Neelakurinji blooms in Kolukkumalai, near Munnar
Munnar ghats witness a visual extravagance once in 12 years – blooming of Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana). Mostly the flowers start blooming from July. However, due to rain and floods, the blooming has delayed this year. Neelakurinji flowers are usually visible at Vattavada and Rajamala region of Munnar. This year, a nearby valley of Kolukkumalai also blessed with Neelakurinji blooms.
Advocate Haroon, a media person hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, has made a journey to Kolukkumai to experience the visual treat.
Kolukkumalai is a tea plantation; spread across 500 acres and around 8000 feet high from sea level. It is said to be a plantation without pesticides and chemical application and the tea from Kolukkumail is said to be of high quality and taste.
Kolukkumalai is 13 Kilo Meter away from Suryanelli in Munnar. Up to Suryanelli, one can travel with normal vehicles, but from there four wheel drive jeeps to be used. Normally Rs 1500-2000 will be charged for jeeps to reach Kolukkumalai.
It will take almost one and half hour to traverse this distance. The condition of the road is that much poor. Though Kolukkumalai is in Tamil Nadu region, the only way to reach there is through Kerala.
There are restrictions from the Forest Department to visit Vattavada and Kottakamboor, where Neelakurinji usually bloom. Some other place where Neelakurinji can be seen this season is Rajamala in Eravikulam National Park.
Someone willing to take little risk can visit Kolukkumalai to see Neelakurinji blooms in the foggy valley. Walk along the tea factory to the hilly area and look down the valley, to see the flog cladded valley adorned with blue-purple flowers, which should be experienced than explained.
You can also have some organic tea direct from the tea factory, while returning from the valley.
It is better to have an experienced driver, while making the trip to Kolukkumalai. Haroon recommend Aby, who has been in the area since 1983. Those who want to book Aby can contact him on 9447464760