Visiting the Western Ghats

Characterized by high hills, lakes, waterfalls, steep valleys, unique biodiversity, and rainforests, the Western Ghats of India are an increasingly popular destination for those visiting India. The Western Ghats are a collection of UNESCO designated heritage sites and is one of the premier biodiversity hotspots in the world. Stretching north to south along the Indian western edge, this mountain range spreads over 1600 kilometers and starts from the border of Gujarat and ends at Kanyakumari which means it goes through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. The mountain range consists of 39 properties including national parks, forests, and wildlife sanctuaries. The most popular activities and sights to behold include:

Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar is a hill station in the Western Ghats range and is located in the state of Maharashtra. The city used to be capital of the Bombay province during Britain’s rein in India and is comprised of three villages: Malcolm Peth, Old Mahabaleshwar, and Shindola. This city is very panoramic and picturesque and is the source of the Krishna River that flows across the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telengana, and Andhra Pradesh. There are many sights to see in Mahabaleshwar including Old Mahabaleshwar which is filled with various tourist points and old Indian architecture. The Krishnabai temple is a beautiful temple where the Krishna River is worshipped and it is situated on a hilltop overlooking the Krishna valley. Visitors can also visit 3 Monkey Point, natural sculpture which looks like three monkeys sitting beside each other. One of the more romantic spots of Mahabaleshwar is Venna Lake which is popular for honeymoons and an important pilgrimage point for Hindus. The lake is beautiful and surrounded by trees. Other sights include Kate’s Point, Wilson Point, and the Lingmala Waterfalls.


Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a collection of national parks that was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1986. The biosphere reserve is massive encompassing the Mudumalai, Mukurthi, Wayanad, and Bandipur national parks. Covering an area of over 5,000 kilometers, the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is India’s premier biodiversity spot. The reserve houses over 3,000 species of plants and over 100 species of mammals, 350 species of birds, 80 species of reptiles, 39 species of fish, and over 315 species of butterflies.


Shivgiri

Shivgiri is a hill station located above the Yemmedoddi village in the Hoggarekangri hills and is abundant with coffee plantations, trees, and various species of birds. Shivgiri is perfect for getting away and enjoying nature. Some popular sites nearby include The Doddabale Siddaragudda Peak which is 5,500 feet high, The Lord Shiva Temple, Madagadakere Lake, and the Yemmedoddi Jungle Safari. The Jungle Safari of Shivgiri houses various birds and wild animals including tigers, panthers, deer, and wild pig.

Abover are three of the more popular sites along The Western Ghats, other popular attractions include:

  • Hill Ranges - most popular ones are Sahyandhris, Nilgiris, Palani Hills, Anaimalai Hills and Cardamom Hills
  • Mountain Peeks - popular ones are Meesapulimala,Doddabetta in Nilgiris hills, Kalsubai in Maharashtra and Mullayanagiri in Karnataka, and the Anamudi Peak.
  • Lakes - popular ones are Krishna Raja Sagara, Mettur Dam,Koyna Dam, Parambikulam Dam and Linganmakki Dam.
  • Waterfalls - popular ones are Jog Falls, Athirappilly Falls by Chalakudy river, Kunchikal Falls, Sivasamudram Falls, Unchalli Falls and famous Meenmutty Falls

As you will deduce, The Western Ghats are a majestic collection of lands and provide for a transformational experience. The best time to visit the Western Ghats are from October to May so plan accordingly and safe travels!

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This article was written by Walter Godinez