The Western Ghats

The Western Ghats stretch 1,440 km from the Tapti River north of Mumbai to the tip of the Indian peninsula at Kanyakumari. These ranges are known for their rich bio-diveristy and natural heritage. The mountains intercept the rain-bearing westerly monsoon winds, and are consequently an area of high rainfall, hence known also as monsoon mountains.

The rain gives western ghats its flavor and richness. Some areas recieve as much as 350 inches of rain every year, making it one of the wettest places on earth. From Kerala north to Goa, fabulous evergreen rainforests teem with bird songs and the buzz of insects. Deciduous forests still carpet many of the slopes on the eastern rain-shadow of the Ghats. Protected areas in this zone, such as Nagarhole and Mudumalai, harbor an astounding variety of wildlife wealth, from small creatures to elephants and tigers.

Tea Plantations in the Western Ghats
Tea Plantations in the Western Ghats

There are 13 National parks situated in the Western Ghats along with two biosphere reserves, several wildlife sanctuaries and many Reserve Forests. These protected areas are home to thousands of animal species including globally threatened and critically endangered species. Famous National parks are deciduous forests of Bandipur National Park, Silent Valley National Park, Periyar National Park and Eravikulam National Park.

The Fauna of Western Ghats is very unique and many of them are endemic to the mountains of monsoon only. Wildlife includes 139 species of mammal, reptiles, amphibians and at least 508 species of birds. The Western Ghats have been internationally recognized as a region of immense importance to the efforts of biological conservation. It is a region of high cultural, geological and aesthetic values.

The Western Ghats are older than the great Himalayan and thus their geomorphic feature is of immense global importance. This is what precipitated the inscription of the site into the World Heritage Sites in 2012. The mountains are characterized by montane forest ecosystems that influence the Indian monsoon weather patterns. The monsoons then mediate the tropical climate that is widely found in India.

The Western Ghats showcase the best of tropical monsoon system on the planet. It is home to 325 globally endangered species, 229 plant species, 31 mammal species, 43 amphibian species, 15 bird species, 5 reptile species and 1 fish species. The 1,600 km long majestic Mountains of Western Ghats is one of the eight hottest biological diversity hotspots in the world. Western Ghats is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and paradise of various species of Flora and Fauna, Most of them are endemic to the region.