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Indian Western and Eastern Ghats: Difference, Significances

The Western and Eastern Ghats are two formidable mountain ranges in India, with the Deccan Plateau lying between them. While the Western Ghats hug the western coastline, the Eastern Ghats trace the eastern shores. Teeming with diverse flora and fauna, these ranges are cherished by tourists. This article will outline the distinctions between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, along with key facts relevant to the UPSC exam.

Indian Western and Eastern Ghats

  • The Western Ghats, stretching along the western coast of India, spans from Gujarat in the north to Kerala in the south, covering approximately 160,000 square kilometres.
  • This mountain range harbours numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, such as the renowned Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
  • Both the Western and Eastern Ghats are renowned for their ecological diversity, housing various endemic plant and animal species.
  • Notably, the Western Ghats are older than the Eastern Ghats and have undergone more extensive erosion over time, resulting in diverse landscapes ranging from lofty mountains to undulating hills.
  • Conversely, the Eastern Ghats are relatively young and exhibit a more uniform landscape due to lesser erosion.
  • Major rivers like the Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery flow through the Western Ghats, serving as vital water resources for the region.
  • In contrast, the Eastern Ghats lack significant rivers and rely on smaller streams and groundwater sources for sustenance.
  • The Western Ghats are inhabited by numerous tribal communities, traditionally reliant on forests for their livelihoods.
    Conversely, the Eastern Ghats have a smaller tribal population and are primarily inhabited by plains-dwelling people.

Significance of Western and Eastern Ghats

The Western and Eastern Ghats, running parallel along India’s coasts, are more than just mountain ranges. They are lifelines for the country, holding immense significance in several ways:

Biodiversity Hotspots:

  • Both ghats are treasure troves of flora and fauna, with a high degree of endemism, meaning species found nowhere else.
  • The Western Ghats, with its lush evergreen forests, is one of the world’s eight hottest biodiversity hotspots.
  • The Eastern Ghats, though drier, harbour unique species adapted to their environment.

Water Towers of India:

  • The Western Ghats act as a giant barrier, forcing moisture-laden monsoon winds to rise and release rain on the western side. This sustains the fertile plains and rivers flowing eastward.
  • Several major peninsular rivers, like the Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery, originate in the Western Ghats.
  • The Eastern Ghats, with their network of streams and aquifers, contribute to the water resources of the eastern coast.

Climate Regulators:

  • The ghats play a crucial role in regulating India’s climate.
  • The Western Ghats prevent the dry winds from the Deccan Plateau from reaching the west coast, maintaining its pleasant climate.
  • Both ghats influence rainfall patterns and contribute to the ecological balance of the entire peninsula.

Cultural Heritage:

  • The ghats have been home to indigenous communities for millennia. Their traditional knowledge and practices are deeply intertwined with the forests and their sustainable use of resources.

Economic Importance:

  • The ghats are a source of livelihood for millions through agriculture, forestry, and tourism.
  • The rich vegetation supports plantations like coffee, tea, and spices, contributing significantly to the Indian economy.

Threats and Conservation:

  • Unfortunately, these irreplaceable ecosystems face threats from deforestation, habitat loss, and climate change.
  • Conservation efforts are underway to protect these fragile areas, ensuring their survival for future generations.
  • In conclusion, the Western and Eastern Ghats are not just mountains; they are the ecological and cultural backbone of India. Their preservation is vital for the well-being of the nation and its people.

Difference Between Western and Eastern Ghats

Here you can read about the Difference Between Western and Eastern Ghats which is provided below:

Feature Western Ghats Eastern Ghats
Location The western coast of India
The eastern coast of India
Continuity Continuous mountain range
Discontinuous, broken by rivers
Elevation 900 – 1600 meters
300 – 900 meters
Origin of major rivers Most major Peninsular rivers
No major rivers originate here
Climate Tropical Temperate
Vegetation Tropical evergreen forests
Dry deciduous forests

Indian Western Ghats

  • The Western Ghats, also known as Sahyadri in some regions of India, run parallel to the western coastline of the country.
  • Due to their continuous nature without major breaks, traversing through the Western Ghats was historically challenging. However, advancements in transportation technology have mitigated this difficulty in modern times.
  • Despite their continuity, the Western Ghats feature passes like Bhor Ghat, Pal Ghat, and Thal Ghat, facilitating travel across them.
  • These mountains serve as the origin point for several peninsular rivers, including the Tungabhadra, Krishna, and Godavari, despite most rivers draining into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The Western Ghats play a crucial role in the distribution of monsoon rainfall along India’s western border, causing orographic rainfall. This results in heavy rainfall on the windward side of the mountains and dry conditions on the leeward side.
  • Evergreen forests are prominent in the Western Ghats, with coffee being a major crop cultivated in the region.
  • Anaimudi, situated in the Anaimalai Hills of the Western Ghats, stands as the highest peak of the peninsular plateau. Its elevation is 2695 meters or 8842 ft., earning it the moniker “Everest of South India.” The name “Anaimudi” translates to “Elephant’s head,” and it straddles the border of Ernakulam and Idukki Districts in Kerala.

Indian Eastern Ghats

  • The Eastern Ghats run parallel to the eastern coastal plains of India.
  • In contrast to the Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats are discontinuous and are intersected by rivers that flow into the Bay of Bengal, most of which originate in the Western Ghats.
  • Notably, the Eastern Ghats have lower elevations compared to their western counterparts.
  • The highest peak in the Eastern Ghats is the Jindhagada peak, also known as Arma Konda or Sitamma Konda, reaching an elevation of 1690 meters.
  • A comparison of the elevation levels of the highest peaks in both mountain ranges highlights the differences. For instance, the Jindhagada peak of the Eastern Ghats stands at 1690 meters, indicating the contrast in elevation levels between the two ranges.
  • Rice is the primary crop cultivated in the Eastern Ghats, serving as the staple food for the region’s inhabitants.

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How many states are in the Eastern Ghats?

The Eastern Ghats are a mesmerising mountain range that extends across the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

What do you know about the two Ghats in India?

Ghats refer to two converging mountain ranges in south-eastern India, called the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats, running along the eastern and western seaboards of the country. The Eastern Ghats parallel the Coromandel Coast. The average elevation of the range is 600 metres (2,000 feet) above sea level.

Which state in India has both Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats?

The Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats meet at Nilgiri hills. It forms a part of Western Ghats, covering the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. The peaks of Nilgiri have an elevation of 1800 to 2400 metres,and the highest peak is Doddabetta in Tamil Nadu.

What are the 6 states of Western Ghats?

The Western Ghats runs parallel to India's western coast, approximately 30-50 km inland. The Ghats covers six states of India(States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat). These mountains cover an area of around 140,000 km² in a 1,600 km long stretch.

Which states comes in Western Ghats?

The Sahyadri ranges, better known as the Western Ghats, stretch for 1600 km covering the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

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