Sunday, June 30, 2013

India's Wettest Places - Walakkad, Kerala - Series No.1

Whenever people in India ask for wettest / Rainiest places they only know Cherrapunji or Mawsynaram or Agumbe. In these series, you will come to various places which i have identified to be wettest places of India. This series will be published often. If you are fan of Heavy Rains and want to know more than Cherrapunji. Please Read it. Its only a compilation of data from various sources / articles / research materials.

Dhar et al (1978) carried out a study ot the heavy rainfall stations in India. For the purpose of the study, stations with mean annual raintall of 5000 mm were considered as heavy rainfall stations. Of the total 14 stations across India, Only two were from KeraIa namely Neeriamangalam (5880 mm) and Peermade (5000 mm). The rainfall data was available only for less number of years. Over the years the averages have caught up with these two stations and their averages have fallen less than 5000 mm considerably. But rain gauges were installed at many other locations which were experiencing very heavy rains during the monsoons.With the data obtained and analysed, these stations were experiencing more rainfall than Agumbe (7640 mm) called as Cherrapunji of South India. One such place is Silent Valley where Walakkad gets the maximum rainfall.

Silent Valley with 236.74 square kilometres is located in the Nilgiri Hills, Palakkad District in Kerala, South India. The park is one of the last undisturbed tracts of South Western Ghats mountain rain forests and tropical moist evergreen forest in India. It is part of The Western Ghats World Heritage Site. 



The Silent Valley is a small plateau located on the southwestern corner of the Nilgiri Hills, a part of the Western Ghats hill chain in southern peninsular India. This forested plateau is the point of origin of the Kunthi river which joins the west-flowing Bharathapuzha. The Silent Valley also forms the core area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Silent Valley symbolizes hope for all the people who stand up for nature, and remains a beacon for rainforests everywhere. Thus it is no longer merely the name of a place but part of a universal vocabulary as a word that indicates an untrammeled wilderness that would last beyond human greed and willful destruction, and protected through the efforts of the people sustained by hope.

The conservation of entire Silent Valley forest area is vital to ensure the perennial flow of water through the Bharathapuzha, the Bhavani and the Cauvery providing water to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Kunthipuzha, which originates from the Silent Valley National Park area, is the main source of water for Bharathapuzha, Kerala’s longest river. It provides drinking and irrigation water to the districts of Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur. A tributary of the Bhavani that originates on the eastern side of the Silent Valley forest area is the perennial source of water for this major inter-State river. Its protection is vital for drinking water and irrigation water projects in a couple of districts of Tamil Nadu. It later empties into the Cauvery. Thus the protection of the Silent Valley and its adjacent forests that form the core area of the Nilgiri Biosphere is vital for the peaceful sharing of the water sources of three major rivers by the three neighboring States. This major benefit to the people of three States is the best justification for the struggle for the protection of the Silent Valley.

The Park comprises essentially two parallel south-sloping valleys. The western Kunthi valley is part of the basin of the west-draining Bharathapuzha. The eastern, Bhavani Valley is part of the basin of the east-flowing Cauvery. In the estimation of scientists, the Silent Valley evergreen rainforest is more than 50 million years old. It is perhaps the only remaining undisturbed tropical rainforest in peninsular India. The flora and fauna here are quite unique. The Silent Valley’s dark and cool ambience, vibrating with life, has been described as “the richest expression of life on earth” and a “cradle of evolution.” “Silent Valley is not just an evergreen forest, it is a very fine example of one of the richest, most threatened and least studied habitats on earth.” Thus, it is the “sacred grove” for the world, and a gene pool of rare flora and fauna. This precious chunk of dense forest is perhaps India’s last, largest and oldest tropical rainforest remaining undisturbed, undisturbed because of its relative inaccessibility, oldest because its age is estimated to be 50 million years.

One of the Wettest Rainfall belts in India
    The Silent Valley experiences majority rainfall in south-west mosnoon and the comparatively less north-east monsoon. Months were classified into four seasons. December, January and February months are identified as winter season having least rainfall (9.12 mm) and March, April, May with relatively low rainfall (2.59 mm) as driest and warmest months constitute the summer. June, July, August months are extremely different from all other months having highest rainfall (4407 mm). They form the monsoon season. September, October, November months were marked with moderate rainfall (1654 mm).

    In Silent Valley, rainfall data is available for Walakkad, Pochipara, Silent Valley, Neelikkal and Sairandhri for last 20 years. The average rainfall of all 5 stations comes to 6400 mm. With Walakkad having highest average rainfall of 8320 mm and followed by Pochipara with 7000 mm.The Silent Valley National Park, gets one of the highest or even the highest average annual rainfall in the Western Ghats, data for the past 20 years are shown below. Walakkad rainfall data is available for 12 years of which it has crossed 9000 mm mark 5 years. It has also crossed the magical 10000 mm mark in 1997. Pochippara is also considerably wet. It receives an average rainfall of 7000 mm.

    The Silent Valley gets continuous rain for six to seven months a year. In the remaining months, mist shrouds the valley, which is estimated to yield 15 per cent of the water generated in the rainforest, with both the North-east and South-west monsoons blessing the valley.
    Available Rainfall data in the Silent Valley in past 20 years in mm

    Source: Compilation from The Hindu, KFRI, Wikipedia and Rainfall data from own research.

    3 comments:

    Pravat Kumar Samal said...

    Thanks for sharing /disseminating the knowledge.

    Pradeep John said...

    Thanks sir. Please read the series 2 Rajamalai

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