Monday, 1 December 2014

Nilgiris, India is ultimate travel destination in South Asia



Nilgiris, India is ultimate travel destination in South Asia

02 December 2014 India,  USANEWSCORP
The Name 'Nilgiris' means Blue hills (Neelam - Blue and giri - Hill or Mountain) the first mention of this name has been found in the Silappadikaram. There is a belief that the people living in the plains at the foot of the hills, should have given the name, the Nilgiris, in view of the violet blossoms of 'kurinji' flower enveloping the hill ranges periodically. Nilgiri Hill, also known as the Blue Mountains in India (one of the oldest mountain ranges), is one of the most ravishingly beautiful hilly terrains in India and supposedly one of the best in the world too. High above the sea level, situated at the junction of the two ghat ranges of the Sahayadri Hills, Nilgiri district provides a fascinating view. Nilgiris is a part of the Western Ghats. They begin from the North East Corner of the State of Kerala, another tea growing state, but the main range lies in the State of Tamil Nadu, close to both Coimbatore and Cochin in India.  Ooty the "Queen of Hill Stations", Coonoor 19 kms from Ooty and Kotagiri 31 kms from Ooty, are best three hill stations of this district. The height of the hills in the Blue Mountain range varies between 2,280 and 2,290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a height of 2,623 metres. Nilgiris is India's first biosphere.

Nilgiris derives its charm from its natural setting.  It has been declared as one of the 14 'hotspots' of the world because of its unique bio-diversity. Biodiversity is essential for sustaining the ecosystems that provide us with food, fuel, health, wealth and other vital services. Humans are part of this biodiversity and have the power to protect or destroy it. The steep hills and fantastically narrow valleys with numerous rivers and rivulets running in all directions with a few fine waterfalls here and there provide beautiful scenery. The area includes cultivated crops viz., Rice, Fruit crops, Flower crops, Tea, Coffee, Pepper, Cardamom, Forest trees and weeds and fresh water ponds and rivers. 
Nilgiris are much cooler than the surrounding areas which make it a popular tourist spot, especially during the hot summer months. You will find here Rolling grasslands, dense sholas, waterfalls, streams, lakes, vast expanse of tea plantations, interspersed with vegetable gardens, spectacular view points, an amazing variety of Rare and Endangered flora and fauna, fabulous trekking trails, innumerable heritage sites, spell binding sunrises and sunsets, magical light, pollution free atmosphere, mist, clouds, fog, star studded skies, serenity etc. Even though the species are usually highly specific to a habitat, some have adapted to urbanization and use man-made water bodies.   Odonata are one of the ancient orders of insects, found here. It first appeared during the Carboniferous era, about 250 million years ago along with mayflies (Ephemeroptera). They are valuable as indicators of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem health (Brown, 1991) and also play a vital role as prey and predator to maintain the balance of tropic levels of food chain.

Nilgiris hill station attracts a large number of tourists every year because of its magnificent hills, fantastic valleys and brilliant waterfalls. Moreover, there are lots of tea estates that add more to the beauty of the area. The pleasant weather all year long is also the major reason why tourist head to the hills in the summers. B. Vinothkumar and K. Elanchezhyan, Assistant Professor at Hybrid Rice Evaluation Centre, TNAU, Gudalur, The Nilgiris, and Rice Research Station, TNAU, Ambasamudram, Tamil Nadu, India reported a total of 30 species of Odonata belongs to 25 genera, five families and two suborders from various ecosystem at mid hill high rainfall region of Tamil Nadu, Gudalur, The Nilgiris. B. Vinothkumar and K. Elanchezhyan received International Biodiversity Award-2014. Their report was published on world's prestigious Photon journal The Journal of Biodiversity. The report has sparked tourism and biodiversity in hilly regions. Now Ecologists from UNESCOAustralia, MalasiaNepal, New Zealand, JapanSri Lanka, South Africa, UK and other countries are exploring it further. Recently PM Narendra Modi from India has also stressed to save biodiversity at hilly regions. The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) support policies and programmes for growth of trade, export, conservation and cultivation of medicinal plant. The world famous hill resort of Ootacamund (lovingly called Ooty) is waiting for your holiday arrival.

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  3. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was the first biosphere reserve in India established in the year 1986. It is located in the Western Ghats and includes 2 of the 10 biogeographical provinces of India. A wide range of ecosystems and species diversity are found in this region. Thus, it was a natural choice for the premier biosphere reserve of the country.

    The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was established mainly to fulfill the following objectives:
    To conserve insitu genetic diversity of species
    To restore degraded ecosystems to their natural conditions
    To provide baseline data for ecological and environmental research and education
    To function as an alternate model for sustainable development

    The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is very rich in plant diversity. About 3,300 species of flowering plants can be seen here. Of the 3,300 species 132 are endemic to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The genus Baeolepis is exclusively endemic to the Nilgiris. Some of the plants entirely restricted to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve include species of Adenoon, Calacanthus, Baeolepis, Frerea, Jarodina, Wagatea, Poeciloneuron, etc.

  4. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve also provides ecological sustainability to the entire region. Research and monitoring of the management and conservation of the natural wealth of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve are being carried out by various government institutions and departments. A commitment to conserve this natural treasure house of resources is the need of the hour. This can be achieved only by the participation and co-operation of the local people in the conservation programmes.

  5. Ambient air quality survey at Mettupalayam, Coimbatore District
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    Ambient air quality survey at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
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    Ambient air quality at Kottayam, Kerala.
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    Ambient air quality survey at Alwarpet junction, Chennai
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    Rapid environmental impact assessment of mini steel plants in Gummidipoondi Industrial Estate

  6. The Nilgiri Biosphere Nature Park (NBNP) is located at Anaikatti, about 32km from Coimbatore.

    The NBNP is an initiative of the Coimbatore Zoological Park Society (CZPS) established in 1986 to promote conservation of the fauna and flora of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Nilgiri Biospehere Nature Park (NBNP) is registered under Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act 1975. The primary objective of the NBNP is to create awareness among the people about the natural heritage of the Nilgiris Biosphere. A zoo at the NBNP is aimed at attracting people to its location.

    Since its establishment, NBNP has successfully restored and helped growth of many different vegetation types - over 430 species of 25,000 plants of which 85 species are found only in NBR. It is interesting that nearly 30% of these 85 species are endangered in the wild. The NBNP's collection of threatened plant species has been recognized by the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) Lucknow, India and Botanical Garden Conservation International (BGCI) UK.

    There is a Nature Trail (about 1.2 km) at the NBNP on which the visitor can experience the joy and thrill of seeing some of the rare plants, birds, snakes, butterflies and insects. There are 100 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles, 22 species of amphibians, 18 species of mammals, and 300 plus Invertebrates.

    The NBNP initiative is actively supported and promoted by well known industrialists and philanthropists of Coimbatore.

  7. The IUCN Global Species Programme working with the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) has been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties, and even selected subpopulations on a global scale for the past 50 years in order to highlight taxa threatened with extinction, and thereby promote their conservation. Although today we are operating in a very different political, economic, social and ecological world from that when the first IUCN Red Data Book was produced, the IUCN Global Species Programme, working with the Species Survival Commission and many partners, remains firmly committed to providing the world with the most objective, scientifically-based information on the current status of globally threatened biodiversity. The plants, fungi and animals assessed for The IUCN Red List are the bearers of genetic diversity and the building blocks of ecosystems, and information on their conservation status and distribution provides the foundation for making informed decisions about conserving biodiversity from local to global levels.

  8. The total area of the Bio-sphere reserve is 5520 Sq. K.m out of which major portion of 2537.6 Sq. Kms. is in Tamil Nadu with 1527 Sq. Km. in Karnataka and 1455.4 Sq. Kms. in Kerala. The Bio-sphere Reserve now covers parts of The Nilgiris (Mudumalai WL Sanctuary and National Park (321.1), Mukurthi National Park (78), Nilgiris North (448.3), Nilgiris South(198.8)), Erode (Sathyamangalam (745.9), Erode(49.3)) and Coimbatore (696.2) Districts in Tamil Nadu. The Biosphere lies Between 10 degree 45 minutes to 12 degree 15 minutes North Latitude and 76 degree to 77 degree 15 minutes East Longitutudes.

  9. India’s rich biodiversity and unique wildlife are itsgreatest national treasures. As the country embarks on a programme of rapid development, India’s wildlife, including charismatic species such as the tiger, elephant, rhino and their habitats face the constant threat of degradation and fragmentation. WWF-India’s conservation efforts seek to secure long term survival of India’s wildlife and their habitats.