Kas Pathar - i.e. the Kas Plateau is situated atop the Sahyadris near Satara. This plateau is known for its unique biosphere of the high hill plateaus and grasslands. Towards the end of the rains in September, the plateau comes to life with various types of flowers that carpet the floor of the plateau. According to a crumbling forest department board at the site, 150+ types of flower shrubs, grasses, orchids bloom here for a 3-4 week period. Many of these flowers are animal (insect) eaters!!
The Kas Lake is a bowl carved out of the mountains just south of the Kas Plateau. About 30 kms further south of the Kas lake are the backwaters of the Koyna Project. We visited the Kas plateau last weekend and enjoyed the serenity of this place. Let the crowds descend on MahaB, and leave Kas for the serious nature lovers. The Nisarga Organic Farm run by the Shindes of Satara grows more than 30 varieties of medicinal plants, including camphor tulsi, sarpagandha, cardamom, stevia, insulin, etc. Great location, overlooking the backwaters.
I would rate this location to be better than Lavasa, but hope no "city" comes up here. Next time we'll visit it when the flowers are in bloom and get some photos of our own, meanwhile enjoy these stolen from contributors on the web.
Special biospheres are always interesting, leaving one wondering how just a few square kilometers can have a very different type of vegetation. There are reportedly, @ 459 unique bio-sphere's in the world. We saw one in full bloom around the Cape of Good Hope a few years ago - "Cape West Coast BioSpehere", a world heritage site. This bio-sphere is the result of this unique location, caressed by the mixture of cold Atlantic winds and the warm Indian Ocean currents.
Does anybody know why the Kas Biosphere is unique? Here's an explanation from a nomination to UNESCO for world heritage status for the Western Ghats:
"The windward western slopes of the region receive more than 2,500 mm of rainfall annually, particularly during south-west monsoon (June-September). Three large rivers, the Godavari, Koyna and Krishna carry the rainfall from the monsoon rains eastward into the drier Deccan Plateau. The mountain range ascends abruptly on the western side from near sea level to the crest line and descends more gradually to 500 m on the Deccan plateau.
The deeply dissected terrain produces localized variations in rainfall and habitat types and creates Hotspots of endemism by limiting species distribution. The presence of numerous barren rocky lateritic plateaus locally called sadas is the unique feature of the Sahyadri. These plateaus possess very characteristic herbaceous ephemeral vegetation.
The Kas Plateau is one of the important sadas located in Satara district, at an elevation of around 1,213 m. The rainfall received is between 2,000 and 2,500 mm annually. Of the total area of 1,792 hectares under the Kas plateau, 1,142 hectares is recorded as Government Forest. "