Washed in the scent of the monsoon's petrichor mixed with the sweetness of newly bloomed flowers, the Nilgiri hills will be clothed in a vast purple-blue robe that gave Nilgiri hills its name. This spectacle refers to none other than the blossoming of the Neelakurinji in Munnar.
Next Bloom: 2030
Location: Aluva - Munnar Road on Kannan Devan Hills in Kerala.
How to get there:
The closest railway station is Angamaly, that is 109 kms away from the Aluva.
The closest airport is Cochin International Airport in Kochi, 110 kms away.
You can avail cabs from the railway station and airport to reach the location of the bloom.
Neelakurinji means blue flower and scientifically stands for Strobilanthes Kunthianus. This flower has around 250 varieties out of which 46 can be found in Munnar. Ranging from purple to delicate shades of blue, the en masse blooming of Neelakurinji can be seen only in Munnar. With the shorter variations at the foothills and the longer variations at the hilltops, Neelakurinji has a special significance for the Pulaya tribe that calculate their age with the blooming cycle of the flower as a yardstick.
The valleys and the slopes of Nilgiri were thronged by botanists and nature lovers from July to October 2018 with September being the peak period. Munnar with its cascades, backwaters, valleys and hills that offer an ethereal experience has long been on every traveller's bucket list. However, this phenomenon, owing to the age of social media, took the internet by storm and travellers have started drawing up their itinerary to witness this spectacle.
The Kurinjimala Sanctuary is a good place to witness this rare blossoming. Spread across an area of 32 square kilometres at the Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages of Devikulam Taluk in Munnar, this is the core habitat of the flower. The Eravikulam National Park is another good place and is incidentally home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Since this is a much-awaited period, there were restrictions on the number of entry tickets to witness the Neelakuriji in Munnar.
If you missed this beautiful bloom last year, keep a 12-year reminder to not miss the next one maybe?