Afoot: Exploring the Northern Western Ghats
The avatar worn by Sahyadri right now is that of the most intimidating kind. She stands tall for all to see, but she’s quite unseen in the glare of the summer sun. Her summer cloak is but one of her finest looks, powerful and hard to comprehend. Only her true residents, the tribal communities, with their rich indigenous knowledge, can live the summer wrath.
Her monsoon avatar is completely the opposite. The Sahyadri lets her traces be followed by trekkers, naturalists and photographers. It has been eight months since the last monsoon. Her magic still enchants us, and we yearn to return until the big spell of monsoon relives the parched landscape.
Yet Sahyadri is not completely out of bounds during the scorching summer. In fact, my search for the summer angel that Rudyard Kipling said “no one can feel” turned partly successful. I will write about it next month in the first monsoon showers.
Today, I am glad to say that I have compiled the last monsoon’s sightings into one document. While I did say I would publish it in December, I could begin working on it only in January, and here it is. To sum up the last monsoon’s expeditions, I roamed in fourteen different places, in ten different habitats; photographed fifty-six species of plants, several fungi, crustaceans, mollusks and millipedes, two-thirty-five specimens of insects belonging to thirteen Orders, fourty-four specimens of Arachnids and a few fishes. In all, about three-fifty different specimens (mostly all different species) were recorded. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of life that Sahyadri nurtures.
You can view and download (unfortunately, you are required to sign up to download on Slideshare) the report:
I appreciate your feedback, corrections and identifications.
More importantly, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has made public the most awaited report by Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel (WGEEP). I’d recommend checking the New Releases section (to the right) on MoEF’s website.