International Mountain Day 2015

Dharmalingam Venugopal

[Nilgiri Documentation Centre,Kotagiri, The Nilgiris ; 9444365360]

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International Mountain Day 2015

December 11 is International Mountain Day.

This year the theme is promoting mountain products

Globalization offers opportunities for mountain producers to market their high quality mountain products, such as coffee, tea, tourism and handicrafts at the national, regional and international levels. Though mountain products cannot compete with the prices and volumes of lowland production, they  can concentrate on high value, high quality products to boost local economies.

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Photo by – JP

Very few mountains in the world compare with the Nilgiris in the range of products and services provided by these mountains.

The Nilgiri mountains of Tamil Nadu is unique in several ways.  Scientists classify the Nilgiris as a ‘Living Fossil’. Ecologists say the biodiversity of the Nilgiris is ‘found nowhere else in the world’. Anthropologists describe the Nilgiris as an ‘aboriginal enclave’. Geographers have listed the Nilgiris among the 400 natural wonders of the world.

There are 348 mountains in the Nilgiris identified and named by the Badags since time immemorial. Of these, 256 are above 2000metres; 90 between 1000 and 2000 metres and 2 are below 1000 metres. 229 mountains are in Ooty taluk; 71 are in Kotagiri taluk, 38 are in Coonoor taluk and 10 are in Gudalur taluk.

Doddabetta (Big mountain) is the highest at 2637 meters followed by Kolari betta (2625 meters) and Kudikkadu betta (2590 meters). The Mukurti peak (2554 meters) and the Nilgiri peak (2474 meters) are popular mountains.

Three major rivers (Bhavani, Kundah and Moyar) originate in the Nilgiris.

Nilgiris is the home of nearly 300000 indigenous people with unique cultural heritage.

The economic benefits of Nilgiris is, again, outstanding.

–         2.5 million tourists visit the Nilgiris annually round the year.

–         Nilgiri produces 700 MW of hydel power

–         Nilgiri waters irrigate 2,47,247 acres of land in three districts below

–         Several towns below use Nilgiri waters for drinking

–         Nilgiri forests stock 1.5 billion tons of carbon

–         All most all available land is cultivated without irrigation

–         Nilgiri produces 590000 tonnes of tea which have been described as, ‘finest on earth’ by American Tea Association.

–         Nilgiri has been producing ‘English’ vegetables for two hundred years  with the current production of  69000 tonnes of carrots,  44000 tonnes of Cabbage and  36000 tonnes of potatoes.

 

 

 

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