Western Ghats

Barking deer in the surrounding area of Nisargshala campsite.

Western Ghats

As many of you have been to Nisargshala campsite, why not learn more about it?

Nisargshala campsite is approximately 65-70 kms from Pune, towards southwest of Pune city. The campsite is in the core western ghats, surronded alomost by all sides with Sahyadri sub-ranges and hill. Towards north is the tallest mountain in Pune region i.e. Fort Torna. We will see the historical importance of Torna fort some other time. Towards east is Rajgad. The campsite is towards south of Madheghat and towards east of Lingana fort and Rayling Plateua. Means there is alot to explore at Nisargshala. The campsite has 5 different sacred groves in the perimeter of 10 kms.

The most interesting part is Western Ghats. Let’s understand some really interesting facts about Western ghats like what, how its formed, its flora n fauna and much more

  • The Western Ghats, is a mountain range that runs along the western coast-line of India.
  • The Ghats are older than the Himalayas.
  • It runs, about 1600 km, North to South, along the western edge of the Deccan Platea
  • It is one of the ten hottest hotspots of biological diversity in the world.
  • It originates near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and runs through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, finally ending at Kanyakumari.
  • These hills cover 160,000 km (62,000 sq mi) and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India.
  • The average elevation is about 1,200 m (3,900 ft).
  • In 2012, thirty nine places in the Western Ghats region have been declared as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
  • Basalt is the predominant rock found in the hills reaching a thickness of 3 km (2 mi). Other rock types found are charnockites, granite gneiss, khondalites, leptynites, metamorphic gneisses with detached occurrences of crystalline limestone, iron ore,dolerites and anorthosites.
  • Major gaps in the range are the Goa Gap, between the Maharashtra and Karnataka sections, and the Palghat Gap on the Tamil Nadu and Kerala border between the Nilgiri Hills and the Anaimalai Hills.
  • The range is known as Sahyadri in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Anaimudi (2695 m), is the highest peak of the Western Ghats, which is situated in Eravikulam National Park, Kerala.
  • Mullayyanagiri (1,950 m) is the highest peak in Karnataka.
  • Doddabetta (2637 m), is the Highest peak of Tamil Nadu.
  • Kalasubai is(1646 m), is the highest peak in Maharashtra

 Flora and Fauna

  • The Western Ghats are home to thousands of animal species including at least 325 globally threatened species.There are at least 139 mammal species. A critically endangered mammal of the Western Ghats is the nocturnal Malabar large-spotted civet. The arboreal lion-tailed macaque is endangered. Only 2500 of this species are remaining. The largest population of lion tailed macaque is in Silent Valley National Park. Kudremukh National Park also protects a viable population.
  • The largest population of India’s tigers outside the Sunderbans is in the forests where the boundaries of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala meet.
  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhadra tiger reserve of Karnataka has large populations of Indian muntjac also known as the Barking Deer.
Barking deer in the surrounding area of Nisargshala campsite.

Barking deer in the surrounding area of Nisargshala campsite.

  • Asian elephant, gaur, Sambar deer, vulnerable sloth bears, leopards, tigers and wild boars are found in the forests of Karnataka.
  • Dandeli and Anshi national parks in Karnataka are home to leopards and significant populations of the great Indian hornbill.
  • Indian Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis), endemic to Western Ghats of India. This is an endangered species. The frog spends most of the year underground, surfacing only for about two weeks, during the monsoon, for purposes of mating.
Dancing frog in Western ghats

Danciing frog in Western ghats

    • Micrixalusfrogs are popularly known as dancing frogs due to their peculiar habit of waving their feet to attract females during the breeding season.

    • Flying Lizard – This is the only Flying Lizard (Draco dussumierispecies found in India! This lizard when perceives a threat, rises to the top of the tree, opens its wings and glides onto another tree! These flying lizards are found in the Western Ghats and associated hill forests of southern India.

  • The region has significant population of vulnerable Mugger crocodiles
  • 288 freshwater fish species are listed for the Western Ghats, including 35 also known from brackish or marine water.
  • There are at least 508 bird species. Most of Karnataka’s five hundred species of birds are from the Western Ghats region.
  • The Western Ghats are not true mountains, but are the faulted edge of the Deccan plateau. They are believed to have been formed during the break-up of the super continent of Gondwana some 150 million years (mya) ago. Geo-physicists Barren and Harrison from the University of Miami advocate the theory that the west coast of India came into being somewhere around 100 to 80 mya after it broke away from Madagascar. After the break-up, the western coast of India would have appeared as an abrupt cliff some 1,000 metres in height.
  • Soon after its detachment, the peninsular region of the Indian plate drifted over the Réunion hotspot, a volcanic hotspot in the earth’s lithosphere near the present day location of Réunion ( 21°06′S, 55°31′E). A huge eruption here some 65 mya is thought to have laid down the Deccan Traps, a vast bed of basalt lava that covers parts of central India. These volcanic upthrusts led to the formation of the northern third of the Western Ghats. Since these uplifts are dome-shaped in nature, the underlying rock is ancient, dating back 200 mya, and can be observed in some parts such as the Nilgiris.
  • Basalt is the predominant rock found in the hills reaching a depth of 3 km (2 mi). Other rock types found are charnockites, granite gneiss, khondalites, leptynites, metamorphic gneisses with detached occurrences of crystalline limestone, iron ore, dolerites and anorthosites. Residual laterite and bauxite ores are also found in the southern hills.

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