From the book ”The Western Ghats” by Mohan Pai (2005).
GIRDLING SIX STATES OF THE INDIAN UNION
Three districts of Gujarat are in the Western Ghats ecoregion : 1. The Dangs 2. Surat 3. Valsad
There are a few passes through which roads and railroads link the coast with the interior. The eastern slopes of the ghat descend gently into the Deccan Plateau and are sculptured by the wide, mature valleys of the Krishna, Bhima and Godavari rivers.
Two major east-flowing rivers originate in the Western Ghats section of Maharashtra – the Godavari arising in Nasik district and the Krishna which begins at an altitude of 1,360 m near Mahabaleshwar.
There are many small, swift west-flowing rivers, most of them less than 80 km long. They are : Ulhas, Surya, Vaitarana, Damanagang, Tansa, Vashist, Savitri and Shastri.
Twelve districts of Maharashtra are in the Western Ghats ecoregion: 1. Nasik 2. Thane 3. Dhule 4. Nandurbar 5. Pune 6.Sindhudurg 7. Raigad 8. Satara 9. Ratnagiri 10. Sangli 11.Kolhapur 12. Ahmednagar*
Sahyadris at Mahabaleshwar – Pic by Mohan Pai
Low-elevation Sahyadris at Goa – Pic by Mohan Pai
The hills give way in the west to an undulating area dissected by rivers and the coastal plain itself consists of beaches fringed with coconut palms. Goa���s two largest west flowing rivers are Mandovi and Zuari.
There are several minor streams which are : The Tiracol, Chapora, Sal, Galgibag and Talpona. The whole of Goa is included in the Western Ghats ecoregion.
Although the Ghats run parallel to the coast for a length of about 267 km, the width of the coastal lowland varies.
The Ghats dip into the sea and form islands at Karwar – Pic by Mohan Pai
It is about 80 km wide near Mangalore but practically non-existent in the north near Karwar where the range dips into the sea with peaks emerging as picturesque islands. A series of cross-sections drawn from west to east across the Ghats, generally exhibit, a narrow coastal plain followed to the east by small and short plateaus at different altitudes, then suddenly rising up to great heights. Then follows the east and east-north sloping plateau.
Among the tallest peaks are Mulainagiri (1,923 m), Bababudan or Chandradrona Parvata (1,894 m) and the Kudremukh (1,892 m) all in Chickamagalur district and Tadianamol Betta (1,745 m) and the Pushpagiri (1,713 m) in Kodagu district. There are a dozen peaks which rise above the heights of 1,500 m.
Bedthi River Valley, Uttara Kannada – Pic by Mohan Pai
The major east-flowing river is Kaveri with the east-flowing tributaries which include Hemavati, Laxmantirtha, Kabini and Suvarnavati. The swift west-flowing streams are : Kali, Gangavali (Bedthi), Aganashini, Sharavathy, Kollur-Chakra-Gangoli, Sita, Mulki, Gurupur and Netravathi.
Eleven districts of Karnataka are in the Western Ghats ecoregion :1. Belgaum 2. Uttara Kannada 3. Shimoga 4. Udupi 5. Dakshina Kannada 6. Chickmagalur 7. Hassan 8. Kodagu 9. Chamrajnagar 10. Mysore 11. Dharwad*
Mattupetty Dam, Kerala – Pic by Mohan Pai
There are three geographical regions:
1.The Highlands consisting of a number of peaks with heights varying from an average height of 900 m to well over 1,800 m. Anaimudi peak – 2,695 m (8,842 ft), the highest point of peninsular India, crowns the Western Ghats.
2. The Midlands made up of hills and valleys.
3. The lowlands or the coastal areas which are made up of the river deltas, backwaters and the Arabian Sea.
Over forty four rivers cut across Kerala; it is said to be land of rivers and backwaters. These rivers are quite small and more or less filled by the monsoon water. Among the rivers that flow into the Arabian Sea, the more important are the Bharatpuzha, Chalakudi, Periyar and Pamba.
The Ghats are a steep rugged mass with an average height of 1,220 m rising to 2,637 m at the highest point – Dodabetta near Ooty. The Nilgiris and Anaimalai are the group of hills with the maximum height followed by the Palnis. The Palghat gap and Shencottah gap are the only two breaks into the long chain of ghats that border Tamil Nadu.
Tea Gardens in the Nilgiris – Pic by Mohan Pai
1. Nilgiris 2. Coimbatore. 3. Theni 4. Dindigul 5. Virudunagar 6. Tirunelveli 7. Erode* 8. Madurai* 9. Kanyakumari
* The report of the Working Group on Hill Area Development Programme for the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007), Govt. Of India, Planning Commission, June, 2001 considers Ahmednagar (Maharashtra), Dharwad (Karnataka), Erode and Madurai (Tamil Nadu) as districts of the Western Ghats region.