|The faint greens and pinks of the wild at Pandavkheda|
(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. No trave of the concrete jungle and 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.
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
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.
|There are big ones and then there are tiny flowers|
|So many of these around near Kanheri Caves|
|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.
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.
|Do you notice wildflowers?|
|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 the green Mumbai I saw during my last weekend trails!
|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.