By Mihir Joshi
Road trips can be tough. They’re hard for adults but they must be even more difficult on babies. Actually wait, they probably aren’t! They get to sit comfortably strapped in their snug car seats, get to pee in their diapers so no worries about finding rest-stops and the food is on demand (if you have a breastfed baby).
Okay, jokes apart. Travelling by road with a baby can be tough if you’re not prepared. Neha, Neil, my parents and I recently drove down the beautiful Kaas Pathar or Kaas Plateau near Satara. My wife Neha, as always had planned everything impeccably and Neil had quite a fun journey both ways. I’ll tell you more about Kaas in a bit but first, here’s what we took.
The most important thing – a good…no…a really, really good baby car seat. DO NOT save money on that. A comfortable car seat is the difference between a fun and safe vacation and a painful one. Good car seats ensure that your babies are snug and comfortable, even for long journeys and most importantly safe in case of any sudden jerks or brakes that can happen in traffic or even on the highway.
Next up. Boiled water and enough of it. You don’t know how the water will be when you travel and it may be okay for you but may not be for your babies. So carry water!
Loads of diapers. If your drive is a long one, ensure that you change your baby’s diaper every three to four hours. Keeping them nice and fresh keeps them happy and cheerful.
Solid food that your baby is comfortable with. Make sure you’re carrying good homemade food for your baby.
And some fun toys you can entertain your kids with in the car.
Apart from this, we also took a lot of clothes for him, including some warm clothes because we had heard that it could get a little cold. It did not. But we took them along as a precaution in any case.
Now, a little about Kaas Pathar. Despite living in Maharashtra, Mumbai to be precise, somehow I had never had the chance to visit here. It is about 25km from Satara and about 280km from Mumbai. It became a part of a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2012! It is known for its seasonal blooms and the place is absolutely stunning. The drive up to the plateau is incredibly picturesque too. Apparently, more than 850 species of flowering plants are reported on the plateau. There are also lovely restaurants on the way down that look over the valley and serve quite good food too. The restaurant we sat at had the most magnificent view you could imagine.
The Maharashtra government has been very systematic about this place and has time slots for entering the part of the plateau that is open to public. I recommend booking in advance from Mumbai and more importantly checking on the bloom season because the flowers are in full bloom for just about a month (in October) or even lesser to be honest. That said, it is worth going and seeing the place in season. I would recommend not doing the whole thing in a day if you’re travelling from Mumbai. Book a hotel in Satara for the night and head to the plateau in the morning. Take the morning slot. The afternoons can get really sunny and hot.
We had a great time on the trip and thanks to all our preparations the ride to Kaas Pathar and back was most enjoyable. If you go, do let me know what you think on social media.
(The writer is a singer and his debut album Mumbai Blues won the GIMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2015. He hosts his own talk show-The MJ Show and does live Hindi commentary for WWE. Views are personal. Follow him on twitter @mihirjoshimusic)