‘ Is there any point in leaving this world without actually seeing it ??? ‘ Its a question that always haunts me…. This trip is about one such occasion, which happens in your life, once in while….
Kerala is blessed with abundant beauty in the form of misty hills, backwaters, spice plantations giving the tourists, a serene natural scenery and an interesting culture. It draws in people from all over the country who come here to enjoy the lush green nature and watch sunsets on the quaint backwaters. Though, Kerala during monsoon becomes more fascinating as life springs up everywhere brushed by the fresh raindrops. One of the most exciting and intriguing things that you will get to witness during this time is the famous Neelakurinji flower. A sea of purplish blue flowers covers the munnar valleys and hills of western ghats presenting the most picturesque sigh ever.
Seeing the Neelakurinji (Strobilanthus kunthiana) blossoms in their prime form is so special, because its something happens once in every 12 years. And the hype that was created over the last few months on this 12 year wait was pretty much swept away by the heavy monsoon and landslides that lashed Kerala in August. So, my decision was just to see those wonders, no matter what happens!
You can witness this poetry of blossoms, mainly, in two popular locations on Munnar – the Kashmir of South India. One is the Eravikulam national park – ‘home of the popular Nilgiri Tahr’and the other one is the infamous Kolukkumalai tea estate of Suryanelliregion. And I selected the first spot, Eravikulam national park, because of the presence of surprising wildlife and so much floral diversities. It was a one day trip, but felt that the journey was too long. It is because, this time, i chose to travel by bus and in the most popular service of KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) – The “Minnal Express” ….
An 8 hour journey was all i needed to reach that awesome destination. That wasn’t a tiring journey because of the curiosity about seeing those purple blossoms of munnar. And the climate was so right for my photography sessions. A perfect sunny day! To visit Eravikulam national park, at that time, all i needed was just a 150 rs ticket through online process. So that made things easy. Bright daylight, clear blue skies, chilling atmosphere – a perfect scenario for exploring the wild neelakurinji blossoms of Eravikulam….
The park was not so crowded, as i planned this trip on a working wednesday. So the scenes were so calm and clear….
It time for the readers to have some infos about the Eravikulam national park and the unique Neelakurinji flowers of western ghats…. (Please read these brief details)
To see the video of this Neelakurinji exploring trip, please click on the below caption…….
Then a fun ride was waiting for me, there…. And the ride runs through the Kannan Devan tea plantation hills spreading across the Anamudi hills , to reach the top of this national park ….
Now, lets explore into my memories of this journey, which can amaze your eyes and refresh every minds….
Flowers that fall in the genus Strobilanthes, grow at an altitude of 1300 to 2400 meters. The first person to research upon this magnificent beauty was German botanist called Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck. What is the most fascinating part of this flower species is that is blossoms very late. Its flowering cycle can range from once every seven years to even 16 years, which is why people eagerly wait for the neelakurinji blooming season.
Actually, this park is really famous for spotting one of the protected species in western ghats – the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) or Nilgiri ibex. So, had decided to wait there for sometime. Thought that if i get a chance to shot the wildlife with these blossoms in backdrop, it will be awesome. I had waited there for 3 hours, but, finally, started to descend the hill with no luck of spotting the infamous Nilgiri Tahr. Patience really matters sometimes in life. Surprisingly, on my way down, the most exciting moment of this trip happened…. let’s get into it….
As, i was returning back to the entry point, got a chance to spot yet another inhabitant of this national park, the lion-tailed Macaque…..
Thats all for the day. Now, its time to say goodbye to this place. This was my second visit to this park. Got some interesting shots to make this a memorable trip. I was so much happy to witness the Neelakurinji wonders of munnar – the purplish blue smiles of western ghats. The next blooming season will be in 2030 which gives you all the more reason to check out the bloom in 2018 itself. Neelakurinji flowers which are absolutely exclusive to this place add another layer of beauty to Munnar. This captivating flower casts its magic upon those who visit Kerala during the blooming season.
The elegant, stately hills, golden horizon spreading over the setting sun, orderly placed eucali trees, symbolizing the serene and subtle beauty that will make you return to this place again and again! As a traveler, I could nevertheless say that the glory of that Neelakurinji laden hills of Munnar was something I had never experienced anywhere else.