Our other mountains

More ancient than the larger and better-known Himalayas to the north, the Sahyadris harbour the most intact rainforests in peninsular India. Countless species of plants and animals live here, many of which are found nowhere else on earth, and countless of which are still being discovered. Matching this incredible biological richness is the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Western Ghats. Sandesh Kadur and Kamal Bawa, in their book SAHAYADRIS published by ATREE, Bangalore, take you on a visual journey through this range of mountains also known as the Western Ghats.

The book is, truly speaking, exquisite. Lavishly produced, it does full justice to the superb photographs that document the flora and fauna of this wonderland. Many- ranging from E O Wilson ( "The book is an incredible reflection of the magnificence of the Western Ghats.") to George Schaller ("No one can look at the book and not be entranced and emotionally connected. The combination of photography and text is superb and truly conveys the great diversity of life in both reality and spirit.") - have been lavish in their praise, but when you see the book, you know it is well earned.

In our Natural History Section, ISBN 9780977021109. Rs 2950

In another category, but on the same subject, is the two-volume Sahyadri: The Great Escarpment of the Indian Subcontinent edited by Y Gunnell and B P Radhakrishna, for the Geological Society of India, also based in Bangalore. This book contains several papers reviewing the morphological evolution of this remarkable landform marking the western border of India. A geologists delight, this is the ideal companion to the other title listed here, and with which it takes exception, particularly on the age of the mountains.

In our fledgling Earth Sciences section, Rs 1500. ISBN 81-85867-45-3