The Western Ghats mountain range is itself a major attraction in India along with its high hills, deep valleys,mountain grasslands, dense and rain forest. The 1,600 km long majestic Mountains of Western Ghats is one of the eight hottest biological diversity hotspots in the world. Western Ghats is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and paradise of various species of Flora and Fauna, Most of them are endemic to the region.
The Western Ghats contains major hill ranges starting from Sahyadhri mountain ranges in Maharashtra Nilgiris hill ranges in Tamil Nadu. These hill ranges are home to most popular hill stations such as Ooty, Mahabaleshwar, Madikeri and the most famous Munnar. Famous hills of Western Ghats are Sahyandhris, Nilgiris, Palani Hills,Anaimalai Hills and Cardamom Hills.
The hill ranges of Western Ghats are home to some of the highest mountain peaks of India. Anamudi or the Elephant Head is the highest peak of the Western Ghats with an elevation of 2,695 m (8,842 ft) located in the Indian state Kerala. The Anamudi mountain peak is also the highest point in India outside the great Himalaya-Karakoram mountain ranges. Other highest peaks of the Western Ghats are Meesapulimala,Doddabetta in Nilgiris hills, Kalsubai in Maharashtra and Mullayanagiri in Karnataka.
Western Ghats offers four type of tropical and subtropical forest ecoregions -North and South Western moist deciduous forests,North and South Western montane rain forests. The north part of the hill ranges is drier then the southern part of ranges and dominantly by teak. South Western Ghats montane rain forests offers very rich ecologic region for the wide varity of flora and fauna species. The wild forest of Western Ghats are distributed as National Parks,Wildlife Sanctuary, Tiger reserve, biosphere reserves and many protected areas.
The mountain valley of Western Ghats covered with shola-grassland, evergreen and semi-evergreen vegetation, and montane grasslands. Shola grassland are mainly found in the valleys and different from montane grassland. The shola forest and grassland complex are distrubuted in the higher altitude hills of Nilgiris, Biligiriranga Hills and Agasthyamalai Hills.
The dense forests and evergreen valleys of rolling Sholas grassland of Western Ghats mountain ranges offers rich ecologic area for number of flowering plants. The major species of Flora in Western Ghats are present in the sholas of the Nilgiri Hills. Main species of flowering plants found here are Michelia niligarica,Eugenia,Toona ciliata,Schefflera and Michelia. Kas Plateau in Maharashtra is best place to know about the numerous species of flowering plants also known as the valley of flowers of Western Ghats.
The Western Ghats region has many natural and man made lakes.The famous lakes are beautiful Vembanad lake, Ooty avalanche lake, Pookode lake, Letchmi Elephant and Berijam Lake. The major reservoirs includes famous Krishna Raja Sagara, Mettur Dam,Koyna Dam, Parambikulam Dam and Linganmakki Dam. Arabian Sea also offers beautiful lakes in Kerala known as backwaters of Kerala, one of the major tourist attraction.
The majestic mountain ranges of Western Ghats form one of the four watersheds and feed the perennial rivers of India. Major rivers of Western Ghats are the Godavari, Krishna, Thamiraparani and Kaveri others tributaries to these long rivers, flow to the east and fall into the Bay of Bengal. During the monsoon season these rivers offers some of the spectacular waterfalls in India such as the most stunning Jog Falls by Sharavathi River,Astonishing Athirappilly Falls by Chalakudy river, Kunchikal Falls, Sivasamudram Falls, Unchalli Falls and famous Meenmutty Falls.
The Fauna of Western Ghats is very unique and many of them are endemic to the mountains of monsoon only. Wildlife includes 139 species of mammal, Reptiles,Amphibians and at least 508 species of birds. The endemic animals of Western Ghats are Malabar large-spotted civet,endangered Lion-tailed macaque and the beautiful black panther. Couple of new species are also found here in the last few year one of the them is pogeyan cat, A wild cat which is larger then a leopard but smaller then a Tiger,More information about the pogeyan cat is yet to collect.
The Avifauna of western ghats are endemic to the forest and great hills, birds such as beautiful Rufous-breasted Laughingthrush, Nilgiri Flycatcher,Malabar Parakeet and Malabar Grey Hornbill are some of the most beautiful birds of Western Ghats. The evergreen forests of Kerala and deciduous forest Karnataka provided wild foods and natural habitats to these wild birds. The mountain ranges have many bird sanctuaries as well and offers one of the best place for bird watching in India.
There are 13 National parks situated in the Western Ghats along with two biosphere reserves, several wildlife sanctuaries and many Reserve Forests. These protected areas are home to thousands of animal species including globally threatened and critically endangered species. Famous National parks are deciduous forests of Bandipur National Park, Silent Valley National Park, Periyar National Park and Eravikulam National Park. The rainforest of majestic mountain is full of natural beauty and one of the must see place in India.