Western Ghats also known as Sahyadri is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, located entirely in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of thirty-nine properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites - twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.
The range starts near the Songadh town of Gujarat, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu ending at Marunthuvazh Malai, near Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India. These hills cover 160,000 km² and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India. The Western Ghats block southwest monsoon winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau.