Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran.
There’s something about misty mountains which puts me at peace with myself. The mist first enveloped me when I visited Uttarakhand’s Valley of Flowers. My fascination with misty mountains only dawned on me when, a month later, I visited Kaas Plateau in Satara. The snaky roads leading up to plateau gradually revealed a misty mountain top, where you hope the road will finally lead you to. As always, nature never disappoints, and minutes after your steady ascent brings the temperature lower, you are in full view of green pastures speckled with colourful flowers.
As you stand on the road, the 360° view is astonishing. The thick mist allows you to see only a couple of feet ahead of you. When you spot the lone tree that stands firmly rooted to the ground, you can only assume that it’s at the edge of the plateau. The road behind you shows no tracks of your arrival – the mist hides it all. You look ahead and it’s almost impossible to know where the road leads you, let alone catch sight of any people.
With the flowers being in bloom only a few weeks between September and October, the plateau does attract its share of visitors. But that doesn’t steal away from the tranquility of the place. The thick mist that encircles you provides ample solitude.
What enticed me about Kaas Plateau, other than the fact that it was labeled Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers, was that I could complete the journey over just one weekend. From Pune, Satara is about 110 kms away. Local buses ply to and from Satara often, but I would suggest you hire a car that would set you back about Rs 2,000. The journey from Satara to Kaas Plateau will take you about 40 minutes, but the climb to the plateau starts almost immediately after you leave the city, so you’re never left without a picturesque view.
Once you reach the top, leave your car behind and travel the next couple of kms on foot. Within mere minutes, as you tread through the clouds, your clothes and hair will be dandruffed with dew droplets.
And that’s not all that Satara has to offer. You will have to travel about 20 km back towards Satara (from Kaas Plateau) and then head onto Sajjangad Road to visit Thoseghar Falls. After a brief walk from the designated parking area, there are small built-up areas where you have a clear view of the falls.
While the water plunges down most gracefully, what didn’t thrill me, was the man-made constructions. Sure, it was easier to find our way to the falls, but it took away from the experience. I would much rather have climbed up rocks and stone-filled paths to view the falls. Nevertheless, the experience was a memorable one – after all, it’s not every day that you get to see and hear waterfalls in the city.