Dark clouds over the Western Ghats, Pune
© Shantanu Magdum/EyeEm/Getty Image
Tribute to the mountains of the world
2002 was observed as the International Year of Mountains. As this year ended, the United Nations decided to extend the celebrations by marking December 11 the International Mountain Day. The aim of the day is quite simply to encourage governments to educate and enlighten people on the importance of our mountains.
This year, we focus on the mountains in the Western Ghats near Pune. Also known as Sahyadri or ‘Mountains of patience’, these ghats span around 140,000 square kilometres, all the way from Kerala to Maharashtra and Gujarat. Older than the Himalayas, the Western Ghats are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to numerous wildlife sanctuaries, these ghats play a critical role on the monsoon, by intercepting part of the rain-laden monsoon winds in late summer.