Thursday, July 23, 2009

1st Batch - Kass, Satara (The Plateau of Flowers) 11th to 13th Sep, 2009

After an overwhelming response last year for Kass Plateau trip ....Nature India announces 1st batch this year to this amazing place on popular demand.....from 11th to 13th Sep'09 (Added attraction - Thoseghar Waterfalls).... the bookings are on (see at the end for details)

The total flower species count from our last year trips was approx. 190 species
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 atleast once every year from 15th Aug to 15th Oct to witness not only the amazing array of wild flowers, but also the serene atmosphere that mesmerizes one's soul.....

Have a look at these images from some of the participants

And some trip reports

I am 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 not 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.

The lateritic plateau of Kass has becomes home to millions of tiny flowers in late monsoons. The whole spectacle is beyond words. More than 300 varieties of wild flowers, herbs, orchids, shrubs, insectivorous plants etc. can be seen here in Aug and Sep (Best time is 15th Aug to 15th Oct)….. 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 flowers like yellow carpets of Smithia and Sonki flowers, Pink carpets of Balsam, Purple carpets of Karvi etc….

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 rich in minerals and you can see the red patches of laterite rocks typically called ‘Sadaa’ in Marathi.

Click here to view some images from this amazing place…….

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.

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: Kass plateau and the surrounding area has a very good birdlife with good sightings of Crested Buntings, Malabar Crested Larks, Oriental White-eyes, Bonelli’s Eagle. It is a heaven for Macro photography too.

Trip Details

Though the trip will be focused on watching the flora and to learn more about them with a distinguished expert, we would also not miss the other fauna such as birds, butterflies and amphibians that are found in plenty there….

Date: 11th Sep, 2009 morning 6.30 am to 13th Sep, 2009 eve 8.00 pm
Resource Person: Dr.Rajendra Shinde (Reader in Botany, St.Xavier's College, Mumbai), Mr.Adesh Shivkar & Mr.Mandar Khadilkar

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

Rough Iterinary:

1) Friday 11th Sep, 2009 : Depart to Kass (20 kms from Satara) from Bandra (E) at 6.30 am…..reach by around 1.00 pm- Check in Hotel – Lunch – proceed to the Plateau and the Ghat to watch the species that grow on the slopes – return back at 7 pm

2) Saturday 12th Sep, 2009: Start early morning to the plateau to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau– return for lunch and proceed to Thoseghar Waterfalls to enjoy the grandeur of monsoon.

3) Sunday 13th Sep, 2009: Start early for a visit to 'Ghatai Devi sacred groves" on the way to Kaas Plateau….Flora watch at Kass Plateau.....Return to Hotel at 12 pm – Lunch – Checkout and depart for Mumbai – reach Bandra(E) by 8.00 pm.

Trip charges & Mode of Payment :

Trip Charges : Rs./-

Includes Stay at Hotel Cinderella Inn in Satara on a twin sharing basis, Travel by minibus , Park entry charges if any, veg / Non- veg meals, Articles on Kass and Wild flowers, expert guidance charges & on board snacks and Mineral water…….

This does not include any charges other then the above.

Registration: You can register by sending a non-refundable advance of Rs.2500/- and a confirmation mail to ..... the remaining amount will be collected in the bus on the day of travel (11th Sep'09).

Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c : (Please call Mandar @ 9967518665 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.2500/- to the following address

Name: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B-702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Dahisar (East), 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. 2500/- is strictly non-refunadable

3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours

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

For any other queries we are available on 9321463362 (Adesh) or 9967518665 (Mandar) or or

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Birding in the Land of GIB, Nannaj - 15th to 16th Aug, 2009

Bookings for Nannaj trip from 15th to 16th Aug 2009 are now open...for details see at the end.....Confirm your registration fast


India is blessed with a variety of habitats that hold varied birdlife. However, most of these habitats are under threat from something or the other. From these, the Grassland habitats in particular are the first to be encroached upon, on the pretext that these are wastelands. However, they are one of the most bio-diversity rich habitats that hold an amazing variety of birdlife. Once, there were far stretching areas which had grasslands throughout India, but sadly very few remain now (apart from the Terai Grasslands)……notably amongst them are Banni grasslands, Naliya, Velavadar and LRK in Gujarat, Rollapadu in Andhra Pradesh, Ghatigoan & Karera Bustard sanctuary in M.P., Sorson and Sonkhaliya in Rajasthan, Rannebennur in Karnataka, Rehekuri, Ozhar, Mayureshwar & Nannaj in Maharashtra.(GIB & Grey Francolin Image: Courtesy: Mr.Nayan Khanolkar)

(Participants of the 1st trip- 15th to 17th Aug, 2008)

Here's a link to the report of the 2nd trip (6th-7th Sep, 2008)

And Here's a link to the report of the 3rd trip (Nov'08)

With the exploitation of grasslands, the flagship species namely the Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican, Indian Wolf, Blackbuck are also threatened. In fact, it is believed that there are less than 400 GIBs in the world and they are critically endangered.Not many know that this majestic bird was once a strong contender for the position of our national bird……but the tricky name got him out of the race.

Nannaj GIB Sanctuary : One such amazing grassland / scrub land is the famous Nannaj GIB sanctuary, approx. 22 kms from Solapur.

Nannaj is a small village approx. 22 Kms away from the main city Solapur, Maharashtra.The total area covered under sanctuary is approx. 600 hectares. However, it is not a continuous stretch, but a discontinuous area which is divided into various plots, some of which are owned by Govt. and some are Private lands.

The area called "100 hectare" is a plot of 100 hectares, and it is a core area of the sanctuary where the breeding pairs have been observed. Recent census estimates over 20 Great Indian Bustards.... However, the GIBs are spread over vast areas in the sanctuary and nearby cultivated fields depending on the availability of food.

Nannaj GIB Sanctuary also holds a very good population of Blackbucks that stroll over leisurely but cautiously around the park and the surrounding area. The main predators of these Blackbucks and the Black-naped hares which abound here are Indian Wolf and Indian Fox. There is a resident pack of 8 wolves in the core area of the sanctuary, that are regularly seen scanning their area with a dominant "Alpha pair".....

Apart from the above flagship species, Nannaj is a great place to see a number of other grassland and scrub land species like Larks, Pipits, Quails, Francolins, Sandgrouse, Lapwings, Raptors, Coursers, Munias, Doves etc…..

Click some of these links to know more about Nannaj

Though the GIBs are nomads and move about in a large area. The month of August is the best time to see the bustards in Nannaj when they seek a safe abode to display and breed in the core area.



Date: 14th Aug 2009 eve. 10.30 pm to 17th Aug 2009 mor. 6.30 am (travel days included)

Mode of Travel : Train uptil Solapur and local travel by Jeeps.

Tour Iterinary:

1) Friday 14th Aug, 2009 : Departure from Mumbai by train at 10.30 pm

2) Saturday 15th Aug, 2009 : Arrive at Solapur early morning - Checkin hotel & Refresh / Breakfast (really fast) - Birdwatching in Nannaj - Lunch at Hotel Nisarg for the mouth watering "Zhunka Bhakar, Shenga Poli & Thecha" - Visit to Eurasian Eagle Owl area - Evening Birding - Return to Hotel - Revision & Discussion of day's sightings - Dinner and early bed.

3) Sunday 16th Aug, 2009 : Early morning Birdwatching in Nannaj - Sumptuous lunch consisting of the typical Solapur delicacies -Evening visit to Hipparga Lake near Solapur city for watching water birds (or again near Nannaj) with Mr.B.S.Kulkarni (well known veteran ornithologist instrumental in declaring Nannaj sanctuary) - return to the hotel - Dinner and proceed to board the train at 10.45 pm

4) Monday 17th Aug, 2009 : Reach Mumbai (Dadar) in mor. by 6.30 am

More details on the iterinary will be given to those who register.....

Trip charges : Rs.3750/- (Ex.Mumbai-includes train fare) or Rs.3275/- (Ex.Solapur-excludes train fare)....

Includes Stay in Hotel at Solapur on a twin sharing basis, Mumbai-Solapur-Mumbai train travel (Sleeper Class) for Ex.Mumbai Charges (subject to availability), Local transport by Jeeps, Park entry charges, vegetarian food, Articles on Nannaj and Nannaj bird checklist, on board mineral water and snacks……

This does not include any other charges and also any individual camera charges ....Individuals will have to pay additional charges if any to the forest dept. as per the rules.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.2500/- (The seats will only be confirmed after recieving the advance amount) …..the remaining amount will be collected in train on the day of travel.......Please Register before 10th July, 2009 to get the confirmed train bookings (subject to availability) and the desired class of travel.

Resource Persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar & Mr.Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c : (please call me for my A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.2500/- to the following address

Name: Mr.Adesh Shivkar
Address: D/8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Opp. Hotel Shangrila, Sion(East), Mumbai-400022

Please Note:

1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 2500/- is strictly non-refunadable

2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours

Please contact us, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9321463362 (Adesh) or 9967518665 (Mandar) or

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature