Like Kaas in Satara district, Maharashtra may soon have another plateau of flowers, albeit one developed through artificial interventions. The state forest department is planning to create a new ‘plateau of flowers’ near Aurangabad this year.
“We are planning to develop a valley of flowers and tourist amenities at Sarola in Aurangabad district in two phases. Today, the area is frequented by tourists and has some varieties of flowering plants which bloom in late September,” said Prakash Mahajan, Chief Conservator of Forests (territorial), Aurangabad.
Kaas Pathar in Satara, which is located at a distance of around 25km from Satara town, falls in the Sahyadri ranges and is known for its rich biodiversity and flowering plants. This ‘valley of flowers’ is a World Natural Heritage Site.
“Seeds of local varieties of flowers are being collected after which the soil will be worked on and they will be sown. This will increase the flowering area from around 30% on the plateau to about 80% and make the area more attractive. Like at Kaas, this will also increase the tourist inflows,” he explained.
Mahajan said of around 200 hectare area, around 20 hectare will be covered in the first phase with tourist amenities like toilets. Adventure and gaming areas are being created at the spot located at a distance of around 35km from Aurangabad. “We will divide the area into zones and then plant different varieties of flowering plants to create a variety of colours,” he added, stating that they were drawing up a master plan which would also involve NGOs and voluntary groups.
Work on the plateau is expected to start before the monsoons with botanical development and creation of water sources being undertaken and tourist amenities being created. The plateau will be managed by the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) consisting of local villagers.
He pointed to how a 75 hectare garden had been similarly developed at Karanja Lad in Akola which had become a habitat for birds, animals and reptiles.
Work on the plateau is expected to start before the monsoons with botanical development and creation of water sources being undertaken and tourist amenities.