These are block mountains formed due to the down warping of a part of land into the Arabian Sea.
Their positioning makes the Western Ghats biologically rich and bio geographically unique – a veritable treasure house of biodiversity.
The region has a spectacular assemblage of large mammals – around 30 per cent of the world’s Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population and 17 per cent of the world’s existing tigers (Panthera tigris) call this area their home.
The Western Ghats or Sahyadris form a watershed of the peninsula.
Rivers like the Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri rise from the western Ghats.
Kudermukh, Pushpagiri, Kalsubai and Salher, Mahabaleshwar and Harishchandra are the important peaks of the Western Ghats.
In the Nilgiris the Eastern Ghat joins the Western Ghat to form a mountain knot (Nilgiri) whose highest point is Anaimudi.
Let us discuss some of the important geographical structures of Western Ghats-
Goran Ghat- It is situated to the south of Mount Abu. It connects the city of Udaipur with Sirohi and Jalore in Rajasthan.
Haldighat- It is a mountain pass in the Aravali range of Rajasthan. It connects Rajsamand and Pali district. It is historically important because of the historic battle of Haldighati which took place in 1576 between Rana Pratap Singh and the general of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, Raja Mansingh.
Bhor Ghat- It joins Mumbai with Pune.
Salher- Situated between Malegaon and Nashik.
Jog Falls- It is the higehst waterfall in India situated on Sharvati river at 250m.
Kudarmukh- Rich in Iron ore,it is situated in the state of Karnataka. The iron ore is of haematite and magnetite type.
Harishchandra- It is situated in the southern parts of Maharashtra from north-west to south-east. Covered with degraded forests it streches in the districts of Pune and Osmanabad.
Mahabaleshwar- It is located in Satara district of Maharashtra. It is a religious and cultural tourist attraction for domestic and international tourist.
Thal Ghat- It is located in the Sahyadri Ranges. The National Highway No.3 and the Bhopal-Indore Railway Line pass through the Thal Ghat.
The Nilgiri Hills- The Nilgiri Hills in the Western Ghats cover an area of about 2500 sq km and rise over 2500m. Udhagamandalam, one of the southern India’s most famous hill resorts, is located here.
Palghat- It is also known as the Palakkad gap. It is situated to the south of Nilgiri Hills. It joins the state of Tamil Nadu with the seaports of Kerala. The river Gayitri flows through it from east to west.
Kalsubai- It is situated in the state of Maharashtra. It is one of the highest peaks of Western Ghat.
Puspagiri- It is one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats. It is abode of Dravidian tribes.
Points to Remember-
- The Western Ghats are one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots with over 5,000 flowering plants, 139 mammals, 508 birds and 179 amphibian species.
- At least 325 globally threatened species occur here.
- The range covers 60,000km2 and forms the catchment area for a complex of river systems that drain almost 40% of India.
- At 2695m, Mt Anamudi in Kerala, India is the highest peak in the Western Ghats.
- The Western Ghats are being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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