Saturday, July 23, 2016

Kaas, Satara (The Plateau of Flowers) - September, 2016 (2 Batches) 9th to 11th Sep'16 and 23rd & 25th Sep'16

Nature India announces the much awaited and the most popular trip to Kaas Plateau, Satara- The Plateau of Flowers.....There will be 2 batches to start with...... 1st batch from 9th to 11th Sep'16 & 2nd batch from 23rd to 25th Sep'16  .... the bookings are on  (For knowing complete details, like Itinerary, Charges, Logistics etc... you will have to see the details at the end.)


Important Notice: The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has recently included Kaas Plateau of flowers (near Satara, in Maharashtra) in the list of World Natural Heritage sites. However, In recent years the Popularity of Kaas has increased many folds and the increase in numbers of tourists have resulted in a direct or indirect impact on its bio-diversity.  The lack of proper guidelines and limited patrolling by the forest department is causing a tremendous stress to this fragile ecosystem.  Without any proper regulation and control, Kaas has unfortunately turned into a picnic spot, with rowdy tourists plucking and trampling flowers, parking vehicles on the plateau, littering garbage and creating a mess. .... Hence we propose the following guidelines to be followed when visiting Kaas. Please take a note that, those of you who are interested to travel with  Nature India to Kaas Plateau, these guidelines will be implemented and binding on all of us. Kindly register, only if you agree on these guidelines.

Have a look at this blog by our participants in Sept. 2012, to know how we conduct the tour (This was also published in the English daily newspaper "Mumbai Mirror"). 

There are some places in Maharashtra, where you will feel blessed. One such place is Kaas Plateau, Satara. This "Out of the world" place deserves to be visited every year in the month of September to witness not only the amazing carpets & diversity of wild flowers, but also the serene atmosphere that mesmerizes one's soul.....

Sure, you all must have heard about “Valley of flowers” in Himalayas where hundreds of varieties of wild flowers of all colours bloom in August – September every year….where the valley transforms into no less than a “Heaven” ……hundreds of visitors toil several kms to reach this valley and to experience the bliss.

However, not many know that a similar (though, probably not as majestic as the Himalayan site) place exists in Maharashtra…..its a “Plateau of flowers”….. famously known as “Kaas plateau” situated approx. 25 kms from Satara city and is now also declared by UNESCO as one of the World's Natural heritage site.

The lateritic plateau of Kaas becomes home to millions of tiny flowers in late monsoons. The whole spectacle is beyond words. More than 500 varieties of wild flowers, herbs, orchids, shrubs, insectivorous plants etc. can be seen here in Aug and Sep (Best time is 1st to 30th September)…..depending on monsoon. This plateau overlooks the lush evergreen forests that serves as a water catchment area of Koyna Dam and which is recently declared as “Sahyadri Tiger reserve” ……….

In monsoon the whole area transforms into an unbelievable carpets of (Tiny) flowers like yellow carpets of Smithia and Sonki flowers, Pink carpets of Balsam, Purple carpets of Karvi etc….apart from a wide variety of different species of wild flowers. While the top plateau is adorned with these carpets, the Ghat road that leads to the Plateau are full of flower diversity which includes Ipomeas, Vigna vexillata, Impatiens, Buckwheat, Glory Lilies, Chlorophytum and several interesting herbs and shrubs which should not me missed. However, most flowers in Kaas are minute.

There are flowers which have fascinating pollination methods, while some have unique shapes......some are Rare and endangered, while some have magnificent colours...... Anyone going to Kaas, should not just see the carpets, but also not leave an opportunity to see this diversity...... This is the reason why Nature India organizes a 3 day trip to Kaas and try to change the perspective of looking at the amazing world on wild flowers.

It is a dream destination not only for avid botanists but also for those who appreciate nature. These carpets change colours almost every week depending on the dominant flowers during that time.

The place is also unique forming a typical "table top" landscape where you can see the red patches of laterite rocks typically called ‘Sadaa’ in Marathi.

Thoseghar Waterfalls:
Thoseghar is situated in Satara District with most enchanting natural surroundings, along with beautiful views of windmills at nearby Chalkewadi. During the Monsoon season Thoseghar is always a prime attraction for the people. Thoseghar is famous for its high Waterfalls that are attractive and create a loud noise in the calm nature. These waterfalls are also accompanied by a clean lake, dark woods and massive hilly terrain. The main waterfall is about 115 mts in height, however, one can only get a glimpse from a distance.

From the parking space, the waterfalls are a few minutes walk, through well wooded countryside. The falls are situated in a steep U shaped valley, with the main falls at the apex of the 'U' and smaller falls on one side of the 'U'. On the other side, a viewing platform has been created for observers to enjoy this wonderful display of nature.

You can see a video clip of this marvelous waterfall.
Bird Life: Though our focus is always on the flowers of Kaas plateau, we wont be missing out on the birdlife which abounds here with some good sightings expected of Crested Buntings, Malabar Crested Larks, Oriental White-eyes, Bonelli’s Eagle. It is a heaven for Macro photography too.

Nature India once again brings you their signature tour of Kaas Plateau, Satara that   is meticulously planned and combines learning, sensitivity and also loads of fun. Our passionate resource persons will make your visit to this amazing place a trip to remember. Please find the details below.

For trip reports by other  Nature India participants, click here.
Complete Trip Details
Though the trip will be focused on watching the flora and to learn more about them, we would also not miss the other fauna such as birds, butterflies and amphibians that are found in plenty there….

Batch 1: 9th Sep, 2016 morning 6.30 am to 11th Sep, 2016 eve 10.00 pm (Friday to Sunday)

Batch 2: 23rd Sep, 2016 morning 6.30 am to 25th Sep, 2016 eve 10.00 pm (Friday to Sunday)

Resource persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & Mrs.Sweedle Cerejo-Shivkar

Mode of Travel : By AC Minibus (27 seater) from Mumbai (considering the extensive travel to cover the area and also the to and fro travel from Hotel to the Plateau everyday)

Rough Itinerary:
1) Friday (Day 1) : Depart for Kaas, Satara from Bandra (E) at 6.30 am…..Breakfast on the way (In Vashi  @ 07:30 hrs).....reach by around 1.30 pm- Check in Hotel – Lunch – Proceed to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau.... return by 7 pm...Stay in Hotel Suruban

2) Saturday (Day 2) : Start early morning to the plateau to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau .... lunch ....  proceed to the Ghat to watch the species that grow on the slopes – return back at 7 pm.... Stay in Hotel Suruban

3) Sunday (Day 3) : Check-out from hotel and start early for a visit to Thoseghar Waterfalls to enjoy the grandeur of monsoon and Chalkewadi Plateau......Lunch on the way and depart for Mumbai – reach Bandra (E) by 10.00 pm (No Dinner).

Trip Charges (for both batches): Rs.7200/-
Includes Stay at Hotel Suruban in Satara on a twin sharing basis in Non AC rooms, Travel by AC minibus (27 seater), Entry fees, parking charges, veg meals, Articles on Kaas and Wild flowers, on board snacks and Mineral water…….

Age limit: 10 to 65 years....this trip involves extensive travel time (6 hrs from Mumbai to Satara) and also getting in and out of bus several times....apart from long walking trail on the plateau.

This does not include any charges other then the above... the camera charges (As per the equipment) have to be borne by the respective participants.

Please be prepared for long walks to reach the plateau...

Important Note: Due to huge influx of tourists in Kaas, the forest dept. have imposed certain regulations and restrictions from last year and these will be intensified this year. Hence request all to be prepared for any sudden restrictions and hike in fees.... and co-operate with us.

Mode of Payment
Registration: You can register by sending a non-refundable advance of Rs.4500/- and a mail to Your seats will be confirmed only after our registration confirmation by return email only..... the remaining amount will be collected in the bus on the day of travel.

Stay Arrangement: Hotel "Suruban"….. an absolute basic hotel with simple touch, located away from the hustle & bustle of city. The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis in non AC rooms. The cottages are very simple but spacious & clean with lovely Garden and as per our budget. 

Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c : (Please call Mandar@ 9930318665 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.4500/- to the following address

Name: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar
Address: Flat No.2, Ground Floor, Blossom CHSL, Below Shantighan Hospital, LM Road, Kandarpada, Dahisar-West, Mumbai - 400068.

Please Note:
1) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis.
2) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 4500/- is strictly non-refunadable
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) Plucking flowers or collecting specimens is strictly not allowed in our tours
5) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please reply to us, in case you need any clarifications …..

For any other queries we are available on  9820455713 / 9869071091 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 

Click here to view some images from this amazing place…….
Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

Some Memories of Nature India tours

Saturday, July 16, 2016

2nd Batch-GOA - Romance with Birds (17th to 20th Nov, 2016)

This is the 2nd batch as our popular Goa Birding trip gets full within hours of announcing :-), those who missed the 1st batch or if those dates are not suitable, please go through these dates and details :- )

Date: 17th November, 2016, 7.30 am to 20th November, 2016 eve 7.00 pm (Travel days excluded). The bookings for the Meticulously planned Goa bird-watching trip are on… your seats now (see the complete details at the end of this blog).....Birdwatching in one of the India's greatest birding hot-spots with Nature India.

GOA - Romance with Birds
It is now well-known that more foreign birdwatchers visit Goa than Indians….. The fact is, what others are already experiencing, we as Indians have failed to realize the potential of Goa as a bird-watching destination. While we looked upon Goa only as a general tourist destination, the British Birdwatchers have been enjoying over 450 species of birds found here.... Infact, it is a great surprise for many that Goa's growing romance with Foreign birdwatchers is what is building birding awareness in this area.

See some of previous trip Images - (Please copy below links in new page address bar)

Birding in Goa
Goa is a former Portuguese enclave, now India’s smallest state, variously known as "Rome of the East", "Tourist Paradise" and "Pearl of the Orient", the state of Goa is located in the Konkan region along the west coast of peninsular India, the Arabian Sea forming its 110km coastline. It has long been a popular destination for birders, enticed by the diversity of birdlife and remarkable ease of birding.

The low-lying coastal plain with its mangroves-lined estuaries and marshes, the central dry, rocky plateau of scrub and savannah grassland, and the undulating forested interior along with the close proximity to the Sahyadri Range of the Western Ghats which run the length of its eastern boundary less than 70km away, has resulted in a rapid variation in habitat across Goa’s length & breadth that is reflected in the significant diversity of species found within its borders.

Goa has an impressive birdlist of over 450 species, including 17 of the 28 species endemic or near-endemic to the Western Ghats. A small area, combined with a well-developed infrastructure, makes it possible for the most productive of Goa’s birding localities to be thoroughly covered within a short time frame without the need of lengthy travel and given a few days it is possible to reach a list of 140-150 comprising more widespread Indian species, regional endemics, and wintering migrants.

Bird Watching In Goa is a great way to unwind and forget the worries of the world. Goa teems with bird life of all kinds, from nesting to aquatic and migratory. Whether you tour the lakes of Goa, or enjoy a trek through the Western Ghats, Goa promises to make your trip a memorable one.

Few of the tourists know that one third of Goa is covered with rich forest and that, it is one of the greatest reservoirs of biodiversity in the world. The wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are represented by Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (also called Mollem WLS)Cotigao Wildlife SanctuaryDr.Salim Ali Wildlife SanctuaryBondla Wildlife Sanctuaryand the Mandovi Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary. Each of these wildlife sanctuaries supports a rich flora and fauna

Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary – Tambdi Surla & Mollem

The entire stretch of the Western Ghats that falls within Goa’s boundaries is protected in a series of interconnecting wildlife sanctuaries, of which the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary is the largest. With an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary provides a degree of security to a considerable tract of deciduous and evergreen forests in the gently undulating terrain of the foothills of the Sahyadris. This area was first known as Mollem Game Sanctuary. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and renamed as Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary. The core area of the sanctuary covering 107 square kilometers (41.3 sq mi) was notified as Mollem National Park in 1978.

The most accessible parts of the sanctuary are Tambdi Surla, and Mollem. Densities deep inside the forest can appear low, however this is the region where many of Goa’s most sought-after species can be found, such as Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, Black-backed Dwarfand Blue-eared Kingfishers, White-bellied Woodpecker, Great Pied and Malabar Pied Hornbills, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Malabar Whistling-thrush, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Forest Eagle-owl, and Indian Pitta. Forest edges are frequented by mixed feeding flocks that can contain such delights as Asian Paradise and Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers, Malayan Night Heron, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Flame-throated Bulbul, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, and Dark-fronted Babbler.

This sanctuary contains pristine vegetation with predominantlyTerminaliaLagerstroemia,Xylia and Dalbergia. The evergreen type of forests are mainly seen on higher altitudes and along the river banks. The forest canopy is almost closed and the availability of grass is very limited. The fauna comprises of herds of Gaur (often called Indian Bison), Monkeys, Elephant, Leopard, Sloth bear, Flying squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Porcupine, Civet cat, Tigers and a few Black panthers. The Park is also famous for the presence of King Cobra’s.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

If you are a wildlife enthusiast looking for a wonderful sanctuary experience, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is for you! It is Goa’s smallest wildlife reserve, nestled at a height of 3000 feet (900 meters) on the lush foothills of the Western Ghats. Bondla Sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers. 

Though, the birdlife is largely similar to that of the BMS, a few additional species, such as White-browed Bulbul and Blue-faced Malkoha, can be found here while species such as White-rumped Shama, Forest Wagtail, Rufous Woodpecker, Grey Jungle-fowl and Crested Hawk-eagle can appear more regularly here. There is a great possibility of spotting brown fish owl, Ruby throated yellow bulbul (State bird of Goa), Indian scimitar babbler and Oriental dwarf kingfisher among other birds. The Rangado river flows on its east while the Madhel river on its north. Bondla is also home to a diversity of wildlife such as Sambar deer, Sloth bear, Gaur, the black-faced Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Jackals, toddy cats, panthers, porcupines, peacocks, wild boar and an array of reptiles like Indian Chameleon. Bondla is covered with moist deciduous forest with the state tree Terminalia Crenulata (Matti) and Rosewood being the most common trees around. Evergreens and a variety of canes can also be found.

Since the circumference of Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is only 8kms it is possible to cover the entire sanctuary in a day. The approach road to the entrance gate and on to the tourist zone, and the track leading from the cafĂ© towards a series of fords are the best places to bird, while  the small reservoir before the entrance gate is a good place to view raptors over the surrounding hills.

Tambdi Surla Temple
The Tambdi Surla temple situated at Tambdi village is historically important as the same has been built by the Kadamba kings during the 13th Century. . It is notable as the oldest temple inGoa, located just 13 kms from Mollem. The surrounding forest is dense and harbours quite a variety of Western Ghat endemics.
Zuari River Boat Trip
The Mandovi-Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary, lies along Mandovi and the Zuari River which are the two primary rivers of Goa. A day out cruising along the back waters of the Zuari river Sanctuary in a giant canoe in search of Collared Kingfisher, a scarce and sporadically distributed species, alongside Stork-billed, Black-capped, and Lesser Pied Kingfishers, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Osprey, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Great Crested, Lesser Crested, Sandwich, Little, and River Terns at close range, Mugger Crocodile in the canal and pods of Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin in the estuary.

motorized boat takes you for the safari in the backwaters of the river Zuari going further  in the mangrove-lined Cumbharjua Canal. The safari takes a total of 3 hours. You will be also served a packed breakfast on board.


This lesser known lake is one of the largest and most productive wetlands in Goa. It is a large, marshy, lotus-covered lake, filled with an abundance and variety of waterbirds. Although the amount of water in the lake varies greatly with the seasons and agricultural use, regular species here include Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Garganey, Northern Pintail, Lesser Whistling-duck, Cotton pygmy Goose, Spot-billed and Comb Ducks, Asian Openbill, and Oriental Darter. The lake is surrounded by scrub, paddy fields, and woodland good for Warblers, Munias and various woodpeckers, bee-eaters, and parakeets. Raptors including Western Marsh Harrier, Indian Spotted and Booted Eagles, and Osprey are regularly seen.

Check out Nature India Participant's Trip Experiences and Trip Reports


Nature India is conducting a well planned and budgeted trip to Goa that will cover most of the birding sites and habitats ...... see below for complete details.

Date: 17th November, 2016, 7.30 am to 20th November, 2016 eve 5.00 pm

Mode of Local Travel : Tempo traveller (The best option to move around the places quickly in a group)

Train Options (To be done by the participants): Mumbai to Madgaon (book uptill Udupi to get confirmed ticket) by 12133 Mangalore Express, Staring from Mumbai CST at 22:00 Hrs on 16th Nov'16 & Madgaon to Mumbai by 10112 Konkankanya Express, starting from Madgaon @ 18:00 Hrs on 20th Nov'16....... This is the Best train option.

Overnight Volvo buses ply regularly between Mumbai & Goa and bookings are easily available....Nature India can assist in bookings if required.

Rough Tour Itinerary : Ex Goa (Madgaon to Madgaon)

Day 1: 17th Nov, 2016 (Thursday) : Pick-up from Madgaon at 7:30 am – Proceed to Nature’s Nest campsite near Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary (BMS), birding along the way – Check-in and Lunch – Birding trail in BMS – Return to Camp – Dinner – Night trail to see Frogmouths, Owls & Nightjar’s - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 2: 18th Nov, 2016 (Friday) : Early morning birding trail to Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and around area with packed Breakfast – return and lunch – Visit “Tambdi Surla” temple area for the Western Ghat endemic bird species – Return – Dinner - Night trail to see Frogmouths, Owls & Nightjar’s - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 3: 19th Nov, 2016 (Saturday) : Early morning visit to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary with packed breakfast – Lunch @ Bondla WLS – Continue bird-watching in Bondla Sanctuary – return – Dinner - Overnight stay at Nature Nest Camp.

Day 4: 20th Nov, 2016 (Sunday) : Pack-up and leave early morning for Zuari river safari to see Mangrove and marine bird specialties including 6 species of Kingfishers, Orange-breasted Green Pigeons, Waders, Terns and Gulls – Breakfast – Proceed to visit Mayna Lake to see the migratory waterfowls – Lunch – Shopping around Margoa – Drop at Margoa and proceed to catch Bus back home at 5 pm.

Trip charges (Goa to Goa only) : Rs.13400/- (Includes Stay in Camp “Nature’s Nest”, near Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary on twin sharing basis, Local travel by Tempo traveller, All Park entry charges, All meals including lunch, dinner and breakfast , Expert charges, Zuari river Safari, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….

Group Size : 12 persons
These charges are Goa to Goa only....... participant has to make their own travel arrangement upto Goa and Back . This does not include any charges other than the above.
Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying non-refundable advance of Rs.8000/- (and only after our confirmation mail) as per the payment guidelines given below…...

Stay Arrangement: Camp “Nature's Nest” cottages….. a basic camp with simple touch, located at the base of Western Ghats in Goa, on the border of Bhagwan Mahavir National Park.

The Stay arrangement is in Non-AC twin sharing basis. The cottages are very simple but spacious & clean and suit the best to local climate and culture. .……The camp is situated around the forests and offers plenty of Birdwatching inside the campus.  Please visit their home page @

Resource Person: Mr.Pankaj Lad (Local Expert), Mr. Mandar Khadilkar, and Mr.Adesh Shivkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the money directly to my HDFC A/c (Please call Mandar @ 9930318665).. please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque in favour of "Mandar Khadilkar" of Rs.8000/- to the following address:
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address:Flat No.2, Blossom Apartments, Below Shantighan Hospital, LM Road, Kandarpada, Dahisar-West, Mumbai-400068

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 8000/- is strictly non-refunadable
2) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) Nest photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited
5) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 / 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar)

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

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Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature