Munnar is preparing to paint its green hills blue with the flowering of Neela kurinji. In 2018, Munnar will experience the once in 12 years blooming of the Neelakurinji flower. Here, we discuss the things one should know while planning a trip to Munnar to witness the Kurinji spring. We will keep this a living article and will update it regularly throughout the season.
What is Neelakurinji?
Neela Kurinji (Strobilanthes Kunthiana) is a beautiful bushy shrub. Kurinji flower is exclusive to the shola forests of the Western Ghats in the state of Kerala. The species name or the scientific name of neelakurinji, Kunthiana is derived from the River “Kunthi”. The plants flourish over the mountain slopes of the Nilgiris and a few other the shola grasslands in South India. Out of the 46 plant species that bloom in 10 to 16 years found in India, Neelakurinji is the best known. While “Neela” means blue in the Malayalam language, “Kurinji” is the local name of the flower. Neelakurinji English name is Strobilanthes Kunthiana, this is its scientific name. The English people also call it as neelakurinji or kurinji.
Start packing your bag packs to witness its massive flowering, Kurinji flowers is next expected to bloom between July and November 2018 breaking its 12-year spell.
Where is Neelakurinji Blooming?
The main habitat of Neelakurinji is the vast hills surrounding the heavenly city of Munnar. Kurinji flower is a symbol of the rich biodiversity of Western Ghats. Munnar is undoubtedly one of the most noteworthy hill stations in South India. It is nestled in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 6000 ft, located in Idukki district of Kerala. As a result of the beautiful tea plantations, forests, valleys and wildlife travelers fall in love with this place.
When is the next massive blooming season of neelakurinji in Munnar?
Though 12 years is a very long time, we are indeed lucky to see them flowering in 2018. The next blooming period of Neelakurinji will start in June 2018 and will last until September or even until November 2018. While massive flowering happens once in 12 years, Neelakurinji blooms in small quantities at a few places around Munnar.
Below are four months to gaze, experience and adore the flowering of the flower in Munnar:
Year: 2018, Months: June, July, August, September, November. Biologists say that the climatic and topographical changes can affect the blooming time of the flower.
Where to find Kurinji in Munnar?
Kurinjimala Sanctuary is where you get to see the Neelakurinji bloomed mountains. Spread across a whopping 32 Sq.Km, this sanctuary protects the core habitat of the plant. The sanctuary is located at Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages of Devikulam Taluk in Munnar. The then Kerala Forest Minister Mr.Benoy Viswam declared the area as a sanctuary in 2006. It was the Neelakurinji Fest at Munnar which took place the last time they bloomed.
Location of Kurinjimala Sanctuary:
Eravikulam National Park
Apart from kurinjimala the Eravikulam national park is the second major attraction where we can find neelakurinji in a vast amount during its season. But the entry to the national park is restricted and you can reach there only by taking tickets and waiting in a long queue. You can read more about Eravikulam Nation Park on our website.
Where else can I find kurinji in India?
You can also see the flower in Selva Rajan range of hills in the Eastern Ghats. It is located at an altitude of 1500 meters (4920 feet) from sea level.
Kurinji in ancient literature
You can find this majestic flower mentioned in the ancient Tamil literature with the mountainous landscape associated with it. The famous poetic fragments from the Tamil classic “Kuruntokai” makes an indirect reference to the flower. Clare Flynn in his historical novel, “ Kurinji Flowers”, the portrays the flower as the backdrop of a tragic love affair in India of the 1940’s. James Sykes Game made one of the earliest records of the flower during the late 19th century.
Who will help you to find Neelakurinji?
Since it is a once in 12 years phenomenon, tourists from all over the world flood to Munnar. While around 12 lakh tourists visited kurinji hills during the last kurinji season, the number will be much higher this time. However, travel agencies and adventure clubs of Munnar are planning something great for the guests. To find the best operators and clubs from Munnar, please read through our corresponding articles.