India’s Western Ghats is one of the world’s best biodiversity hot spots and is considered one of the planet’s finest rain-forests. The BBC reports that this UNESCO World Heritage site has a hidden secret that is only revealed at night. During the monsoon season parts of the forest appear to glow luminous green without the aid of light.
This is caused by bioluminescent fungi that grows on rotting bark. It is not an easy sight to find and has been compared to spotting a tiger in the wild. The conditions need to be exactly right in order to create the glow. The BBC also states that this natural phenomenon can only been seen in a few patches and the best place to stand a chance of witnessing it is “within the states of Maharashtra and Goa.”
Source : Wiki
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. It is a form of chemiluminescence. Bio-luminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, microorganisms including some bioluminescent bacteria and terrestrial invertebrates such as fireflies. (Wiki)
According to Explara, bioluminescent fungi is also called foxfire or fairy fire and can only be found on the floors of tropical forests. The site explains that “the glow is ascribed to an oxidative enzyme called luciferase, which emits light as it reacts with luciferin, a light-emitting compound present on decaying bark.” The site goes on to say that, “only around 70 of over 1,00,000 species of fungi, are bio-luminescent.”
India.com details that the best time to visit the Western Ghats is during the monsoon season, which is between June and October. The nearest city to the Western Ghats is Panaji, which can be reached by either train or airplane from Mumbai. Although it’s important to remember that when flying domestic airlines to look out for hidden charges as not all the cheap flights are what they first appear. Esteemed UK company, Parking4Less in their blog post entitled ‘Beware of the Cheap Flights Extra Costs’ recommend double-checking hold and hand luggage allowances. If you are traveling to the rain-forest you will need to bring the suitable equipment and it is best to know in advance the weight limit to avoid any inconvenient surprises. Whether you are traveling alone or with a group visiting the Western Ghats will give you a much more peaceful experience compared to the busy cities of India.
P C : Indiatourismecatalog
India’s natural beauty is something to behold and as the world reacts to the various effects of climate change it is important to remember how beautiful our planet is. One travel blogger on Live Mint compared the glowing trees to “a sci-fi movie set”. We hope this has inspired you to see a different side of India. If it has and you venture to this part of India, do let me know what you thought of the experience in the comments section below.
P.S : This is a research-based article and I got to know about Bioluminescence first when I read about the Mumbai’s Juhu Beach news.