Western Ghats

Mountain range along the western coast of India / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri mountain range, is a mountain range that covers an area of 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) in a stretch of 1,600 km (990 mi) parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.[1] It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world.[2] It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India.[3] It contains a very large proportion of the country's flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to this region.[4] According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas. They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer.[1] The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain called the Western Coastal Plains along the Arabian Sea. A total of 39 areas in the Western Ghats, including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests, were designated as world heritage sites in 2012 – twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, six in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.[5][6]

Quick facts: Western Ghats, Highest point, Peak, Elev...
Western Ghats
Pashchim Ghats
The peak of Anamudi in Kerala is the highest peak in the Western Ghats, as well as the highest peak in India outside the Himalayas
Highest point
PeakAnamudi, Eravikulam National Park
Elevation2,695 m (8,842 ft)
Coordinates10°10′N 77°04′E
Length1,600 km (990 mi) N–S
Width100 km (62 mi) E–W
Area160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi)
The Western Ghats lie roughly parallel to the west coast of India.
StatesGujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
RegionWestern and Southern India
BiomeTropical rainforests and Marshes
Age of rockCenozoic
Type of rockBasalt, Laterite and Limestone
CriteriaNatural: ix, x
Inscription2012 (36th Session)
Area795,315 ha

The range starts near south of the Tapti river and runs approximately 1,600 km (990 mi) through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu ending at Marunthuvazh Malai near the southern tip of India. These hills cover 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India. The Western Ghats block the southwest monsoon winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau.[7] The average elevation is around 1,200 m (3,900 ft).[8]

The area is one of the world's ten "hottest biodiversity hotspots." It has over 7,402 species of flowering plants, 1,814 species of non-flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, 227 reptile species, 179 amphibian species, 290 freshwater fish species, and 6,000 insect species. It is likely that many undiscovered species live in the Western Ghats. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.[9][10][11]