A sea of blue flowers! 

After all how much honey can the bees gather from a sea of blue flowers!?
-Manu Remakant

Destination Eravikulam

Nilgiri Tahr or Varayadu at Eravikulam National Park

But when it gets to July 2018, however stunning other places are, all roads in the state lead to a single destination - Rajamalai, Eravikulam. Ten kilometers from Munnar town, Eravikulam National park with just 97 square kilometers of the wild, has a destiny with nature unparalleled elsewhere. Nilgiri Tahr, endemic to the Nilgiri hills is one of the star attractions of Rajamala. Another happens onlce once in every twelve years. When the season comes– kurinji flowers- mountainsides inside the sanctuary bloom into stunning purple welcoming thousands of ardent nature lovers from various parts of the world. You must see how patiently people wait for hours in serpentine queues to have a glimpse of what they would treasure for a lifetime.

Munnar is the homeland of tea, but Eravikulam is the place where you leave behind the heady smell of tea, the vast estates and the rush of all civilization. The English planters who came in the 18th and the 19th centuries learned through hard ways that nothing could take root on the high altitude Eravikulam except a complete abandonment to its pristine nature.

Come to Eravikulam in any other season, you see a suffusion of colours - green, white and the blue- the green of the montane grassland and the shola forests, the white of the fluffy clouds kissing those crests of the hills, thick wads of fog rolling around furling whole vistas in their white folds only to unfurl them again in a moment, the froth of distant streams glistening in the sun and the blue of the distant mountains and the sky. This is the place where if you wake up one morning with someone greeting you to heaven, you will find few reasons not to believe. Peer through the thick curtain of mist you may see a herd of elephants emerging from the shola forest but only to be swallowed by a big dollop of mist. Everything, everything around you is now shrouded in white mist except for a few yards of green beneath you. You shudder in a mountain draft.

It could be at that moment you notice them near your feet - a few unremarkable semi-desiccated plants. When the fog finally lifts you’d see the same extend all over the valleys as far as your eyes can see! “Kurinji,” your tribal guide enlightens you.If what you see now in Eravikulam seems like paradise just imagine, what would you call it when these plants at your feet flower in one go making all those valleys that you see around burst into purple! 

Man, you’d hurt yourself for a want of word, a want of emotion, a want of expression to live up to the bounty nature offers you!

Though Neelakurinji, Strobilanthus Kunthianus flowers in many other parts of Western Ghats too it never goes as gregariously, rigorously and riotously as it does on the hillsides in Eravikulam. And you may also stumble across many other kurinjis in Eravikulam, that keep different calendars and different time schedules, but none brings such drama to a place as these nondescript, seemingly innocuous plants at your feet.

While other parts of the Western Ghats where kurinji blooms are slowly dwindling because of human interference, Eravikulam continues to hold out as green oases in the midst of our greed. 

Muthuvans, the local tribals tell you how sweet the honey they gather during the season would be with the bees swarming in from distant places to take part in their once-in-a-lifetime festival. Scientists say the gregarious blooming of the kurinji flowers could be part of its survival mechanism. 

After all how much honey can the bees gather from a sea of blue flowers! 

So where will you be this time when the green turns blue at the mountains of Eravikulam?


A sea of blue flowers! 

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