For the festival holidays, our family of four was headed to Satara to spend a few days at our farmhouse. We first headed to Pune and booked a highly-rated cab from Mumbai to Pune, where my cousins and their children joined us in our minivan. From there we headed towards Satara. From Pune, it is roughly a drive of 2.5 hours, which can go up to 4 hours if you stop for food and fuel.
We reached Satara around noon. I was revisiting my extended family after almost a decade and the children were exploring this part of the state for the first time. So, a little sightseeing of the town was a must. You can also book a direct cab from Mumbai to Satara with a good driver and keep the car with you for the city sightseeing.
Our first stop was the Natraj Mandir (Temple). Also known as the Uttara Chidambaram Temple, this religious site is built like a typical Dravidian-style temple with colorful gopurams and figurines on its façade. Besides being a religious site, this structure is also regarded as a magnificent piece of ancient architecture. The temple was just about to close for visitors and we managed to take a quick tour.
There are plenty of museums in Satara city for those who wish to explore the history of this erstwhile state capital. In fact, you could spend an entire weekend just museum hopping!
As we were unwinding at our farmhouse, we planned a trip to the famous Kaas Plateau: a place that was a childhood favorite. Known as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ among tourists, this vast plateau is cherished for its floral beauty. Every year post monsoon till winter, this plateau region is covered in motley colors from the fresh blossoms of the season.
Next morning while the adults rested at home, I took the children for a ‘playdate’ to the Kaas Plateau.
A piece of paradise
The drive of 20 Km from our farmhouse to the valley area was another delightful adventure. As we turned on the hairpin bends and passed the lush countryside, the kids cheered in awe, wonder, and excitement. We made a little detour and drove along the Chalkewadi Windmill Farms; one of the largest wind energy projects in Asia. The huge windmills against the green fields made for a perfect photo frame.
I have always found it fascinating how children admire nature. While we have the right words to describe the beauty of a place, the younger ones have the perfect actions to say it all. The moment we reached the grasslands and caught a glimpse of the yellow, pink, and purple, interspersed with green, the children started running to and fro. I could sense the freedom that they felt being under the open sky, without any limitations to run wild and smell the nature; a sight they had never seen or would they ever experience in a city. It was indeed the ultimate treat for the eyes and the soul. The horizon was as clear as it could be, with few trees to block the view. Most of the plants, shrubs, and bushes are knee-high, allowing you to see as far as your sight goes.
As the morning brightened under the autumn sun, smaller groups of tourists started flocking in. If you truly want to enjoy the serenity of Kaas Plateau, it is best to visit the valley early in the day, to avoid the rush of tourists and enjoy the dew-washed blooms.
We found a shaded place under a tree where we had our picnic lunch, followed by a book-reading session. I was pleasantly surprised to see them not miss their favorite devices and enjoy the natural environment.
The wildflowers, rolling meadows, the bright sunny day, and happy kids, collectively made for a heavenly atmosphere.