An Unknown Plateau of Flowers - Masai Pathar, Kolhapur, Maharashtra

The Plateau of Flowers - Masai Pathar/Masai Pattar/Masai Plateau

'Masai Pathar/Masai Pattar'/'Massai Plateau' is one among the many plateaus of Maharashtra. While researching the places to visit around Kolhapur, we stumbled upon Masai Pathar and ensured we visit here. Though unaware of what this place had to offer, post our visit to the lovely fort of Panhala we made sure to stop by and explore. Not knowing what was in store made our visit more exciting and what we witnessed was simply unbelievable!  It was nothing less than Heaven on Earth!  A paradise less explored, much beautiful and filled with color. We were at a place second only to Khas or rather equally beautiful. The vast expanse of the colorful flower blooms in all directions made it seem like the abode of god.
Masai Pathar
Smithia hirsuta - Yellow Flowers
Masai Devi Mandir
Masai Pathar is one of the bigger plateaus in Maharashtra, located about 8 km from Panhala. As our guide at Panhala gave us directions to Masai, we reached here without any difficulty. The drive to this location was extremely scenic and thanks to the incessant rains that it was lush green all around. We had to cross the village of Masai to reach the pathar. We parked our car right at the start of the plateau and decided to explore by foot. At first, we only saw small pockets of flower blooms spread across the plain land. As we walked further, we found blooms of various colors.
Blue Pimpernel - Anagallis monelli
Button Grass - Eriocaulon carsonii 
Neanotis lancifolia
Exacum lawai
Competitive World
Senecio grahamii
Utricularia arcuata
 A paradise unexplored was in front of us and we decided to trek further. We spotted a small temple with a lake in its background. We met the guardian of the temple, who was also a local shepherd and had come to graze his cattle. He patiently answered to all our questions, though he only spoke the language of Marathi. He informed us that a further trek of about 3 km (one way) will lead us to the main temple of Masai Devi. We were in two minds about this trek as it was late afternoon, we were  extremely hungry and the weather was not in favor due to the frequent rains. We finally made up our minds to trek in the rains! With all our rain gears out, we proceeded without looking back. It was the best decision ever! As we trekked ahead, we were greeted by flowers, more flowers and more and more flowers! The blooms from the small temple were as intact as possible. The carpet of flowers all through was a treat to the eyes. It was simply remarkable!
Historical Buddhist Cave
A Lark waiting for its Prey
The next place we visited were the historical Buddhist caves which we had sighted during our ascent and wished to explore while returning. After walking along this plateau of flowers and admiring every bit of color around, we reached the Masai Devi temple. The plateau gets its name due to the presence of this temple. As per the legend, "the villagers prayed to the goddess Masai to protect them from a demon named 'Matsyadaitya'. The goddess appeared in this place and killed the demon by pushing him down from the cliff and settled here only in order to protect the locals. A fair is conducted every year during the Dasara festival. It is also believed that Shivaji Maharaja prayed here while escaping from Panhala to Vishalgad during Jouhar's siege.
Masai Devi Mandir, Masai Pathar
Pathar Ke Phool
Beautiful Masai Pathar
'Pandavleni' is a series of ancient caves located close by to the temple. Since it was raining and it was late in the evening, the locals advised us not to venture there. Hence we abandoned our idea of visiting the caves. As we trekked back, it rained all the way until we reached our vehicle. It was one hell of an experience! The beauty and color of this plateau cannot be described in words. Hope this place retains its charm always.
Enjoy Responsibly
The Guardian of Masai

Also remember to "Enjoy Responsibly".

Accommodation/Food: Panhala is the best and closest option for accommodation.

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