There was so much fog, we could hardly see the road; and we drove the car through it, absolutely point blank with the fog light on. But there was no choice. We had to keep moving. If someone was coming from behind, they would hit us. It was getting dark and we were wet and cold but the kid within us was happy because it had won. Today, the kid had literally walked on clouds!
About Kass Plateau
Kaas plateau is a plateau in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, 22 kms from Satara city and 136 kms from Pune, declared as one of the United Nations World Heritage Site for its historic volcanic formations on its terrain and huge water bodies- beautiful lakes mesmerised with the mountainous and the greenery reflecting on them. In monsoon, Kaas blooms with more than 150 types of grasses, shrubs and flowers.
How to Reach
We took a late night Duronto from Ahmedabad to Pune, so as to reach Pune by 8 AM. We had booked a Zoom Car (a startup that rents good self-drive cars at effective cost) for our journey to Kaas. There are two ways to reach Kaas. You can either go through Tapoli via Mahableswar or through Satara. The former way is longer if you just have a weekend in hand, while Satara is just 118Kms from Pune so you’d reach pretty much in 2 hours (maximum 2.5 hours if you take excessive pee-chai breaks) through NH4 with roads that look like they have cut mountains and made way for themselves. Our aim was to reach Satara by 11:30-12, so we had the rest of the day to our journey.
The best possible option was to stay in Satara as it is just 25 kms away from Kaas. Remembering that it is a very small city and we are on a low budget, we booked two basic rooms in Galaxy Lodge for the 4 of us. It first looked like the ‘Hotel Decent’ from Jab We Met but didn’t actually turn out to be one (if you don’t peep into their Bar). Rooms were clean, spacious and basic.
- ‘Marathi Lunch House’ – really spicy non-veg food (Rs 80 per thali). Or perhaps, find your own veg food in a similar small Dhaba setting to get the real taste of the local cooking.
- On the Way to Kaas: Stop over, walk on the clouds over the plateau, see nature change its colours- sometimes the formations of the mountains or at times to sit peacefully by the side of a huge lake. Click pictures but not too much. Try and grasp the beauty.
- Kaas Plateau and the Lake beyond: We went in Winter so there weren’t enough flowers. The main plateau area has been protected and barbed fenced to protect flowers and natural beauty but the restricted must be explored so we went through several barbed fences crawling on our stomach, dirtying our clothes which soon got washed out through rains, and we took it as a nod from the nature. It was cringe worthy for a lot of visitors around.
- The Road Not Taken: When you leave Satara, you have option to choose between two roads¾ one takes you to Kaas and another to a huge series of slowly moving WindFarms; and Thosegar Waterfalls consisting of 3 big-small waterfalls falling from over 200 feet which makes you feel like a real life slow-mo (called dhab dhaba in Marathi). And unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s poem, you can cover both the places, one on each day. Early morning drive from Satara to these windfarms is amazingly beautiful. By the way, some parts of Bajirao Mastani were shot somewhere here.
Then there are waterfalls. You have to see them from a distance, be patient and enjoy. Do not try to act smart, or else you’ll die. Find a quiet space to meditate or zone out. Speak softly, you are amidst nature.
I can write more but this is the maximum you can read before actually going there. Rest you must explore on your own.
General Tips on How to Convince Parents
- Be thorough in your research before you even propose the plan. You must know kms and hours; and the where-what-why of the place.
- Start with shorter trips, only a few kilometres from home.
- Make ways to periodically keep in touch. Make sure you inform them when you reach and leave. Share photos whenever there’s something interesting. Nothing is more beautiful than you making them feel like they are a part of the journey.
- Get your trippers (travel partners) to meet your parents beforehand.
Travel Websites to Follow:
- Tripadvisor (Ratings and reviews platform for travel places)
- Tripoto, LonelyPlanet: Travel diaries by travellers
- Zostel, Oyo Rooms: Safe, Clean, Low budget stay options across the country
The best thing about reading a travelogue is whether or not you can travel at this moment, it helps make a dream way for the future. I believe low-budget travel should be categorised as a separate genre of travel, just so that it teaches you endearing things about life and going beyond your comfort zone. This is not to undermine the pleasures of luxury but to put enough on the fact that you do not particularly need lots of money to travel or to enjoy a particular journey (unless its Las Vegas or something). At least that’s what I have learnt in my own (limited) experience.
This article was first published in a college magazine where I, as an alumnus, was asked to write about my travel experiences. Pictures within the article are by Malav Naik. That’s how Kaas looked when we went there. The picture in the featured image is from NatureLyrics. That’s how Kaas looks from August to early October. The flowers had not bloomed as much when we went. Check before you go. But it’s beautiful anyway!