With a unique topography comprising of hill stations, backwaters as well as forests, the state of Kerala is a favoured holiday destination for travelers from all over the world. Every year, thousands of people visit Kerala for their family vacation, honeymoon or a holiday with friends. But the year 2018 is going to be an extremely special one. Travelers visiting the state will witness a phenomenon that occurs only once in 12 years – the Neelakurunji Blooming Season in Munnar. It’s one of those years where the already picturesque hill station will turn into an enthralling spectacle of nature. Travelers must grab this opportunity indeed!
What is Neelakurinji?
Neelakurinji is a shrub with purplish blue bell-shaped flowers that bloom once in 12 years. It grows in regions with high altitude of about 1500 to 2000 metres. In India, Neelakurunji can be seen in large numbers in Shola Grasslands of the Western Ghats. There are about 50 varieties of this flower and most of them are in shades of blue. So it is hard to differentiate one from the other. The name ‘Neelakurunji’ is derived from two local words namely ‘Neela’ which means blue and ‘Kurunji’ which means flower in the local language. In fact, the Nigiri Hills which is translated as Blue Mountains got its name because of the growth of Neelakurunji. The botanical name for the flower is ‘Strobilanthes kunthianus’. I couldn’t pronounce it either.
When is the blooming season?
In 2018, the flowers will bloom to their full glory between the months of August and October. Travel experts claim that there is no better time to visit Munnar than during the Neelakurunji Blooming Season. So, without delay, make plans to visit Munnar during this season. The next time you’ll get this opportunity is only in 2030. And that’s a long, long time away.
What will you really get to see?
The blooming of Neelakurunji creates a truly magical view. Countless purplish blue flowers completely cover the verdant slopes and ravines of Munnar turning them blue. If you visit the place at any other time, you will only see green but the same place looks completely blue during the Neelakurunji season. The endless carpet of blue flowers on the grassy hills is a view no traveller would want to miss. Apart from the marvellous view of the flowers, you might also see the rare and beautiful Nigiri Tahr (Mountain Goat) casually walking down the hills which are covered with Neelakurunji. And if you get a glimpse of this view, you know it’s one of the most beautiful sights any traveler has ever seen. The overall experience is certainly unforgettable.
The last time the travelers saws the massive flowering of Neelakurunji in Munnar was in 2006. About 10 lakh people visited the hill station to catch this magnificent sight. Many biologists and nature lovers just can’t wait for the season to return in 2018. The wait has been long but we know it will be worth the wait.
Where in Munnar can you get the best view?
In Munnar, places like Marayoor, Echo Point, Mattupetty, Kovilur, Kadavari, Rajamala and Top Station offer excellent views of the Neelakurunji flowers. The Eravuikulam National Park, however, is one of the best spots to get a panoramic view of the flowers. Interestingly, the park is also home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. And that makes a visit to the park even more special. According to travelers, the view from Top Station is also very beautiful.
A chance to visit Munnar during the Neelakurunji blooming season is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity. The view and experience is so special that words cannot express it. It has to be experienced. So make no delay in getting your tickets to Munnar. No one has ever regretted coming to Munnar during this special season. Neither will you.
What are some other things can you do in Kerala during your visit?
- During the months between August and October, the waterfalls of Kerala look majestic. So you can include visiting the Athirapally Falls in your itinerary.
- The season is also great for ayurvedic therapies. After you enjoy the fantastic view of the Neelakurunji flowers, you can take some time off to experience the rejuvenating ayurvedic massages.
- The backwaters of Kerala look extraordinarily beautiful during this season. So a houseboat cruise in Alleppey or Kumarakom would be a great option.
- In October, you can enjoy extensive sightseeing, trekking and also visit the sunny beaches in the state.