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Western Ghats,mts., India: see GhatsGhats
[Hindi,=steps], two mountain ranges of S India, paralleling the coasts of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and forming two sides of the Deccan plateau. Anai Mudi (8,841 ft/2,695 m) is the highest peak in the two ranges, which are joined by the Nilgiri Hills in the
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a mountain range in India, the western elevated region of the Indian Peninsula. The range is approximately 1,800 km long, reaching an altitude of 2,698 m (Mount Anai Mudi). The western slope is a sharp precipice of the Deccan Plateau, which falls by stages to the Arabian Sea; the eastern slope has gently sloping plains that fall toward the interior regions of the Indian Peninsula. The Western Ghats are divided by transversal structural valleys, which serve as communication routes between the Malabar Coast and the Deccan Plateau. The southern part is made primarily of gneiss and charnockite, which form individual massifs with a sharp, irregular relief (Nilgiri Hills, Anai Malai Mountains, Palni Mountains, Cardamon Hills); the northern part is primarily basalt, which forms flat-topped, stepped hills. The climate is subequatorial and monsoonal. The annual total precipitation on the windward slopes is 2,000-5,000 mm; on the leeward slopes it is 600-700 mm. On the lower western slopes and to the north there are mixed deciduous and ever-green forests; to the south there are evergreen tropical rain forests (which have been reduced to a significant degree); on the eastern slopes there are dry savannas with candelabra-shaped spurge, acacia, and palmyra palm.
L. I. KURAKOVA