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The Year of Kurinji - 2018 | Know more about What Where and When?


Before reading the article if you are looking for some quick information about the blooming of Neelakurinji, here is it.

What is so special about Neelakurinji Blooming?

Neelakurinji is a wild shrub found in the Shola Grasslands of the Western Ghats with the most concentration in the high ranges in and around Munnar, Kerala. The plant blooms once in 12 years and when it blooms the whole mountain ranges look bluish purple, making it a fairytale ambiance along with the mist around.

When does Neelakuriji Bloom?

The blooming is supposed to be from July to October, however since the monsoon is expected until end of July, the blooming is expected to start by mid of August to October.

Where should I go to see Neelakurinji Blooming?

The most comfortable and the most concentrated area of Neelakurinji blooming is the Eravikulam National Park, located 12 kilometres from Munnar towards Marayoor- Coimbatore direction. There would be long ques at the park entrance, hence we recommend you to book the tickets online at https://eravikulamnationalpark.in. You need to register on the website followed by a mobile verification and book the required time slot based on your visit and make the payment right away on the website. We recommend the first slot, starting at 0700 hour to 0800 hours. The identity card numbers of each individual has to be entered separately at the time of booking. The accepted ID cards are Aadhar Card, driving licence, passport and election ID card for Indian Nationals and Passport for Foreign Nationals. Your arrival vehicle type is also required at the time of booking.

Eravikulam National Park entrance fee rates

Indian Adults – 120/- (Children – 90/-) Foreign Nationals – 400/- Ordinary Camera – 40/- Video Camera – 315/-

*the above fares include the bus transfer from the park entrance.

Neelakurinji Flower

The year of Kurinji is all about the blooming of Neela Kurinji, a wild shrub found in the Western Ghats of Kerala & Tamil Nadu. The plant grows in the Shola Grasslands of the Western Ghats, above 1500 meters, and blooms once in 12 years and forms a bluish purple carpet revealing a gorgeous scene across the mist clad Shola grasslands. Munnar, in Kerala has the most concentration of Neelakurinji. Even though, many mistake it to different verities of plants and flowers, the botanical name of the family is Strobilanthes, and Neelakurinji is called Strobilanthes kunthiana. The Kurinji plant mostly grows in the grasslands, very much known as the Shola grasslands. The foothills of the Anamudi, the Rajamala hills is the most common place where visitors come to witness the blooming episode of this beauty. The Eravikulam National Park is the point where visitors enter Rajamala. To avoid the rush, there are tickets available online for the buses that go from Eravikulam National Park entrance to Rajamala.

The name Neelakurinji is very much Tamil, the name has been used since the Sangam age (roughly from 300 BC to 300 AD) The flower name has been found in poems of Sangam literature used to depict a flower. There are around 46 to 60 varieties of Kurinji plants found across the Western Ghats. Nilakurinji is found in the Kannan Devan hills - referred to as Munnar, the Nilagiris - places in and around Ooty, and the Palani hills - Kodaikanal. The blooming of Neelakurinji is very much different in all of these hill ranges. The beauty is mostly about the collective blooming where the whole mountain ranges turn bluish purple, which is an extraordinary sight. It is not just Eravikulam, Neelakurinji is found in most Shola Grasslands in the Kannan Devan hill ranges, some other examples include, the Chokkanmudi, Meesapulimalai, Rhodo Valley, and patches close to Top station. Eravikulam National Park is the most comfortable place from where you could witness the blooming. The bus will take you right into the grasslands, where there are paved roads. You can even see it form the bus. Rest of the hill mentioned above fall in the different trek routes, through these high ranges.

Neelakurinji blooms from July to October in Munnar, however since the torrential rains and winds extend till end of July in 2018, it is expected that the flower would bloom by mid of August in Munnar - which has the highest concentration of flower. The rains should stop and the sun should shine bright for the plant to bloom. Due to gradual change in the weather and climatic conditions, the blooming of the flower might have slight differences than earlier years. Once the flowers bloom, it would definitely be highlighted in media, by then the rush begins, specially during the months of August. Only 750 visitors would be admitted into the park a day. We strongly suggest book your tickets online at https://eravikulamnationalpark.in. The website needs a registration with details of your identity card and a mobile verification, later you can book the ticket and make the payment through the above website. Make sure that you reach on time for the selected time slots, it might not be valid if you miss the bus. If you are traveling by a tour operator like us, we will take care of these hassles.

Blooming of Neelakurinji is one of the projected reasons as to why you should be traveling to Kerala in 2018. The department of Tourism in Kerala has a dedicated webpage elaborating about the blooming season of Neelakurinji. The webpage showcases photographs from the last three blooming years of the Kuriji - 1982, 1994 and 2006. This year is quite different from the previous years, this would be the first year after the emergence of social media networks and messaging apps like the whatsapp. This phenomenon would give a chance for many to see the beauty of the Kurinji blooming over phones and computers, even though witnessing it in real is priceless.

If you are excited learning about the Neelakurinji and, would love to visit Munnar, to witness this magnificent fairytale ambiance, you can contact us by email at hello@greenearthtrails.com. You can also have a look at the Kerala and South India tours on offer.

#Munnar #Neelakurinji

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