In 2018, the beautiful hills of Munnar shall once again attract people from across the planet to view a very special phenomenon in person. This monumental event is the blooming of the Neelakurinji flower, which appears once every 12 years, and can only be viewed here in Munnar.
Neelakurinji or ‘Strobilanthes kunthianum’ blooms in 40 or so varieties, a majority of them being blue in color. ‘Neela’ literally translates to ‘blue’ and kurinji is the name given to it by the tribals of the area. Last seen in 2006, the time for viewing them begins in August and lasts up to October. In Munnar, one can view this great sight from Kovilur, Kadavari, Rajamala and Eravikulam National Park. Eravikulam is incidentally home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, hosting a majority of the remaining population of the species on the planet.
The flowering of Neelakurinji this time was reported at Puthukudi tribal settlement areas inside the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. The massive blossoming of Neelakurinji was last reported on the hills of Munnar, Kanthallur, Vattavada, and Marayur in 2006.
Though Kammamalankudy, Puthukudy, and Koodakkadu in Marayur also witness the massive flowering once in 12 years, visitors are not allowed entry there. The Forest Department officials usually keep a watch on the protection of the fauna there.The large-scale blossoming in Maryur was in Mangapara hills of Kanthallur last time.
Botanists and nature lovers alike mark their calendars in anticipation of this event. Standing amidst the Neelakurinji, one is transported to a different dimension altogether. One can view the shorter variation (about 2 ft) at higher spots and longer variations (about 5 to 10 ft) are seen at lower spots. Specialized tours of this rare phenomenon are available during this time period around the area and treks are organized to view this masterpiece of nature. It is like a secret glance into heaven, allowed once every 12 years.