highway – From Chandani chuwk take right (which goes towards Pashan area) –Pashan Road – Drive till Pashan circle – Take left on circle – Do not take right turn towards Pashan-Sus Road –Keep looking for an old arch on left – Take left there – Drive around 1 km and park your vehicle to explore area.



For footpath nature trail, if you are facing to Lake then keep walking on left side – You will find narrow footpath which goes inside forest – Keep walking and explore other trails on right side which take you close to water body. Please mind you steps as some part of land close to lake is quite middy or covered by water plants.

December 2013: Kothrud to Pashan Lake (Distance is approx. 9-10 km)
I’m regular visitor for Pashan Lake for bird watching in every winter. It is just as paradise place for bird watchers and that to so close to the city area. Every time, my intention was a bird watching but from this year I started bird photography with my new camera. You can catch me there on sat evening or in the morning. There is a small island in-between Lake which is home for most of the wet land bird. It’s better to carry binocular.

I don’t know what to write more on Pashan Lake so I will post list of birds which you can see in Pashan Lake.
     
Pond Heron 
Purple Moorhen 
Mahratta Woodpecker 
White breasted Kingfisher 
Drongo 
Brahmin Duck 
Small Blue Kingfisher 
Indian Pipit 
Glossy IBIS 
Red-rumped swallow 
Common Coot 
Common Pochard 
Open billed Stork 
Jungle Babbler 
Green Bee-eater 
Spot-bill Duck 
Egret 
Laughing Doves 
Purple Sunbird 
Cotton Teal 
Forest Wagtail 
Little Cormorant 
Pied Kingfisher 
Grey Wagtail 
Indian Whiskered Tern 
Shoveller Duck 
Yellow Wagtail 
Ashy Wren warbler 
Large pied Wagtail 
Painted stork 
Red wattled Lapwing 
Pied Bushchat 
Asian paradise flycatcher
Pheasant tailed Jacana 
Purple heron 

Bonnelli's Eagle 
House Crow 

Rufousbacked Shrike 
 Jungle Crow 

Redvented Bulbul 
Magpie Robin 


Below are snaps taken during my various visits to Pashan Lake.

Pashan lake
Misty morning at Pashan lake

Purple Moorhen
Purple Moorhen

Fighting couples of common coot
Fighting couples of common coot

Common coot
Common coot

Spot-bill Duck
Spot-bill Duck

Painted stork
Painted stork Record shot

Purple heron
Purple heron - Record shot

River turn

grey heron
Grey heron

grey heron
Grey heron in flight

River Tern in action - Male River turn came close to Female and he gets the opportunity to mate and raise the family with her. I was lucky to shoot this...!!!


I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Kokan paradise: Guhagar and surrounding area

           After a long monsoon break, we were ready to explore Konkan region again. I have been to this place 2-3 times before my marriage but I wanted to visit this lovely place with wife. We took advantage of post Diwali festival vacation and planned 4 day trip to Guhagar, Hedvi, Velneshwar and Ganapatipule.

About Guhagar and surrounding:
           Guhagar is situated on west coast of Maharashtra, India. A word GUHAGAR means cave house in local language.Guhagar is a scenic town with hilly terrain. A perfect tropical paradise. It is even called a temple town. It is famous for Durga Devi temple and Vyadeshwar temple.Guhagar beach is one of the main tourist destinations, and is a unique place to enjoy Konkani culture.
           Velneshwar and Hedvi are the two places near Guhagar, famous for the natural beauty and the temples. Dashbhuj Ganapati temple (Lord Ganesh with 10 hands) is major attraction of Hedvi.
          Ganapatipule is another holy place which is close to Guhagar. Due to Jaigad jetty, both the places came close now.

There are 2-3 ways (via Tamhini ghat OR via Varandha ghat OR via Kumbharali ghat) to reach Guhagar. Best way to reach at Guhagar from Pune is, Catch National highway 4 (Mumbai-Bangalore highway) towards Kolhapur/Bangalore direction – take right turn at Umbraj – Paatan village – Kumbharali ghat – Koyananagar – Chipalun – Take a left on National highway 17 for Guhagar (There are different ways from Chipalun for Guhagar which meet on one route after 3-5 km drive) – Pat Panhale village – Guhagar.

Guhagar Beach
Guhagar Beach
Travelers for this trip were me and my wife Renuka.

Day 1: 7th Nov 2013 – Pune - Guhagar (Total Distance traveled: 278 km):
           We woke up early morning and left home at 6 AM. We wanted to avoid highway traffic and enjoy the morning breeze. We had plenty of snacks with us so without any pit stop (Except at car fuel station) we drove towards Kumbharali ghat. Road condition till Guhagar was good except some small patches in Kumbharali ghat. Due to less traffic and smooth road condition, we reached at Chipalun very quickly. By 9.45, we were in Chipalun for breakfast. We had south Indian breakfast at restaurant Shivsagar. Food was average in taste. From this point my wife took charge of car and we proceeded towards Guhagar.
          We gave call to Mr. Damale to spot his home, where we booked our homestay for 2 nights and last night in tent which we brought along with us. Soon we moved into our room and took rest. By 1 PM, we came in market area for Lunch. For this trip, we had decided to try different restaurant for Veg meal. We went to pure veg restaurant named “Vainateya” owned by Savarakar family. This was my favorite veg restaurant from Guhagar. We enjoyed quality meal and came back to our rooms. We spend some time in Damale’s Konkani garden which was on back side of his home. In Marathi such Farm/tree plantation is called as Wadi. There was direct access to Guhagar beach from his plantation area. Cool breeze, roaring sound of sea waves makesus feel fresh. After spending hour, we can in room for rest.

Veg Thali (Sorry for bad Photo quality)
          
             After rest for a while, we planned to visit beach in the evening. Surprisingly, even at 5.30 p.m., there were hardly any visitors. Guhagar beach is one of the cleanest and less polluted beaches in Maharashtra. This beach is assumed to be very safe. The beach slope was gentle and sea water was clean enough to see the sea bed. This beach is much better than any other famous beach from Konkan area. Unfortunately we were not able to witness sun set. We had long walk on soft sandy beach without wearing any foot wares. It was a perfect evening for us.

Typical Guhagar, konkan road

           We had veg meal dinner at Mr. Ravindra Damale’s place. After dinner we went for walk towards market area. By 9 PM, all shops were shut down and peaceful environment with Diwali festival lighting.
  • Car Petrol: INR 2500/- (approx. 32 Lit at average INR 78/lit)
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 75/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 50/- one way entry
  • Breakfast at Shivsagar, Chipalun: INR 110/- for 2 people including coffee.
  • Lunch at Vainateya restaurant: INR 80/- per person (Limited meal)
  • Dinner at Damale’s place: INR 100/- per person (Unlimited veg meal) 

Day 2: 8th Nov 2013 – Guhagar – Ganapatipule (Total Distance traveled: around 190 km):

            We woke up early morning and plan was to have a 1 day trip to Ganapatipule. We wanted to spend evening time at Velneshwar beach watching sunset. We skipped morning walk on beach and left home after breakfast.My car was not in mood to start the journey. I tried a lot of time and then I give up. We called mechanic(Refereed by Damale) and then got to known that Car battery was dead. There was nothing which we kept ON for whole night. It was happened due to end of battery life. I was too upset as I had done car servicing 1 month back and service engineer didn’t notify me about battery.
              With the help of Jumper, car engine woke up for journey. He gave some instruction to do, just in case it happens again during my day journey. To start car on 2nd gear on slope was the backup option. Mechanic helped us and didn't con. He told me not to believe on any one as people might misguide you to earn money. He advised me to buy new battery but in home town to avoid rip-off in Konkan.
              After wasting an hour, we went towards our 1st destination, i.e. Hedvi temple. Hedvi is 30 min drive from Guhagar is also known for the Beach and a temple. The temple houses the idol of lord Ganesh with ten hands. That is why he is known here as the Dashbhuj Ganesh. This temple dates back to age of Peshwa. Temple area was clean. Soon we went on Hedvi beach. Baman ghal is major attraction in Hedvi during high tide. There is unmarked rock patch route behind temple (Temple which is on right side of beach). It is unique landscape in its own way. This beautiful natural wonder is a gorge in the black rock patch and is around 20 feet deep, 35 feet long and 1-2 feet wide in dimensions. During the high tide, the sea water gushes in and splashes around. We went there during low tide so miss water splash. I have seen huge water splash around 3 years back and believe me, it’s fun to watch this wonder.

Hedvi Temple
Hedvi Temple - Dashbhuj Ganesh Temple

Beautiful Hedvi Temple
Beautiful Hedvi Temple

Unmarked route behind temple for Baman Ghal

Baman Ghal
Baman Ghal

            We move ahead for Ganapatipule via Jaigad jetty. Most of the time, road is parallel to seashore and gives you wonderful view. You can load your vehicle in ferry and save time. Because of Jetty, we can save around 20-25 km. Bhatgaon Bridge is another route to avoid Ferry but road condition is pathetic. Better to go with Ferry option. First Ferry starts at 6.30 AM in morning and then ferry after every hour till 9.30 PM. After waiting for 45 min in queue, we load our car in ferry. 

Narvan Beach

             We reached at Ganapatipule by 12.30 PM. I parked my car on slope in parking area. We joined queue to enter in temple. There were too many tourist and we spent around 50 min in queue. According to a local folk lore, the Hindu god, Ganapati, taking umbrage by a remark made by a native lady, moved to Pulé (a few km ahead of the town) from his original abode of Gulé. Thus the region was named Ganpati-pulé.The temple is at the base of a hill and very close to sea.The God is considered to be the Paschim Dwardevta (Western Sentinel God of India), and those who visit Ganapatipule, make it a point to pay their respects to this deity. 

Ganapatipule
Ganapatipule

              After visiting Temple, we took lunch in restaurant. Again car was not ready to begin our return journey. I started car engine on 2nd gear with the help of slope. To avoid risk and ferry queue, we decided to come to Guhagar via National highway. Our Route was Ganapatipule – Nivali – National highway – Chipalun – Guhagar. We dropped Velneshwar beach and reached home by evening. We rested till it was dark outside.For dinner we tried restaurant Shradha. It served tasty sea food. We had masala egg meal and veg meal. It was very hectic day due to day trip and car issue.
  • Jaigad jetty, Car chargers with driver: INR 140/- (one way)
  • Person chargers for ferry: INR 20/- (one way)
  • Auto to Market (in Guhagar): INR 30/-
  • Egg masala meal at hotel Shradha: INR 90/- 
  • Veg meal at hotel Shradha: INR 80/-
  • Auto from market till Room: IR 30/-

Day 3: 9th Nov 2013 – Guhagar:

             Today we decided to spend entire time in Guhagar and cover nearby places. We went in Durga temple of Guhagar. There is temple pillar at the entrance of temple. Few hundreds year ago, temple was located in place of pillar. But to avoid attacks from pirates, it was moved new location where it is situated now. A Temple premise is very clean and there is a medium sized man made pond next to temple.We went to another temple of lord Ganesh named Ufarata Ganapati temple.Lord Ganesh idol is facing sea shore i.e. directing west. Normally it should face direction east. And hence name Ufarata (reversed) Ganpati.We got to know story behind Ufarata Ganapati. Few years ago, there was deadly high tide which destroyed most of the costal homes. People started praying at Lord Ganapati to stop the disaster. At one night, Idol from temple changed his face direction from East to West and sea waves became claim. Hence people started call this Ganapati as Ufarata (reversed) Ganpati. Vyadeshwar temple of Lord Shiva is literally a stone's throw away from the S.T. Depot, right in the middle of the bazaar. It is the Kuladaivat of a lot of Kokanastha Chitpavan Brahmins and major attraction/holy place from Guhagar.

Temple Pillar

Towards Durga Devi temple

Durga Devi Temple, Guhagar
Durga Devi Temple

Vyadeshwar Temple
              
              We had our lunch at famous hotel named Annapurna. Other nearby places to see is Gopalgad fort and Anjanwel lighthouse towards north side of Guhagar. Car can reach right till entrance gate of Gopalgad. It was built for the protection of Dabhol an ancient port city which also finds its mention by the famous geographer from ancient Greece Ptolemy. This fort is believed to be built at the start of 16th Century by the Siddi. It was captured by Shivaji Maharaj in 1660. In 1699, it was captured by Khairatkhan who was a Siddi ruler who ruled from Murud Janjira. Tulaji Angre then won this fort in 1744 and then later lost it to Peshwa in 1755. What remain today are only the ruins of this huge fort that spans 7 Acres of land.Some cannon balls can be found in the fort. There is a private Mango orchard in the fort and due to ownership issues the entrance to fort is blocked. 

Fort Wall
              Anjanwel lighthouse is also close from Gopalgad fort. With the permission, you can see entire light house and its functionality. This entire area is located on small hill and hence it is always very windy. One can view beautiful lush green landscapes around. Surrounded by the Sea on all three sides,Gopalgad and creek next to it offers picturesque scenery.

Light house (Photography is not allowed hence took photo from outside with permission)

             In noon time, we set up our tent in Damale’s garden (Wadi). Location was amazing as we can see sea waves from Tent and area was covered by trees. We took rest for whole noon and went on beach for swimming. After spending an hour we came back and went in market area. There are some snacks stall close to beach where you can enjoy chats (Type of snacks) and tea/coffee. We spend late evening time on beach and then went for dinner. For dinner we selected Restaurant Lagoon. It is restaurant and bar but they have very nice family section where people can enjoy their meal without having any alcohol. Veg food was average but sea food was tasty. We returned to our rooms and next morning we were supposed to leave for Pune. 

Our stay at last night

We! Mad travellers

  • Lunch at Annapurna restaurant: INR 355/- for 2 people including Pomplet fry dish and veg meal)
  • Auto (Room to market: INR 30/-
  • Auto (Market to Room): INR 30/-
  • Snacks on beach: approx. INR 20 for chat plates like Bhel, panipuri etc
  • Dinner at Lagoon restaurant: INR 250/- for 2 people

Day 4: 10th Nov 2013 – Guhagar – Pune (Total Distance traveled: around 275 km):

               Early morning we went on beach for a walk and swimming. Clear weather and cool morning breeze from the sea made us feel fresh. We spend a lot time on beach and then came for breakfast. We left Guhagar by 10.30 AM. We came via Kumbharali ghat – National highway 4 to Pune safely by 5 PM.

Damale's House and My Uber cool machine

  • Home-stay Rent for 3 days: INR 990/- (Room for 3 nights and 4 days)
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 50/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 75/- one way entry
  • Car petrol near Wai phata: INR 700/- (approx. 9 Lit at average INR 78/lit)
Contact numbers for your reference:
  1. Homestay at Ravindra Damale: - (02359)240042, 9420475602.
  2. Homestay at Jog: - (02359) 240875.
  3. AtithiNiwas Homestay by Yogeshkhare: -9273650764, 9423802208.
  4. Sagar lodge: - (02359) 240347, 9420152272 (located in market area)
  5. Hotel Vainateya: - (02359) 240515, 9420722905. (close to Bus Vyadeshwar temple)
  6. Naresh Kesarkar (Car mechanic): - 9673353517 (Very reliable person)
Visit Places which we miss due to lack of Time:
  • Velneshwar Beach and temple
  • Budhal beach (Not on tourist map but very clean and beautiful village and small beach) 
I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

Monday, 16 September 2013

Trip to Thoseghar and Sajjangad fort, Satara

After Kaas trip, we had half day time left to visit few other places near Satara. My parents suggested me to drive towards Thoseghar waterfall. They wanted to watch Thoseghar waterfall and Sajjangad fort. As we were in Satara on Saturday night and went to Kaas in early morning, we had plenty of time to cover both the places. I thought of writing different blogs on these places rather than combining them together.

You can read Travel blog on Kaas visit by clicking here.

About Thoseghar and Sajjangad fort:
              Thoseghar waterfall is a Maharashtra’s famous waterfall near the small village Thoseghar. It is around 22 km from Satara city. This is typical monsoon waterfall where people from all over Maharashtra visit this area. You cannot enter in the waterfall. Surrounding area is very calm and covered with dense forest.
             Sajjangad fort (meaning “Fort of good people) is located around 12-13km from Satara city. It is the final resting place of Sant Ramdas, a saint and social reformer in 17th century India (born 1606).His teachings and works written in books such as Dasbodh are read and followed by many people even today in the state of Maharashtra.

To reach at Thoseghar/Sajjangad from Pune is Catch National highway 4 (Mumbai-Bangalore highway) towards Kolhapur/Bangalore direction – Drive for around 104 – 106 km on NH4 – you will able to see Satara city at your right side – Take a right turn to enter in Satara (Sign board are there to guide) – Cross Satara through pawai Naka –After few km drive, you will see Y share junction and tunnel on left side –Enter in the tunnel as which goes towards Sajjangad fort and Thoseghar waterfall – Sajjangad is around 10-11 km from Tunnel – Thoseghar waterfall is around 21 km from tunnel. 

Thoseghar waterfall
Thoseghar waterfall

Travelers for this trip were me, my wife Renuka, my parents and sister Pratima.

Day 0: 14th September 2013 - Pune to Satara (Total Distance traveled: 106 km):
             We wanted to visit Kaas plateau in early morning and then Thoseghar waterfall and Sajjangad so we decided to travel to Satara on Saturday. Stay was not a problem for us as my mother was born in Satara. She had spent nearly25 years in Satara before her marriage. We left Pune by 7 PM and reached Satara at around 9.15 PM. We stayed at mother’s best friend’s place.

Day 1: 15th September 2013 – Satara – Kaas - Pune (Total Distance traveled: 224 km):
               We woke up early morning and left for Kaas plateau. We reached Kaas by 7 Am and then left from this lovely place at around 12.30 PM. Our next destination was Thoseghar waterfall. We drove back around 22 km and reached at tunnel point. Our journey begins with a waterfall welcoming us. The route to fall was very scenic even in month of September. View of Sahyadri is breathtaking. After driving for few kms, you can see huge windmill farm on large plateau known as Chalkewadi windmill farm. 

View of Sahyadri
View of Sahyadri

              There were enough parking spaces at Thoseghar. After paying a nominal entry fee, you can view waterfall. There is a platform which gives a good view of the waterfall. You have to climb down a short distance before you reach the view point from where you will be able to see the Thoseghar falls. Climbing down is not a problem but it is bit tough to climb up again. There are 3-4 waterfalls visible from the view point.The biggest one is to the right and not completely visible. The one straight ahead is also big and has two layers. 

waterfall
Falls

              There is one small local restaurant at Thoseghar parking. We had our lunch there. I am not sure, but I think the name of the restaurant was “Thoseghar restaurant”. You need to order in advance as they need at least 30 min to prepare your meal. Best way can be, order your food and then visit the fall in 45 min and have lunch in the restaurant. Pithle Bhakri is very tasty whereas rest of the food was average. They also serve Chicken but we didn’t order as Ganesh festival was going on. After our lunch break, we proceeded for Sajjangad which was our last destination.
               For Sajjangad, It is possible to reach the top of the fort by vehicle. From there one has to climb around a 185 steps to reach the gate of the fort. The fort was made by Bahamani Emperors in between (1347-1527). After that in (1527-1686) it came under Adilshah dynasty. Mughal king defeated Adilshah and the fort came under Mughal rule. Shivaji maharaja conquers the fort and it was renamed to Sajjangad after he requested Shri Ramdas Swami to set up his permanent monastery.There are two maha-darwaja (means entrance gate of fort), first known as “Chatrapati Shivaji mahadwar” and second as “Shree Samarth mahadwar”. The fort is open for devotees from sunrise to sunset. Being a place of Samadhi by Samarth Ramdas Swami, the spiritual guru of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, it is a holy place.The maintenance of the fort and the Samadhi (final resting place) of Ramdas is taken care by Ramdas Swami Sansthan, a trust which has existed since the time of Shri Ramdas Swami. The trust provides free lodging and food for the devotees of Samarth Ramdas Swami. 

Shree Chatrapati Shivaji entrance gate
Shree Chatrapati Shivaji entrance gate

Shree Samarth entrance gate

Information Board

               There is a Samadhi (final resting place) of Ramdas swami and beautiful load ram temple. This area is very peaceful than any other holy place. You get a stunning view of nature from the fort. After spending some time, we left this place. People can notice while climbing to Sajjangad that there are many different small temples of Load Hanuman. I have taken all photos, which you can see in form of collage. We reached parking by 5.30 and left for home.We reached home by 9 PM safely ending pleasurable Kaas and Sajjangad trip in monsoon 



Our Expenses:
Car Petrol: INR 1800/- (around 21 Lit. at INR 84.11/lit) (Petrol for Kaas + Sajjangad trip)
Toll-1 on NH4 (Khed-shivapur): INR 75/- (one way)
Toll-2 on NH4 (Anewadi Satara): INR 50/- (one way)
Thoseghar waterfall entry: INR 10/- per person
Thoseghar Car parking: INR 10/-
Camera chargers at Thoseghar: INR 10/- per camera
Lunch at Thoseghar: INR 170/- (Pithle Bhakri: INR 40/-, Bhaji Poli meal: INR 50/-)
Toll-1 on NH4 (Anewadi Satara): INR 50/- (one way)
Toll-2 on NH4 (Khed-shivapur): INR 75/- (one way)

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.
Pritesh Kulkarni 
Pune

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Maharashtra’s valley of flowers: Kaas plateau

              Visit to Kaas plateau was pending in my travel to do list from last few years.  Due to some reasons and priority, it was postponed and finally I was able to visit this majestic beautiful place. It is a heaven for flora/nature lovers and great place to click amazing photos with the huge variety of flowers. This place is also known as Maharashtra’s valley of flowers.

Kaas Plateau
Kaas plateau

About Kaas Plateau:
             The Kaas Plateau also known as the "Kaas Pathar" in Local language (Pathar means Plateau). It is situated in Sahyadri Ghat ranges close to Satara city of Maharashtra. The name Kaas originates from Kaasa tree (Elaeocarpus glandulosus). The leaves of the tree turn red from green as it matures during the month of March. The area of plateau is approximately 1,000 hectare (10 square kilometers).
               The plateau is full of wild flowers during the months of August and September. These flowers bloom on their own and stay for about 2–3 weeks depending on the monsoon and other weather factors.  In July 2012, it has been declared as Biodiversity World heritage site by The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
               Best time to visit Kaas is from August to September. We got information from local experts that some unique flowers (shape and color wise) bloom only in the month of June and July (As per first rain fall) but people love to watch flowers in quantity so everyone prefers August/September month. Flowers which were blooms in June-July can’t be seen in September and wise versa. This place has more than 850 different species of flowers and plants which blooms throughout the year.

            To reach Kaas plateau from Pune is Catch National highway 4 (Mumbai-Bangalore highway) towards Kolhapur/Bangalore direction – Drive for around 104 – 106 km on NH4 – you will able to see Satara city at your right side – Take a right turn to enter in Satara (Sign board are there to guide) – Cross Satara through pawai Naka –After few km drive, you will see Y share junction and tunnel on left side – Do not enter in the tunnel as that road goes towards Sajjangad fort and Thoseghar waterfall – Take right turn before tunnel – Drive 19 - 20 km to reach on Kaas plateau – U need to drive 700-800 meters downhill to park your vehicles.

Travelers for this trip were me, my wife Renuka, my parents and sister Pratima.

Day 0: 14th September 2013 - Pune to Satara (Total Distance traveled: 106 km):
                We wanted to visit Kaas plateau in early morning so we decided to travel to Satara on Saturday. Stay was not a problem for us as my mother was born in Satara. She had spent nearly25 years in Satara before her marriage. We left Pune by 7 PM and reached Satara at around 9.15 PM. We stayed at mother’s best friend’s place.

Day 1: 15th September 2013 – Satara – Kaas - Pune (Total Distance traveled: 224 km):
               We woke up early morning and left the place by 6.15 AM. My mother came in Satara after 12-14 years so she was more excited to see Kaas and her loving city. Soon we joined Kaas Road. Small ghat section offers you a beautiful view of Satara city. After crossing small plateau and beautiful forest, we reached at Kaas. There are few restaurants before Kaas plateau where you can take pit stop for breakfast.

Satara view
Satara view

             We had done online entry booking for Kaas plateau. Forest guard guided us for car parking. You need to walk little bit from parking place to Kaas. We reached there by 7 AM and hardly there were any tourist. Flowers were bloom in huge numbers looked like nature having its own colored carpet. From Main road (tar road), there are walkway paths constructed by forest department with the fencing. You can choose any route and then free to explore the beauty of nature. We choose 2nd pathway on right hand side from Entry gate.

Kaas

Fencing at Kaas
Fencing at Kaas

                 I was busy with my camera and my parents were enjoying the beauty of Kaas. We saw 10 to 15 different species of flower. Mainly we saw flower carpet in Purple, Blue, pink and white colors. At every point we can see different colors and shape of flowers. Few flowers are so small in shape that you might have to use magnifying glass. There are few areas where people are allowed to go inside green field but on mentioned narrow walkway paths. Hardly people were fallowing that rule. I saw small rocky patch with small pond. I went there carefully and capture some nature frames.

Kaas Plateau
Kaas with small pond

Kaas Plateau: Valley of flowers
Kaas Plateau

Kaas and sahyandri
Kaas and sahyandri 

We spend around 4 hours exploring the area. The following is a list of some of the flowers that we found on this plateau.

  1. Exacum Pumilum (Local name: जांभळी चिरायात)
  2. Cyanotis Tuberosa  (Local name: अभाळी)
  3. Tridax Procumbens (Local name: दगडी पाला)
  4. Cassia auriculata (Local name: तारवड)
  5. Alysicarpus belgaumensis (Local name: गुलाबी शेवरा)
  6. Murdannia lanuginose (Local name: अबोलीमा)
  7. Pinda concanensis (Local name: पंद)
  8. Impatiens (Local name: पांढरा तेरडा)
  9. Smithia hirsute / hirsuta (Local name: कवला)
  10. Impatiens oppositifolia
  11. Hitchenia caulina (Local name: चावर)
  12. Pogostemon deccanensis (Local name: जांभळी मंजिरी)
  13. Hypoxis aurea (Local name: सोनतारा)
  14. Pentanema cernuum (Local name: सोनसरी)
  15. Eriocaulon tuberiferum  (Local name: गेंद)
  16. Utricularia purpurensis (Local name: सीतेची आसवे)
  17. Vigna vexillata (Local name: हळुंदा)

I am not expert in flora so maybe I have missed few names in above list.

White flower carpet
White flower carpet



Colors
Kaas

            Here are some Photos taken during my Kaas Visit. I missed a lot of photos and next year I will be back on blog with a lot of flowers photos.





Impatiens oppositifolia
Impatiens oppositifolia








Pogostemon deccanensis (जांभळी मंजिरी )
Pogostemon deccanensis (जांभळी मंजिरी )

Utricularia purpurascens (सीतेची आसवे)
Utricularia purpurascens (सीतेची आसवे)

Smithia hirsute (कवला )
Smithia hirsute (कवला )

            After our nature trail, we were hungry. We went to car parking and then drove down to Kaas Lake which is hardly 1-2 km from Kaas plateau parking. There are 3-4 local restaurants. We had heavy breakfast and then visited Kaas Lake. I was happy and satisfied with this visit. I like this place so much that I have added it in my “Visit every year for photography” travel list. We left Kaas at around 12.30 PM. During our return journey, we saw huge traffic jam and long queues. It is always better to visit Kaas on weekdays or in early morning. We went for our nest destination, Thoseghar waterfall and Sajjangad. I will upload different travel Blog for those destinations.

The general rules to be fallow on Kaas trip:

  1. Abstinence from Smoking and Consumption of Alcohol
  2. Rash driving should be avoided. 
  3. Be responsible and respect Nature
  4. Don’t pick the flowers from Kaas
  5. Take care of plants and flowers while taking photographs
  6. Please park your vehicle in allocated parking area only.
  7. Do not litter forest land and water bodies
  8. Do not through Plastic bags, bottle or wrappers etc.
  9. Inflammable material and Camp fires are prohibited
Forest is Home of plants and wildlife; be a responsible Guest!

My observation and request to other travelers:
  1. Tourists park their vehicle on Kaas Plateau which creates huge traffic problems.
  2. On Kaas, Many places are yet not covered by fencing. People visit such places and then they cut the flowers knowingly or unknowingly. Kindly avoid it.
  3. There are forest officers and volunteer team to help you out. But tourist shout on them rather than helping them.
  4. Many young groups or couple lies down in flowers carpet for photography, Please avoid that as flowers and plants are delicates and we suppose to take care of them.
  5. 1 to 2 areas from Kaas are accessible for tourist (Forest people allowed tourist to cross the fencing to view flowers closely) so please visit that area only and fallow narrow walkways or rock patches. You can take photos close to flowers but without harming them.
  6. After discussion with forest team, we got to know that around 9000 tourist visit the place on weekends. I think they should be strict with some count to maintain the beauty of Kaas.
  7. For news and update about Kaas, visit the website: http://www.kas.ind.in/

Book for Reference during Kaas visit
         Pushppathar Kaas by Dr. Sandeep shotri (Available in Marathi and English language)

Our Expenses:

  • Car Petrol: INR 1800/- (around 21 Lit. at INR 84.11/lit)
  • Toll-1 on NH4 (Khed-shivapur): INR 75/- (one way)
  • Toll-2 on NH4 (Anewadi satara): INR 50/- (one way)
  • Kaas Entry fee: INR 50/- for 5 members
  • Car parking at Kaas: INR 40/- (For Bus its INR 150/-)
  • Camera chargers at Kaas: INR 50 for Normal camera and INR 100/- for DSLR
  • Breakfast at Kaas lake: INR 207/- for 5 members (Egg omelet-Roti: INR 100/-, Misal: INR 45/- and Vada-pav: INR 20/-)
  • Pushppathar kaas book by Dr. Sandeep shotri: INR 250/- (MRP price)
  • Toll-2 on NH4 (Anewadi satara): INR 50/- (one way)
  • Toll-1 on NH4 (Khed-shivapur): INR 75/- (one way)

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.
Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune