Friday, August 26, 2016

Experience of Kaas Plateau in Mumbai

The faint greens and pinks of the wild at Pandavkheda 
Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho to puri kaayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai...
(If you really want something, the universe tries to get it for you)
Wondering why I started with this famous dialogue of SRK?


Wilderness and its charms! Can you spot the woolly caterpillars?
Well, last year I planned the trip to Kaas Plateau twice during this time of the year and the plans didn’t pan out. This year I had no time to even plan the trip and half the people I know were going there this weekend or are planning to visit Kaas next weekend. Wild flowers, carpeted earth, greens and blues and purples and I would none of that for at least another year or two. I was kind of sad till the last weekend but not anymore! The universe got me Kaas or something similar in Mumbai! We often fail to see things that are there right in our backyard and I certainly felt like this after my weekend experience.


Where there are flowers there are butterflies
Last weekend I decided to visit Sanjay Gandhi National Park after ages. A small left turn on the busy western express highway near Borivali, and it is like you have left Mumbai far behind. A bit of travelling in the concrete jungle and then wilderness takes over your mind. Dense forest, tree canopies and hidden pristine streams lead you to a set of 3rd century CE caves – Kanheri Caves and that is where I was up for a pleasant surprise. 


There are big ones and then there are tiny flowers
As you go up crossing the levels of caves you see the green overgrowth on the caves turning pink and at the 3rd level (the topmost level) of the caves the hill almost becomes like plateau and is layered with purple, pink and blue balsams (Impatiens). The whole are seems like a carpet woven by nature – green throughout and designed with colourful floral patterns. 


So many of these around near Kanheri Caves
Windy mountain top, light showers yet butterflies fluttering around in scores over the wildflowers, occasionally resting on some nearby shrub which is laden with bright yellow flowers. You can see plenty of woolly bear caterpillars languidly moving around the wet short grass and be surprised by the popping antennas of red crabs scurrying away.


At both the sites you can see arrays of pink and purple balsams
That was just one day. Then I visited the lesser known Pandavkheda area of Kharghar, Mumbai. Long, easy hike from the driving range just behind the golf course and you are in constant company or pink and yellow grass flowers. As and how the height changes and if you are lucky, you can spot many exotic tropical flowers in this region. 


Do you notice wildflowers? 
Purple bell flowers and Purpurascens were pretty much everywhere but then I spotted a patch of Glory Lilies or Flame Lilies – quirky, beautiful, poisonous flame like flowers and I knew I have had my mini Kaas like experience this weekend.


One of the most exotic tropical wildflowers - Glory Lily.  Did you know Glory lily, though poisonous, is used in a lot of medicines and is the state flower of Tamil Nadu and National Flower of Zimbabwe? 
True, Kaas is vast and more overwhelming visually, but this weekend made me realize Mumbai is no less. If my words were not enough, these pictures must have definitely given you a glimpse of the green Mumbai I saw during my last weekend trail!


The greens and the pinks of a different sort this time.
Have you experienced something amazing like this in some local area? Do let me know in the comments below.

P.S. - About Kaas Plateau
Kaas Plateau in Maharashtra is bio diversity hotspot which is called as the valley of flowers of the south. Located at a distance of 25km from Satara – 280km from Mumbai, this plateau is covered with about 500+ species of flowering plants in full bloom during the month of August and September every year. This area also became a UNESCO World Heritage Site some years back.

Let the grass bloom, for it is its season to glow

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21 comments:

  1. Excellent pics..Nice to know abt this place in Mumbai

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  2. Wonderful pictures...I, too, clicked the beautiful, blue wildflower on one of my trips... :-)

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    1. Hey Maniparna! Thanks a ton and yay glad people admire wild flowers :)

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  3. It is a feast to eyes. Great captures all.

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  4. I too have been planning Kaas since last few years and somehow not able to visit. Will definitely plan a visit to SGNP to experience this.

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    1. Meghana go to SNJP during rains. You will love it :)

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  5. I love the national park. There is literally so much to explore inside. Great article.

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    1. Totally agree it is huge and there is so much to explore! Glad you liked the article. Thanks :)

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    2. SGNP! Ah an amazing place to go for trekking and also the only place in Mumbai(I feel) where you can appreciate the natural beauty of mother earth. And the feeling when you dip yourself in the streams, it's really refreshing. SGNP, the place where you can recharge yourself. Great Article Vaisakhi! Keeps me updated about the unknown places in India and its associated geological feature.:)

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    3. Thank you so much Letizia. And no doubt SGNP helps you recharge yourself but trust me when i tell you this...there are so many places in Mumbai like SGNP where you can get really close to nature :)

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    4. Name those places please! It would be nice to visit these places during the coming 15 days of vacation.
      P.S:- If you ever plan to go to Kaas Plateau, please take me there with you! ^_^

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    5. Hey Letizia you can always go to Karnala, Karjat - Kondala Caves, Kharghar - Pandavkheda and Vasai - Tumgareshwar, these are places I have been to :)
      And Kaas plan! Why not, if it happens we can go together :)

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    6. Thank you Vaisakhi! Also looking forward to the Kaas plan!Yay! Don't forget I tag along! 😂 :)

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  6. So so so happy to see this unique and colourful post:) like they say explore your own backyard! What a treat to the eyes Vish! I am sure a lot of people didn't know about this. Beautiful!

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    1. Glad you liked the post Divsi. Thanks :D and so true, people dont even know how beautiful some areas of Mumbai are!

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