Posts Tagged 'Western Ghats Geopolitical'

Wester Ghats, India – Geopolitical Division

From the book  ”The Western Ghats” by Mohan Pai (2005).



The Western Ghats range extends from river Tapti in Maharashtra in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, approximately 1,600 km in length and passes through six states of the Indian Union covering an area of about 1,59,000 sq. kms. The states girdled by the Sahyadri range are : 1. Gujarat 2. Maharashtra 3. Goa 4. Karnataka 5. Kerala 6. Tamil Nadu
Area & Talukas of the Western Ghats Region as per Hill Area Development Programme (Planning Commission – 2001):

Area Coverage:
1. Maharashtra : 58,400 Sq. km 2. Karnataka 44,300 Sq. km.
3. Tamil Nadu 28,200 Sq. km. 4. Kerala 28,100 Sq. km. 5. Goa 1,073 Sq. km.
Total 1,60,000 Sq. km.
The great river Tapti, flowing in a deep trench from the east cuts through Surat and the eastern country is mountainous. This is the northern extension of the Western Ghats and further south, the Ghats are forested and the small district of the Dangs is in this area.
Saputara – Pic by Mohan Pai

The west flowing rivers which originate in the Western Ghats are: Purna, Auranga and Par.
Three districts of Gujarat are in the Western Ghats ecoregion : 1. The Dangs 2. Surat 3. Valsad
The Western Ghats range begins at the Kundaibari Pass (2106N���74011���E) in Dhule district of Maharashtra and runs almost continuously 720 km north-south, the foothills reaching to within 6.4 km of the Arabian Sea. Elevations increase northward to the peaks of Kalsubai (1,646 m) and Salher (1,567 m).
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.
Malsej Ghat – Pic by Mohan Pai
To the west is the narrow Konkan coastal lowland, which reaches its widest extent near Mumbai. Numerous minor hills of the Ghat range dominate the relief.
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

Goa is the smallest state in the Western Ghats region with a coast-line of just about 100 km which extends 64 km inland and is dominated by the Ghats on its eastern part which rise to 1,034 m (3,392 ft) at Sonsagar.

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.

Karnataka is situated on a tableland where the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats converge into B R Hills and the Nilgiri Hills complex.
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 coastal region consists of two broad physical units – the plains and the Ghats. The coastal plains represent a narrow stretch of esturine and marine landscape. The abrupt rise at the eastern flanks forms the Ghats. The northern part of the Ghats are of lower elevation (450-600 m) as compared to the southern parts (900-1500 m).

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*

Kerala is a narrow strip of land on the south west coast of the Indian subcontinent bounded by the Western Ghats on the east.

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.

All the fourteen districts of Kerala are included in the Western Ghats ecoregion : 1. Kasargod 2. Kannur 3. Kozhikode 4. Malappuram 5. Wayanad 6. Palghat 7. Thrissur 8. Ernakulam 9. Pathanamthitta 10. Idukki 11. Kottayam 12. Allapuza 13. Kollam 14. Thiruvananthpuram.

Tamil Nadu

The Western Ghats, after a run of 1,600 km through six states of the Indian union, end in Tamil Nadu just 20 km short of Kanyakumari. The Eastern and the Western Ghats meet in Tamil Nadu and run along the whole length of the western boundary of the state at a distance of 80 to 160 km from the Arabian Sea.
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

 The main rivers which arise in the Western Ghats and flow east in Tamil Nadu are the Kaveri, Tambraparni and Vaigai.
Nine districts of Tamil Nadu are covered in the Western Ghats ecoregion :
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.

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