On Top of the Neelakurinji Mountain - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

On Top of the Neelakurinji Mountain

The Neelakurinji forest view at Yellapatty, Kerala

I saw the rare Neelakurinji for the first time in my 36 years on this planet and it was possibly the very first time that I was completely lost for words. Such was the beauty of the Neelakurinji mass bloom! This flowering plant defies gravity, enjoys some of the best views in the Western Ghats and prefers steep slopes at pretty high altitudes.

The boys have finally chased the Neelakurinji and this is at a place of a mass bloom

Over 10 days, 3 of us rode through the mountain roads of Kerala in search of this once in a 12 year spectacle and I have to say that we found this flower blooming almost everywhere. The recent heavy rains in Kerala and the ensuing Kerala floods certainly played their part in delaying the bloom, but thankfully, the flowers are resilient and are now blooming all across Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The Neelakurinji flowers and the gorgeous view of the Western Ghats

We trekked high and far to get real close to the flower. Eravikulam National Park, Vattavada and Kanthaloor are good spots for those looking to simply see the bloom from a bit far away, but without having to walk much. To see the mass bloom, you will have to trek at least a few hours over some steep terrain, but it will be totally worth the effort. Such a location is Yellapatty ( about 28 kms from Munnar on the Munnar – Top Station highway) where the mass bloom site is right above and below the Cloud Farm camping site. The entire hills are covered with this blue flower.

The Neelakurinji slope at Yellapatty, Kerala

What I found during these different visits are that there are quite a few species of the Neelakurinji, that they come in different colors and sizes, that the entire plant dries up after the bloom and that the honey made from this rare flower has a lot of medicinal properties. And the flower is indeed a shade of blue, but the color feels like pink, purple or white depending on the time of the day, the harshness of the Sun and the angle at which you are viewing it from.

Enjoying the view of the Western Ghats while sitting on the Neelakurinji mountain - Yellapatty, Kerala

This flowering plant, which grows alongside shola forests, is certainly a treat to the eye and the senses. While it doesn’t have a lot of fragrance, it certainly attracts a lot of bees, who seem to be enjoying the once in a 12 year feast.

Neelakurinji adorning the entire slope of the Yellapatty mountain

I have a lot of pictures, videos and experiences to share with you from this special Neelakurinji motorcycle trip. Right now, I am post processing all of them as fast as I can. This is just a sample of the pictures that have been clicked. So, do stay tuned for a series of Neelakurinji posts over the next week.

One of the largest Neelakurinji bloom locations of 2018

Kerala is well and truly back on track. Most people are still worried, hence there are hardly any crowds. This is the best time to see the Neelakurinji in Kerala. Munnar could be a potential base, while having a vehicle at your disposal could allow you to be mobile and explore the various Neelakurinji regions located in the mountains around Munnar.

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