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South India Travel Escort

Flora & Fauna : There is a wide diversity of plants and animals in South India, resulting from its varied climates and geography. Deciduous forests are found along the Western Ghats while tropical dry forests and scrub lands are common in the interior Deccan plateau. The southern Western Ghats have rainforests located at high altitudes called the South Western Ghats montane rain forests and the Malabar Coast moist forests are found on the coastal plains. The Western Ghats is one of the eight hottest biodiversity hotspots in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Important ecological regions of South India are the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, located at the conjunction of the borders of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the Nilgiri Hills and the Anamalai Hills in the Western Ghats. Bird sanctuaries including Vedanthangal, Ranganathittu, Kumarakom, Neelapattu and Pulicat are home to numerous migratory and local birds. Lakshadweep has been declared a bird sanctuary by the Wildlife Institute of India. Other protected ecological sites include the mangrove forests of Pichavaram in Tamil Nadu, the backwaters of Pulicat lake in Tamil Nadu and Vembanad, Ashtamudi, Paravur and Kayamkulam lakes in Kerala. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 10,500 km² of ocean, islands and the adjoining coastline including coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves. It is home to Endangered aquatic species including dolphins, dugongs, whales and sea cucumbers.

The region is home to one of the largest populations of endangered Indian elephant and Bengal Tiger in India. Elephant populations are found in eight fragmented sites in South India; in northern Karnataka, along the Western Ghats, in Bhadra–Malnad, in Brahmagiri–Nilgiris–Eastern Ghats, in Nilambur–Silent Valley–Coimbatore, in Anamalai–Parambikulam, in Periyar–Srivilliputhur and Agasthyamalai. The region is home to one-third of the tiger population and more than half of the elephant population of India.There are 14 Project Tiger reserves and 11 Project Elephant reserves in the region. Other threatened and endangered species found in the region include grizzled giant squirrel, Grey slender loris, Sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, Lion-tailed macaque and Indian leopard.

Climate : The region has a tropical climate and depends on monsoons for rainfall. According to the Köppen climate classification, it has a non-arid climate with minimum mean temperatures of 18 °C (64 °F). The most humid is the tropical monsoon climate characterised by moderate to high year-round temperatures and seasonal heavy rainfall above 2,000 mm (79 in) per year. The tropical climate is experienced in a strip of south-western lowlands abutting the Malabar Coast, the Western Ghats and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar are also subject to this climate.

The tropical wet and dry climate, drier than areas with a tropical monsoon climate prevails over most of inland peninsular region except for a semi arid rain shadow east of the Western Ghats. Winter and early summer are long and dry periods with temperatures averaging above 18 °C (64 °F), summer is exceedingly hot with temperatures in low-lying areas exceeding 50 °C (122 °F) and the rainy season lasts from June to September with annual rainfall averaging between 750 and 1,500 mm (30 and 59 in) across the region. Once the dry northeast monsoon begins in September, most precipitation in India falls in Tamil Nadu, leaving other states comparatively dry. The hot semi-arid climate predominates the land east of the Western Ghats and the Cardamom Hills. The region, which includes Karnataka, inland Tamil Nadu and western Andhra Pradesh, gets between 400 and 750 millimetres (15.7 and 29.5 in) of rainfall annually with hot summers and dry winters with temperatures around 20–24 °C (68–75 °F). The months between March and May are hot and dry with mean monthly temperatures hover around 32 °C (90 °F), with 320 millimetres (13 in) precipitation and without artificial irrigation, this region is not suitable for agriculture.

The south–west Monsoon from June to September accounts for most of the rainfall in the region. The Arabian Sea branch of the south-west monsoon hits the Western Ghats along the coastal state of Kerala and moves northwards along the Konkan coast with precipitation on coastal areas, west of the Western Ghats. The lofty Western Ghats prevent the winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau - hence the leeward region (the region that deprived of winds) receives very little rainfall. The Bay of Bengal branch of south-west monsoon heads toward north east India, picking up moisture from the Bay of Bengal. The Coramandel coast does not receive much rainfall from the south-west monsoon due to the shape of the land. Tamil Nadu and southeast Andhra Pradesh receive rains from the north–east Monsoon. The north-east monsoon take place from November to early March when the surface high-pressure system is strongest. The North Indian Ocean tropical cyclones occur throughout the year in Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea bringing devastating winds and heavy rainfall.