In search of my Kurinji: The Tale of a Land across Time

The splendour of the blue mountains, the swooning beauty of the sea of blue buds beneath and the airy blue above....drowning in all the beautiful blues

Off to Eravikulam – the abode of Kurinji and Varayadu 

Thalayar Tea Estate, situated on the way to Eravikulam

I woke up early since I wanted to skip the heavy traffic in Munnar town. After bidding adieu to the friendly hotel staff, I once again hit the winding road going down. Dawn was yet to arrive but the woods on either side were filled with feathered choristers who were probably practicing the morning anthem. The air was cold and the tress stood still in frosty silence. I soon reached the as yet sleeping town and cut across to the Chinnar road. This route has some of the best tea gardens in the world. In about 15 minutes I had reached the entry to the famous Eravikulam National Park. This is a highly protected reserve park where the endangered Nigiri Tahr has been nursed back to a reasonable population. The entry time was 7.30 am and I parked the vehicle and decided to walk ahead for some time after having a morning tea from one of the tea stalls in the front of the entrance. Slinging the camera I strolled up the path. The tea plantation workers had silently began plucking the fresh leaves and I slithered down to the narrow estate paths. On one side in the distance the mountains were visible and on the other the rolling hills and the sensuous green of the tea gardens. In between were the Gulmohars in full bloom, rubbing on its petals the sun’s fiery hues and laughing in mirth at the parrot green below. The valleys and glades were waking up to another day. I looked closely at all the hills but there were no kurinji blooms that I could discern. The enigmatic flowers seemed to be giving me the slip. I sat on a little ridge listening to the sound of water coming from somewhere below. The stream was not visible but the sound was enough to reassure the mind that this moist earth would sustain this beauty for ages to come.

The van

As I trekked back to the Park entrance vehicles had started pulling up. I took the ticket and was soon seated in a forest van that would take me up to the reserve. No private vehicles are allowed beyond this point and I took note of the fact that there was a quiet efficiency in the way in which the forest officials were running the show. No amount of care and protection were enough for this fragile terrain or the ebullient Nilgiri Tahr. The van purred to life and surged ahead on the mountain path, up the slopes. What I saw next is beyond me to describe. After passing the tea gardens, and some of the most beautiful ones I had seen at that, we crested a few hills and reached a point where the rolling hills became clearly visible. And lo and behold many of these hills were dancing violet fields where the Kurinji had bloomed in millions!!!  


In search of my Kurinji: The Tale of a Land across Time

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