Ian Lockwood

MUSINGS, TRIP ACCOUNTS AND IMAGES FROM SOUTH ASIA

Archive for the ‘Plants of the Western Ghats’ Category

Postcards from the Palanis 2014

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Looking east from Coaker's Walk.

After several weeks of rain, looking east from Coaker’s Walk.

Last year’s postcards highlight familiar Kodai landscapes as well some places from the neighboring ranges. Most of these images were taken in the winter (December 2014- January 2015). Our family’s recent visit to the hills came on the heels of an extraordinary north east monsoon season that filled tanks, recorded more rain than usual and broke the spell of the “failed monsoon” that had cast a dark shadow over much of southern India for the last 3-4 years.

Lake, Boat house, Caelton Hotel & school on a chilly December morning.

Lake, Boat House, Carleton Hotel & KIS campus on a chilly December morning.

 

Kodaikanal lake reflection, December 2014.

Kodaikanal lake reflection, December 2014.

Stobalanthes sp. and Cyanthia sp. at Shelton Cottages' garden.

Stobalanthes sp. and Cyanthia sp. at Shelton Cottages’ garden.

To the west, over and across the hills....

To the west, over and across the hills….a glimpse of what the Kodai lake basin must have once looked like.

Evening light  on Eravikulam in the midst of the North East monsoon.

Evening light on the Eravikulam plateau in the midst of the North East monsoon.

(Left) (Right)

(Left) View from Coaker’s Walk looking south west to the Highwavy Mountains.(Right) Looking east from the summit of Perumal Peak

Agamalai range from the southern escarpment of the Palani Hills.

Agamalai range from the southern escarpment of the Palani Hills.

Looking west from Perumal Peak towards Kodai and the Agamlai range in the far distance.

Looking west from Perumal Peak towards Kodai and the Agamalai range in the far distance.

 

PAST POSTS

A Frosty Dry Winter in the Palani Hills

Postcards from the Palanis 2012

Postcards from the Palanis 2011

Note: In this and other posts I have used the spelling of “Palani” based on linguistic recommendations made by Dr. Clarence Maloney. Other organizations such as the PHCC and individuals continue to use the “Palni” version. I’m not aware of an ultimate authority on the correct English spelling of Tamil locational names, but the town of Palani is so named and Dr. Maloney is quite adamant that this represents the closest English translation of the name of the hill/mountain range.

Palni Hills visit… ever so briefly

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Paphiopedilium Druryi

Paphiopedilium druryi

Snapshots from a fleeting visit to the Palni Hillss in April:

(Above) This ladyslipper orchid (Paphiopedilium druryi) is arguably one of the rarest flowers in the Western Ghats. It is an amazing example of intriguing biogeography, since it is isolated from other members of the genus by 2,000 km or so  of land and sea! I trekked all over Agasthyamalai looking for it on three occasions. Here it is in bloom finally! Refer to S. Theodore Baskaran’s Hindu article for an excellent description of the orchid’s discovery and natural history.

Ambassador under the shadow of the Palnis

Ambassador under the shadow of the Palnis

GaurSignInKodai#1(LR)(4_09)

(Above) Gaur (Bos gaurus) have taken up residence in the township of Kodaikanal. A herd of eight or these  large bovines has been living within the township (in Bombay Shola) for several months now! This contrasts sharply with the 1980s when we considered ourselves fortunate to see them in the outer Palni hills and there were whispers of occasional poaching.

These sorts of warning signs have now become a common sight in Kodai! The presence of gaur in Bombay Shola, as well as that of endemic birds and plants is  another good reason to better protect this amazing patch of forest that is becoming an ecological island amidst bungalows and new developments.

Written by ianlockwood

2009-05-26 at 5:03 pm