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The Western Ghats

The Western Ghats have been designated as one of the worlds 18 bio diversity hotspots & short listed (2011) by UNESCO to be included under its world heritage sites.

It is a chain of hills extending over 1600 kms along the West Coast of Peninsular India, housing one of the richest assemblages of flora and fauna on earth.

Sea of trees

The biological richness can best be understood as 27% of all species of higher plants (4,000 of 15,000 species) recorded in the Indian sub continent are found here.

It is here that frogs reach their highest diversity, with over 100 species.

Endemism is a natural feature of the Western Ghats and this is exhibited not only among frogs, but also among plant species, nearly 1800, are endemic The range is home to at least 84 amphibian species, 16 bird species, seven mammals, and 1,600 flowering plants which are not found elsewhere in the world.

Non endemic species counts more than 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species.

At least 325 globally rare species occur in the 160,000 kmē area of the Western Ghats and was declared an ecological hotspot in 1988 through the efforts of ecologist Norman Myers.

The average elevation is around 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) & its highest peak Anai mudi is 8842 ft.

Prominent Peaks in the western ghats are
Salher (Maharashtra), Kalsubai (Maharashtra), Mahableshwar (Maharashtra), Sonsogor (Goa), jenkal beta ( Karnataka ) Kemmangundi (Karnataka), Tadiandamol(Karnataka), Mullayanagiri (Karnataka), (bababudangiri range) (karnataka), Kudremukh (Karnataka), Pushpagiri (Karnataka), Kumara Parvatha (Karnataka), Doddabetta (Tamil Nadu) & Anai Mudi (Kerala).

The western ghats forms the catchment area for a complex network of river systems & draining it for almost 40% of India

Its one of the three watersheds of India, feeding the perennial rivers of India. Important rivers include the Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri. The larger tributaries include the Tunga River, Bhadra river, Bhima River, Malaprabha River, Ghataprabha River, Hemavathi river, Kabini River. In addition there are several smaller rivers such as the Chittar River, Manimuthar River, Kallayi River, Kundali River, Pachaiyar River, Pennar River, Periyar and the Kallayi River.