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Western Ghats in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is home to tea, coffee and spice plantations, reserved forests, and dense tropical jungles. Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, and Wild Boars dwell in the forests. Sloth Bear, Leopard and tiger are also found. The Western Ghats is home to numerous serene hill stations like Munnar, Ponmudi, Waynad, Ooty, Kodaikannal, Coorg etc. The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala is among the last tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forest in India.
The Western Ghats form one of the three watershed of India, feeding the perennial rivers of peninsula India. Important rivers include the Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri. Rivers that flow to the west drain out into the Arabian Sea. These rivers are fast-moving, owing to the short distance travelled and steeper gradient. Important rivers include the Mandovi, Zuari, and Periyar. Many of these rivers feed the backwaters of Kerala and Maharashtra. Rivers that flow eastwards of the Ghats drain into the Bay of Bengal. These are comparatively slower moving and eventually merge into larger rivers such as the Kaveri and Krishna. Smaller rivers include the Chittar, Bhima, Malaprabha, Manimuthar, Kabini, Kallayi, Kundali, Pachaiyar, Pennar, and Tambaraparani.
Fast running rivers and steep slopes have provided various state governments set large hydro-electric projects. There are about major 50 dams along the length of the Western Ghats with the earliest project up in 1900 near Khopoli in Maharashtra. Most notable of these projects are the Koyna Dam in Maharashtra, the Parambikulam Dam in Kerala, and the Linganmakki Dam in Karnataka. The reservoir behind the Koyna Dam, the Shivajisagar Lake, is one of the largest reservoirs in India with a length of 50 km (31 mi) and depth of 80 m (262 ft).
During the monsoon season, numerous streams fed by incessant rain drain off the mountain sides leading to numerous and often spectacular waterfalls. Among the most well known is the Jog Falls, Kunchikal Falls, Sivasamudram Falls, and Lushington Falls.
Historically the Western Ghats were well-covered in dense forests that provided wild foods and natural habitats for native tribal people. Its inaccessibility made it difficult for people from the plains to cultivate the land and build settlements. After the arrival of the British in the area, large swathes of territory were cleared for agricultural plantations and timber.
The area is ecologically sensitive to development and was declared an ecological hotspot in 1988 through the efforts of ecologist Norman Myers. Though this area covers barely five percent of India's land, 27% of all species of higher plants in India (4,000 of 15,000 species) are found here. Almost 1,800 of these are endemic to the region. The range is home to at least 84 amphibian species, 16 bird species, seven mammals, and 1,600 flowering plants which are not found elsewhere in the world.
The Government of India established many protected areas including 2 biosphere reserves, 13 National parks to restrict human access, several wildlife sanctuaries to protect specific endangered species and many Reserve Forests, which are all managed by the forest departments of their respective state to preserve some of the ecoregions still undeveloped. Many National Parks were initially Wildlife Sanctuaries.
In 2006, India applied to the UNESCO MAB for some 7 regions to be listed as a protected World Heritage Site.
A TripAdvisor™ TripWow video of a travel blog to Ambasamudram, India by TravelPod blogger Vinu135.
See this TripWow and more at http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-00af-a5c0-60aa?ytv4=1
The deep down south Western Ghats
"It's well said! "You have done it"
Yet another good feel on Western Ghats, exploring with a very limited time. Felt very happy that eventually we have been to untouched nature in the Deep South India.
The plan was not finalized until Parambikulam was dropped due to accomadation issues. I was searching to fix a spot through out the western ghats. But Sreeni was quiet happy if we make it to Southern part of Tamil Nadu.
Yes well said by Sreeni and I have finalized the location to Manjolai, Kalakkadu Mudanthurai tiger reserve forest. The accommodation was picked up from one of the website to Singampatti Palace, since finding a guest house in Manjolai is not easy. Its either Forest Bungalow or EB guest house, both would need a prior approval from higher officials. Also we couldn't find any other guest houses or lodges for accommodation in uphill as these places are not yet commercialised like Ooty or Kodaikanal, may be you can plan going to uphill if you have any family or friends staying in Kodhayar or Manjolai, which will make easy to get the approval to cross Manjolai checkpost from the forest rangers.
On Christmas eve 24th December 2009. Prabhu and I have started in his Giant pet (Tata Grande) @ 10.00 pm from Sholinganallur and picked up Mohan and Sreeni on the way and touched 100ft road @ 11.10pm. Also picked up Prasanna as he was finding some problem in boarding train due to his ticket was not confirmed to Madurai. Now It's fully packed and the vehicle moved with the help of Prabhu in 100 km/hr easily and consistently. It's very much as usual the route is Tambaram - Trichy - Madurai - Virudhunagar - Thirunelveli - Ambai. It's really good to drive in by-pass roads till reaching Thirunelveli. Prabhu was so passionate and so energetic which made us to reach Kallidaikuruchi @ 11.00am after taking 4 to 5 pit stop including our breakfast and dropping Prasanna in Madurai.
Reached Singampatti palace by 11.30am and received a very warm welcome from Singampatti Maharaja. We got the opportunity to have tea with him. Well enough later we approached our guest house (Maharaja's Anthapuram) which was well maintained with A/C and bed. Each one of us reserving our bed and hidding under the bed sheets (Except Sreeni) until the time struck 1pm. We had our lunch and started to Agasthiyar falls and Vanatheertham which is towards Papanasam. It was very unfortunate that we cannot go and Visit Vanatheertham since dusk will be very soon and as the forest officials asked us to come to the downhill by 5pm. So the only option left out is to stay in Agasthiyar falls and we were there from 3pm onwards until the officials asked us to vacate the place when it struck 5.10pm. Mind blowing and we enjoyed without watching any of our watches.
After returning to the palace by 7pm we had our dinner and had a nice chat until we feel asleep @ 11pm.
We awake a little early and started to Manjolai by getting our food packets planned to have it in Manimutthar falls (which is owned by Singapatti Maharaja). Due to approvals and some VVIP visit we were kept in hold, but some how we killed the time by visiting Manimutthar dam in the downhill and had our breakfast. After climbing up to the dam I was wowed!!!! the scenery was awesome and it is still in my eyes. To our satisfaction we could see the dam gates 3,4 and 5 was kept opened and the water was flowing in high speed. Again when we approached the checkpost @ 10am we found that the forest ranger was holding the entire crowd due to the VIP visit. They said that we will be allowed once the VIP is out of Manimutthar falls which is hardly 5 kms from the checkpost at it may take untill 1pm. (This is the maxim extent were public is allowed to visit, after that you may need an approval from some higher officials which we have already got from the Palace). We thought of not wasting the time and jumped in to the Manimutthar cannal which is very near to the checkpost and enjoyed being in the water for 3 hours. The water flow was amazing and could see most of the families waiting near the checkpost came down and started enjoying the chilled water.
At last the checkpost was opened and started to manjolai @ 1.15pm. The highlight of the trip is before starting we found that there is a nail inserted in the left side tyre which made Prabhu in great upset. However we don't find worth pulling that nail out, since we thought it may make it more badly. So decided to start ..."
Read and see more at: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/vinu135/1/1262305615/tpod.html
Photos from this trip: