- What is Western Ghats?
- Administrative Regions
- Western vs Eastern Ghats
- Western Ghat: Forest
- Western Ghats: Rivers
- Western Ghats- Other Names
- Western Ghats: Biodiversity
Western Ghats has been in news because of Gadgil Committee report controversy.
- Entire tract of hills from the Tapi to Kanyakumari is called Western Ghats.
- Length =approx. 1500km and Area= approx. 1.6 lakh sq.kms
- About 30% of the area of the Western Ghats Region is under forests.
|SIX States||Three (important) Passes|
(no need to mugup table, but if you’re from any of these districts, be more prepared for “profile based” interview questions on Western Ghats).
+ UT- Diu Daman (Silvassa region)
|Almost Continuous hills||Discontinuous hills (thanks to River deltas)|
|avg. height : 1500 to 2000 m||lower: 500-700 m|
|Highest peak: Anai Mudi (Kerala)||Dewodi Munda (Odisha) (as per Majid Hussein). Update: Highest peak in Eastern ghat is Jindhagada peak Andhra- it is few meters taller than Dewodi Munda.|
|Fast flowing rivers, donot form delta||Long broad rivers, form delta.|
|Narmada-Tapi||Krishna, Kaveri, Godawai (these origin from Western Ghats though)
|Flow into Arabian sea.||Into Bay of Bengal.|
- Land between Western and Eastern Ghats=Deccan plateau.
- Nilgiri hills connect Western and Eastern Ghats.
|Western Slope||Eastern Slope|
|Tropical Evergreen+ Semi Evergreen.||Moist Deciduous (also known as Monsoon forest)|
|There is no definite time for trees to shade leaves.
Hence the jungle appears green throughout the year.
|Trees shed leaves during dry season.|
- Three main rivers of South India= Krishna, Godavari and Kaveri. They originate from Western Ghats.
- Traditionally these water resources were used to irrigate the valleys for paddy and arecanut cultivation.
- But later, construction of major river valley projects =irrigation + power generation.
- The steep slopes to the western Ghats = ideal for constructing dams and hydel power generation.
- In recent years construction of resorts and hill stations started around lakes and rivers. E.g. Amba Valley, Lavasa.
- Rivers flowing from the Western Ghats drain almost 40% of land in India.
- Roughly 250 million people depend on these rivers .
- From Western Ghats, rivers originate and flow in both directions: West and East.
|Origin (both MP)||Amarkantak hills||Satpura Ranges.|
|States covered||Guj, MP||Guj, MP, Mah.|
|Other names||Reva||Handmaid of Narmada.|
- Coastal plains between Western Ghats and the Arabian sea are very narrow. Hence, these coastal rivers are short (compared to East flowing rivers)
- *NCERT Class 9 Geography: Chapter 3 page 21.
- Every once in a while, UPSC has a nasty habit of asking MCQ question from “delta-type” (Lobate, Arculate etc.) so do mug it up hahaha.
- Mahanadi also drains in Bay of Bengal but it comes from Chattisgarh=not part of Western Ghats.
||Same as above|
||Anaimalai + Cardamom hills.|
Geologically, the Western Ghats is subdivided into three parts
- Surat to Goa
- Goa to Nilgiris
- South of Palghat Gap
|Introduced by Europeans in Western Ghats||Native to Western Ghats|
- Pepper, Cardamom,Honey,Wax, Myrobalan (Small Fruit),
- Bamboos + Reeds = For Basket Weaving
- 1980 onwards = explosion of forest-based industries such as paper, plywood, polyfibres, matchwood, tanning etc.
- The Western Ghats is one of the Biodiversity hotspots of the country.
- The wild relatives pepper, cardamom, mango, jackfruit and plantain=found here.
- Thousands of endemic* species of flowering plants, insects, trees, fishes, butterflies, dragonflies, mollusks (land snails) present.
*What is Endemic Species?
- Any species which is exclusively confined to a particular geographical area and it is found nowhere else in the world.
- Recently discovered frog species in Western Ghats.
- It proves that Western Ghat was once part of ancient Gondwana region.
Western Ghat: Notable wildlife
- The Indian Bison
- Lion-Tailed Macaque
- Wynad Laughing Thrush (Songbirds)
- Travancore Tortoise
- Uropeltid Snakes
- Several Species Of Legless Amphibians.
In the next article, we’ll see the threats to this rich biodiversity of Western Ghats.