Tourists at the famous Kaas Plateau in Satara are returning disappointed, claiming that they didn’t get to see as many flowers as they had expected. Vishnu Kirdat, head of Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC), said, “Every year, the Kaas Plateau opens for the public by the end of July. This year, however, we opened it for the visitors on September 1, as only 20 per cent of the total flowers had bloomed on the plateau. However, people are being misguided on the social media with old photos of flowers in full bloom and, thus, there has been a rush of visitors. The flowers will bloom completely by Dussehra but by that time the grass will be longer. So, flowers spotting will be difficult.”
Kirdat added that even the official website of the Kaas Plateau, run by JFMC, mentions that the full bloom is still away. Despite this, visitors have been thronging the site, especially during weekends. Entry fee is Rs 100 per person on all days and only 3,000 visitors are allowed to visit in a day. While the total revenue collection on Saturday was Rs 3.5 lakh, it was Rs 5 lakh on Sunday.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee had recognised Kaas Plateau as a heritage site in 2012. Since then, thousands of tourists, nature enthusiasts, researchers and wild flower lovers from around the world have visited it.
Kaas Plateau is home to around 350 flowering plants, including species listed as ‘rare, endemic and threatened’ by the Botanical Survey of India and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
City-based Kalpesh Mali, who had visited the plateau with friends last weekend, said, “Someone had posted a photo of Kaas on Facebook, in which the plateau looked breathtakingly beautiful. So, we planned a trip. However, upon reaching there, we discovered that there were hardly any flowers.”
Hemant Thite, who runs a restaurant in Pune, was planning to take his family to Kaas this weekend but later cancelled. “My local contacts in the city told me that the flowers are very less currently and there won’t be much to see. So, I dropped the plan,” he said.
Akshay Gaekwad, who organises tours across the country through his travel firm Audacious Hikers, said, “We organise tours to Kaas every year. Generally, the flowers bloom right after the monsoon season so we plan tours to the plateau between September and November. I had gone to Kaas on Tuesday and saw that the flowers haven’t fully bloomed. In another 10-12 days, they will reach full bloom. So, we will organise this year’s tour on October 1. We have already received nearly 50 inquiries.”