A short drive from Pune in Maharashtra lies Paradise. For me, living in Mumbai, it was always so close and yet so far. Because Paradise shows itself only for a brief spell of time – a month in a year. Usually this is from the start of September to early October, after the monsoon has made its last retreat. But when exactly, is never sure. And then, you may hit the month right but the particular day that you get there might be blown over by wind or rain or a swarm of dark menacing clouds. So, only the Gods decide whether you see it or not. Its paradise after all!
After years of waiting for the right time, finally everything fell in place and I got lucky. I had a work trip planned in Pune in the first week of October and the next day was a national holiday. I rang up the local administration to ask if the timing was right. They said that in fact, the monsoon had retreated late so it was only in the last week of September that the plateau had opened up. I took the chance and booked my visit slot. And left Pune just before dawn. I reached Kaas Plateau by 730am.
And there, spread out in front of me were magical carpets of different hues.
Only a few people wandering about, in stunned awe, on carefully marked walking paths. The guide led me along these, telling me the names of the wildflowers, their pattern of blooming…“this one here blooms only at 12 noon so we call it the 12 o clock flower” and “this one here are few now but every 12 years, the plateau is covered in them”. I listened to the names. But mostly I just soaked in the colors, the smells and the glistening morning sounds.
The Kaas Plateau is a UNESCO World Heritage site, takes in only a stipulated number of visitors each day, and has temperamental weather, The wildflowers bloom only after the rains stop and that too for less a month. So here is some advice on how to plan for the visit. The first thing to do is to closely monitor this site https://www.kas.ind.in/. It is run by local committees and they give real time updates on days of opening. They also have super helpful people you can call and ask for more advice. If possible go on a weekday. On the weekend or national holiday, make sure you reach there as soon as the park opens. You will get a couple of glorious, quiet hours before the crowds come in. This place is very popular with locals who seize the chance when they can. Yes, everyone wants a piece of Paradise.