Water of Life

Evergreen forestsThese evergreen forests provide refuge to countless species of unique flora and fauna

Capturing the monsoon in the Western Ghats, one of the world's most diverse havens of biodiversity

Text and photographs by Kalyan Varma in the Western Ghats, the cycle of life starts with the arrival of the monsoon. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, separating it from the Konkan plains along the Arabian Sea. These mountain ranges intercept the moisture-laden winds coming from the advancing monsoon, diverting it to the western slopes, leaving the eastern part in a rain shadow and relatively dry.

When the rains come, the forests teem with life and the landscape is transformed into vistas of green. Seeds germinate, creating a new generation of seedlings. Plants put out their new flush of leaves, there is an explosion of insects all around. The breeding time of many animals coincides with the monsoons, when there is plenty of food for their young. The Ghats soak up the rain during the brief monsoon season and release the water gradually for the rest of the year. Three of south India's major rivers the Krishna, Cauvery and Godavari originate here and then cut across the Deccan plateau to flow into the Bay of Bengal.

Even a place so ancient is vulnerable to human impact. Over the last couple of years, as a result of global climate changes and significant urbanisation of the region, there have been extreme fluctuations in the monsoon. *

Kalyan Varma is an award-winning wildlife photographer, filmmaker and naturalist, based in Bangalore

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.