Western Ghats is a chain of mountains older than the Himalaya mountains covering an area of 160,000 square kilometers. It is parallel to the western coast of Indian peninsula overlapping the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Stretching about 1,600 kilometers, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the eight hot-spots of biological diversity in the world.
Geometry and Importance
The Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of great importance having unique bio-physical and ecological processes. It is also called as the Great Escarpment of India. An Escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that forms as a result of faulting or erosion. It separates two relatively level areas having different elevations.
The Western Ghats intercepts the rain-laden monsoon winds sweeping from south-west during late summer and thus influence Indian monsoon weather pattern considerably.
The Range starts near the Songadh town of Gujarat and runs about 1,600 kilometers through various states. It is one of the world’s ten Hottest Biodiversity Hotspots, having about 7,400 flowering and 1,800 non-flowering plants. 139 mammal, 508 bird 179 amphibian, 6,000 insect and 290 fresh-water species can be found along the Western Ghats range.
The highest point on the Western Ghats range is the Anamudi peak where we have the Eravikulam National Park in the Idukki district of Kerala. It is at an altitude of 2,695 feet. It is the first National Park in Kerala.