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Western Ghats of India

Western Ghats of India is the longest mountain ranges that run parallel to the western coast of India. The Ghats covers the state of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The mountains of Western Ghats are considered as older than Himalayas and the geologists believe that the Western Ghats were formed during the break up of Gondwana. It covers a range of 1600 Km starting from Songodh town in Gujarat and ending at Marunthavazh Malai near Kanyakumari. Western Ghats is a world Heritage UNSECO site and is one of the hottest biodiversity spots in the world.

The Western Ghats is famous for its beautiful landscapes, hill stations National parks, wildlife sanctuaries and flora and fauna. There are lot of rare species of birds present in the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats are divided into four tropical and sub tropical forests they are North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, North Western Ghats montane rain forests, South Western moist deciduous forests and South Western montane Rainforests. The northern part of the western Ghats is more drier as compared to the southern part. The transformation from northern to southern ecologic regions of the Western Ghats starts from the evergreen forests in Waynand.

Western Ghats is also known as Sahyadri in Maharashtra, Nilgiri Malai in Tamil Nadu and Sahian in Kerala.  The mountains act as a barrier for the rain bearing westerly monsoon. Hence receives high rainfall during the monsoon season. The dense forest also helps for bringing rain in the Western Ghats. In the Ghats some of the important rocks that are found include Basalt, Khondalities, metamorphic gnessis, limestone, bauxite, charnockites and many more. 

Flora and Fauna in Western Ghats

The Western Ghats is famous for its flora and fauna. The flora and fauna are breathtaking to see. It is considered as world’s eight hottest biodiversity hotspots. Western Ghats is home for 139 mammals which include Bengal tiger, Indian elephants, Malabar large spotted civet and many more, 508 bird species which include rufous breasted laughingthrush, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Malabar grey hornbill, grey headed bulbul, rufous babbler, white bellied blue flycatcher and many more, 179 amphibians like Rhacophorus polypedates, philautus and Bufo, around 6,000insects species like bufferflies, leeches, dragonflies,freshwater molluscs, snails and many more and around 300 fish species like Horabagrus catfish, dwarf pufferfish, Osteobrama bakeri and many more. The Western Ghats also has around 390 threatened species that are vulnerable for endangerment. There are no words to express the floral beauty of Western Ghats. It is home to 7400 variety of flowering plants.

Hill stations in Western Ghats

Other than the flora and fauna Western Ghats has many famous hills stations and waterfalls some of the famous places one must plan to visit are --- Lonavala, Panchagani, Mahabhaleshwar, Coorg, kudremukh, Munnar, Coonor, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Idduki, Biligirirangan hills. Ananmudi is the highest peak in Western Ghats.  Phalghat near the south of Nilgiri Hills is the low mountain pass in the Western Ghats. The Jog falls is a world famous water fall in Western Ghats. During monsoon season it is a major tourist attraction. Many dams have been built across the rivers for hydroelectric purpose and irrigations. Some of the major rivers that originate in Western Ghats include Kaveri, Godavari, Krishna and Tungabhadra. These rivers are the life line for the people living along the Western Ghats. The rivers are mainly dependant on the monsoon every year.

Climate and Vegetation of Western Ghats

Western Ghats has different climatic conditions. The climatic conditions in the Western Ghats vary with the altitude and distance from the equator. Higher elevations of 2,000m in the south and 1500m in the north have temperate climate. Western Ghats receive heavy rainfall during the monsoon. Agumbe which is on the southern part of western Ghats receives high rainfall. The average mean temperature ranges from 20oC in the south and 24o C in the North. Winters are pretty cold. Monsoon season is from June to September.

There is a clear difference in the vegetation grown in northern and southern part of Western Ghats. The western slopes are green throughout the year and some of the important trees found are Rosewood, Mahagony, Cedar etc and the eastern part of the slope predominantly have dry and moist weather and the trees found here are Teak, Sal, Shisham etc. However the Western Ghats is severely getting affected by human interference. 

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