Kaas Pathar or Kaas Plateau, also known as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ in the state of Maharashtra is now an immensely popular tourist destination. Thanks to social media, and numerous travel blogs, like mine featuring this destination with fascinating photographs attracting people from every corner. These days almost every state has its own Valley of Flowers, in previous days the one that was known to all was that of the Uttrakhand. I stick to my state and share my 2019 experience of visiting Kass Pathar – The Valley of Flowers.
This is mostly a pictorial post with very little words. My previous post on Kaas plateau visited a few years back says all about this place. (Read my previous post on Kaas plateau.)
Here I will mention the changes and the new systems introduced, along with my journey.
Again I choose the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi to visit Kaas hoping a crowd-free trip. Completing all the religious rituals at home early, we started at around 10 in the morning.
Roads were mostly congestion-free and when we were on the highways nearing Satara, it was the time for the Lord to arrive at various ‘Mandaps’. (Read more about Ganesh Chaturthi celebration.)
Tractors and trucks filled with enthusiasts carrying the idol in between and heading towards respective ‘Mandaps’ became a common sight. This is another reason I love to travel on this day especially towards Satara.
The day started with rain and there were frequent squalls at regular intervals.
As we were meandering through the gentle slopes towards Kaas, the stunning vistas delighted us.
Then there were the “host of golden” flowers “fluttering and dancing in the breeze”. My every visit to Kaas reminds me of the Daffodils poem by William Wordsworth.
We were yet to reach our destination but the bright and beautiful sight of these pretty blooms embraced us in a warm welcoming gesture. This took our expectation to the highest level.
The clouds and the mists were taking over, the more and more we were approaching the plateau. It was becoming difficult to drive as the visibility was minimised to just a few meters.
We finally made to the checkpoint and purchased the tickets (Rs 100 per adult, Senior citizens and children below 12 are free). We were asked to go to the parking and park our vehicle and get into the bus operated by the Kaas plateau authority (Rs 10 per ticket, to and fro.) which would take us to the Valley of Flowers.
This was a new facility that has been introduced sighting the huge number of visitors. Thanks to our chosen date of visit, it was almost crowd-free. While in other days, during the flowering season it is even difficult to reach the ticket counter with the narrow roads blocked by hundreds of vehicles.
The squalls continued with the mist and it was difficult to see anything around. I could sense that the open areas on either side of the roads have been fenced and there are designated numbered gates to enter the flowering area.
The defined walkways of bricks have been laid in between so as to prevent trampling of the bushes by the enthusiastic visitors. Sign-boards carrying warning signs are placed everywhere declaring huge fines for committing any nuisance.
As we entered a gate the mist mistified and it was so dense that we could not even see the walkway clearly. The weather remained the same and at times worsened, ending all our hopes to explore further.
The super heavy, continued deluge this monsoon was the reason for limited to very less flowering this year. The guards consoled saying that there is not much to see as there are no many flowers this year due to the rain so don’t be disheartened.
We were left with no other option but to return. We boarded the bus again to reach the parking area where we left our vehicle. Then we gradually descended the narrow road in the prevailing bad weather to reach Satara.
It was the prime time for the Ganapati idols to reach the Mandaps and we were the witness to the welcoming ritual of the Lord for the ten days long festivities. (Read about Ganapati festival which is the harbinger of all festivities in India.) It was a day well spent in the serenity of nature yet not far from the crowd.