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The last time God's Own Country stood witness to this gorgeous, rare natural spectacle was in the year of 2006. An endless stretch of tiny, bluish-purple flowers carpeted the mountain slopes of Munnar. As far as you could see into the horizon, the endless stretch of rolling hills had burst into a sea of blue giving birth to nothing short of a dreamscape.
Fast forward 12 long years into 2018 and the vale of Munnar is again on the verge of experiencing the wonder with the blooming of Neelakurinji flowers. In between the months of July 2018 and October 2018, the flowers are going to bloom in all their glory, unleashing a visual extravaganza. And there cannot be any better time to visit the hill station than now if you want to witness this stellar phenomenon.
The Wait Is Over
Neelakurinji flowers have a life cycle of 12 prolonged years and the shelf life of each flower is about 15-20 days from the time it has bloomed. In the local dialect, "neela" translates into the colour blue and "Kurinji" represents the local name for the flower.
The purple-bluish flowers are found exclusively along the slopes of Nilgiri Mountain Range and the Shola forests of the Western Ghats. It is also said the Nilgiri Hills-which literally translates to Blue Mountains-got its name because of the blue flowers of Neelakurinji that grace the region only once in 12 years; and this year is one of them.
So, not at any cost can you afford to miss this rare phenomenon this time. The grandeur of it possesses an intoxicating beauty, which indeed is a spectacular view to come across in one's lifetime. It's also the rarity of this event that attracts a hefty number of tourists from all over the globe.
Yet another factor that adds up to the beauty of these valleys is the fact that it's home to the endangered mountain goat-Nilgiri tahr. A sight of these endemic mountain goats, sauntering amidst the hills that are swathed in Neelakurinji, is enigmatic, to say the least.
Places To See The Neelakurinji Flower
Kurinji flowers tell tales of the rich biodiversity that the Western Ghats is famous for, and its only at an elevation of 1800 m above sea level that the flowers make an appearance. In order to witness this delightful flower in its supreme glory, you need to head to Munnar, Kerala's picturesque hill station. Munnar, in the Idukki district of Kerala, comfortably settles itself amidst the dense forests of the Western Ghats.
There is more than one place in Munnar from where you can behold the blossoming Neelakurinji flower. The most prominent of them is the Kurinjimala Sanctuary, located at Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages of Munnar, and is believed to be the core habitat of the Neelakurinji plant. Another place where tourists can witness the blooming of these flowers is at the Eravikulam National Park.
Other Attractions Nearby Munnar
Rajamala Hills: This mesmerising hill station is located at a distance of around 15 km from Munnar. A large number of people flock in this region to spot the endangered Nilgiri tahrs in their natural habitat.
Periyar Tiger Reserve: The wild lands of Periyar, Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Also, it is home to over 60 species of mammals and some 250 species of rare birds. The variety of its flora includes 143 species of orchids.
Devikulam: Devikulam's velvet green lawns and a wide range of exotic flora and fauna make it a wonderful picnic spot. You can visit the pristine waters of the beautiful Sita Devi Lake nearby, whose picture-perfect environment is sure to sweep you off your feet.
How To Reach Munnar
By Air: You can get reach the nearest Cochin International Airport (about 110 km away) and from Ernakulam board a taxi for Munnar.
By Train: Angamaly (about 109 km) and Ernakulam (about 145 km away) are the nearest railway stations to Munnar.
By Bus: There are ample regular buses plying from Bangalore to Munnar and the minimum time taken by a bus is around 10 h.