Mid of August, 2009, it was just 11am in the morning, the continuous calls of Malabar Lark and hovering lone Falcon were diverting my attention from the yellow coloured impatiens dalzelli (Pivla Terda), whom I was keen to capture in my recently bought Prosumer camera. It was a point of time; I had to make some tough decision on what to photograph on priority. On both side of the road there were plenty of birds, insects, reptiles and tiny tiny flowers, all ready to been posed. And I decided to capture flowers on priority and could seize at least 45 species of wildflowers, which are endemic to the Western Ghats Complex, in the Crestline of Sahyadri – the outer spur of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, Kas.
At altitude of 1222 Mtrs apprx (MSL), this world is called as Maharashtra`s own `Valley of Flowers'. The lateritic plain of Kas, a very thin layered soil typed platue, consisting of mainly ephemerals, herbs, bulbous, tuberous plants and orchids, is lately considered as famous tourist destination by floral enthuse. Kas has the advantage of being in the proximity of Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, accorded for highest priority for wildlife conservation by Wildlife Institute of India, and its remoteness – but perhaps no more now, since this place has became more of picnic spot for weekenders.
Kas is well documented by those studying flora of Western Ghats and apprx 850 species have been documented so far by academics, out of which apprx 40 plants of these floral species are listed in Red data.
Including my favourite Ceropegia species, Begonias, Dipcadis, Habenarias, Utricularias, rare Seshagiria Sahyadrica & Frerea Indica are reported to have been observed here.
Kas is usually overcrowded during the conclusion of monsoon, hence naturalists have preferred to visit this place during the weekdays and it is acceptable statement that weekdays are more productive days here, if compared to weekends.
To observe the richness of this botanical hot spot, an event is scheduled on 29th September (weekdays), of which details are furnished herewith –
This trip is actually a plain and slight downhill walk, literally 10-12 Kms. The Kas Flora Walk is self observe and self identify oriented programme. Please note that none among the above listed sightings are guaranteed.
Remember, it is remote area outing; hence Participants would have to bring extra cloths (if it rained heavily), and some packed food (snacks/biscuits and sweets/toffees). Wear camouflaged, full sleeves T-shirt/Shirt and Cargo/Denim (no three-forth and no short pyjama) with good gripped trekking shoe.
This trip is based on using the public transport and expenses would be at actual, with nominal trip fee (expected to be around Rs. 800-1000 apprx), which include the travel charges from Thane to Kas and back. Those willing to participate must send a confirmation SMS/Call to 9890255616 with their name and details of travelling. Don't forget to carry rain cover (for you and your camera/rucksack), mosquito repellent and umbrella. Smoking during the trek would be deemed as an offence.
The event is open for those who are interested in knowing the floral bio-diversity. The terminology (communication of explaining), might be scientific/technical, participants are requested to please make a note of it.
28th September 2011 (Wednesday)
Reach Thane station at 09.00 PM
State Transport bus for Satara at 10.00PM
29th September, 2011 (Thursday)
Reach Satara Bus Depot at 04.00 AM
Relax at Depot with breakfast and hot cup of tea
First Bus for Kas (ènroute to Bamnoli) from Satata Bus Depot at 06.00 AM
Reaching Kas Platue (Atali) at 07.30AM
Covering apprx 10 Kms of plain/downhill walk in 8 Hours
Catching the last bus from Kas village for Satara at 04.00PM
Reaching Satara ST Bus Depot till 05.30 PM
Catching the Mumbai/Thane bound ST Bus depot 06.00PM
Reaching Thane/Mumbai till 12.00 AM, which would be end of journey
Those willing to join from Pune/Satara can meet us at 05.00AM (29th September) at Satara Bus Depot and would bear only, Satara to Kas and back, local travel expenses and nominal trip fee. Participants are also requested to make a note that the observation/photography could only be made of the roadside flora only, walking/cramping on the flowerbed would be a clear no-no and plucking of live flowers would be dealt with strict and stern action. Those using high-end DSLR cameras are requested to carry macro lens only. The field guide would be available with the organiser and could be referred periodically during the trip.