The Mountains of the Monsoon
Rather than joining the family business, Indian wildlife photographer Sandesh Kadur committed himself to documenting the natural treasures and zoological wonders to be found only a few hours drive from his native Bangalore. Although less than 10% of the Western Ghats remain untouched, these mountains are one of the most biologically diverse places left on the planet. Their unique beauty and mystery are embodied for Sandesh in a chance sighting he had 10 years ago with a strange, all-grey feline unlike anything he had ever seen before – but known by the local tribal people as the pogeyan. Whether or not this enigmatic cat-in-the-ghat really is a new species, the pogeyan has become for Sandesh a talisman – offering some hope for the future in nature’s ability to survive the unprecedented pressures which 21st century India is subjecting its last wild places to.
This is the story of Sandesh Kadur’s journey through one of India’s last wildernesses and his quest to document and show why preserving such wild places matters to modern India.
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Wildlife documentary. Environmentalist and photographer, Sandesh Kadur, has traded a comfortable career in the family business to explore the natural wonders of the Western Ghats mountains. Just a few hours drive from the commercial bustle of his native Bangalore, Sandesh could be a world away. The monsoon pours six metres of rainfall each year on the remote peaks and isolated valleys of the Ghats. Alongside familiar Indian species like elephants, tigers and peacocks are more mysterious creatures that are found nowhere else: a purple frog with a face like a shrew and a monkey with a lion-like mane and tail.
Most intriguing of all, a chance sighting of a grey big cat, unlike anything scientists have seen before. To find out whether this enigmatic cat-in-the-ghat really is a new species, Sandesh must climb to the summit of these mountains. His journey is a reminder that in fast-track, modern India, this cloud-wrapped wilderness is more precious than ever.