Ever envisioned Elysian fields? Sky meets the land. Miles and miles of blue unroll in front of your eyes like someone brought the ocean to the hills. Lilac blending with hues of violet under the sombre steel-blue of the cloudy sky. The bewitching sight that looks like someone brought Claude Monet's canvas to life.
July 2018 is your opportunity to corporeally experience the splendour you would expect to see only in paradise. Washed in the scent of the monsoon's petrichor mingled 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 flowers, the phenomenon that takes place only once in 12 years.
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.
Against the backdrop of the rising sun, treading at the stroke of dawn on the carpet of the lush green slopes of Shola forests which are entwined with the exotic extravaganza of the Neelakurinji flowers is going to be a walk that you will always remember. The chilly breeze of the early hours carrying the scent of the flowers and the hues of orange and pink delicately touching the Neelakurinji flowers bathed in the morning mist shall be a sublime spectacle.
The valleys and the slopes of Nilgiri will be thronged by botanists and nature lovers from July to October 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, has already taken the internet by storm and travellers have started drawing up their itinerary to witness this spectacle. The Kurinjimala Sanctuary would be 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 are going to be restrictions on the number of entry tickets. So, go ahead and plan your trip to the hills as soon as possible.