Trip to Kaas is not just the miles and miles of brilliant bloom; it is also the waterfalls of Thoseghar and the majestic windmill farms of Chalkewadi
I wish I had gone to Kaas Plateau years ago with the kids. I think of this when I walk on the plateau, marvelling at the 800 different species of flowers. Kaas is 350 m high, and we are with nature photographers Sachin Rane and Ujjwal who tell us more about the orchids, the Mickey Mouse flower and the manjari that can be spotted here. They explain to the kids how, because Satara is made up of lava, there is low nitrogen in the soil and the flora here has to be insectivorous (the insects provide the much-needed nitrogen for the plant) to thrive. I've just learnt in one shining moment all of that boring geography that I never understood, and I now ram down the ears of my kids the difference between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
But the trip to Kaas is not just the miles and miles of brilliant bloom; it is also the waterfalls of Thoseghar and the majestic windmill farms of Chalkewadi. A mere five-hour drive away from Mumbai and we breathe mountain air, see a whole set of birds (a rare eagle, the shrike, the laughing dove, skylarks), palm-sized butterflies and foot-long moths.
We reach Satara in less than three hours. We set off almost immediately to see Maharashtra's highest waterfall. Located 200 steps down, we gasp at the sight. The stony mountain range is high above us and two massive waterfalls are thundering down, releasing a spray that looks like a mist cloud. Then, before the light fades, we head to the windmill farms in Chalkewadi. The route is so picturesque that we simply walk into clouds and gasp at the expanse of sky. Anything I recount about the place will belittle its beauty.
It is a must-do for schools if they can organise overnight trips. There are three other 10-year-olds in the group. At no point did I hear the word "bored". This is how one ought to teach geography.
Where: Kaas Plateau, Satara.
Best for: Boys and girls of all ages.
How to reach: We went with a group via road. But there are buses to Kaas, as well as trains to Satara from where you can travel by hiring a vehicle to Kaas Plateau.
Timings: Daily, 9 am to 7 pm. Budget: Entry fee of `100 per head. Do carry ID proof.
Food: Carry food.
Water: Carry water.
Rest Room facilities: Yes, but only at the different gates.
Where else to go: Head to Kaas lake and the Bhambavli Vajrai Waterfalls, go boating at Bamnoli and trek up to Vasota Fort.
Parent rating: 4
Kids' rating: 4
What's Good: Well-informed experts who engage with children across age groups. There are also UNESCO buses that ply after a point, reducing carbon emission, and staff to ensure tourists don't trample over the flora.
What's Not So Good: That people litter. Also, be prepared to walk and explore.
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