Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Anamudi (2,675 m), highest point of peninsular India

Anamudi is located in the Indian state Kerala. It is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and South India, at an elevation of 2,695 metres (8,842 ft), and a topographic prominence of 2,479 metres (8,133 ft). The name Anamudi literally translates to "elephants forehead," a reference to the resemblance of the mountain to an elephant's head.

The first recorded ascent of the Anamudi was by General Douglas Hamilton of the Madras Army on May 4, 1862, but it is likely that there had been earlier ascents by local people.

Climatic zones and biomes

Anamudi is the highest peak in the Western Ghats in India, having an elevation of 2,695 metres (8,842 ft). Anamudi is also the highest point in South India, and also the highest point in India outside the Himalaya-Karakoram mountain range. This gives Anamudi its relatively large topographic prominence of 2,479 metres (8,133 ft), the associated key saddle being 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) away at 28°35′20″N 76°27′59″E.

The peak is not exceptionally dramatic in terms of steepness or local relief and is a Fault-block mountain. It is located in the southern region of Eravikulam National Park at the junction of the Cardamom Hills, the Anamala Hills and the Palni Hills. The nearest town is Munnar, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi). The easiest route to the summit of Anamudi is a technically easy hike on grass slopes, starting from a rolling hill plateau with a base elevation of about 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). The north and south slopes are gentle, while the east and west slopes are steeper, with more difficult rock faces. The heavy evergreen forests are present with bamboos, black-wood (Dalbergia latifolia), and teak growing in abundance. The heavy forest with which the range is clothed is the source of the most valuable of the rivers which traverse the drier country to the east, namely the Vaigai, and Thamirabarani ; and the waters of the Periyar, which flows into the Arabian Sea.

Anamudi and the Eravikulam National Park surrounding it is home to the largest surviving population of the Nilgiri Tahr(Nilgiritragus hylocrius). Asian Elephants, Gaur, Bengal tigers, and the Nilgiri Marten (Martes gwatkinsii) are some of the species of animals found here. The summit of the Anamudi is vegetated with patches of stunted Arundinaria densifolia and Gaultheria fragrantissima (wintergreen), Anaphalis sp., Impatiens and some species of Eriocaulon.


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