Carpet of Neelakurunji.
Kerala is blessed with many natural spectacles and among them is a unique canvas that gets unveiled every twelve years in God’s Own Country.The phenomenon of once in twelve years occurring on the fabled hills of Munnar is attributed to the blooming of Neelakurinji or passionately called by botanists as ‘Strobilanthes kunthianum’. The flower with 40 odd varieties bloom mostly in shades of blue, and thus in its name Neela in the local language stands for the colour blue and Kurinji the local name for the flower.
The hills of Munnar welcomed Neelakurinji on to its bosom after a period of twelve years in 2006. Revered by the local tribal community and admired by visitors to these enchanting hills, the blooming of Neelakurinji usually starts from August and would last up to October.
Once in Munnar, you may locate the magical blooms of Neelakurinji at Kovilur, Kadavari, Rajamala, Iravikulam National Park, which is home to the endangered mountain ungulate- the ‘Nilgiri Tahr’ and at other places in and around Munnar. Nature lovers and travelers have already started heading for Munnar to savour in this once-in-twelve-year phenomenon.
It is an ethereal experience to stand amidst the sprawling blooms of Neelakurinji. The Neelakurinji plant shows variation in height according to the elevation of the land from the sea level. Usually shorter plants (about 2 ft) are found at the high elevations, while taller ones (about 5 to 10 ft) are seen at lower elevations.
Many tour operators, adventure clubs etc. organise trekking for visitors to reach some of the best locales in and around Munnar for seeing the grand spread of Neelakurinji.