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

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

Munnar hills

Once upon a time, Kerala, the land I have so come to cherish and love as my own, was part of Tamilakam. An ancient land in an ancient time.  Nearly two millennia ago modern Kerala and Tamil Nadu were all one, tumbling down from ancient hills to the very lap of a then-nameless ocean. This was the much celebrated Sangam period from the third century BCE to the third Century CE, renowned especially for its remarkable efflorescence of poetry. Sangam love poetry, soft and lilting in a now forgotten language, brings alive the saga of my land, its hills, meadows, plains, and seashores.  It uses the poetic device called Thinai, where a landscape, its flowers, its natural flora, and topography is associated with a particular thinai. Thus there were five thinais,  kurinji with mountains as its motif whose evocative mood is union, mullai for forests and waiting, marutham for farmlands and quarrel, palai for desert and separation, and neytal for sea shores and pining. The beauty of Kerala is that it encompasses all these geographical features, just as its people and their passions, their tales and lives, embrace the moods and colours so beautifully evoked by the thinai poetics. Thus it was that on a warm summer evening on the beautiful shores of Kovalam, where the sea lay swooning in the arms of a gentle tropical breeze, I stood steeped in a neytal sense of longing, a longing for the distant mountains of the Western Ghats, a pining for the kurinji. As the ocean’s whispers were lulled by the sands of the serene cove, I heard a call of the kurinji in the waves. It was as though the Sangam poets were singing in my ears and urging me to set out in quest of the kurinji. 


Kovalam Beach

The purple brooding evening sky of the famous Kovalam beach was silhouetted by the boats coming ashore, and as the sun broke the sea mirror in the horizon into a thousand shards and painted its resplendent red into each cloud, I decided that it was time to start my journey for the kurinji blue. Not only did I want to see the mountains but also the famous kurinji blooms that once in every twelve years transform Kerala’s the Western Ghats into a sea of blue. The Neelakurinji year was here once again after years of tireless pining and longing, and to see its surreal beauty at least once in one’s lifetime was a dream that I had cherished for long.    


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

Munnar hills Once upon a time, Kerala, th ...more

Kovalam to Cochin via Alappuzha… and the Pazham Pori

An evening shot of Kovalam beach  From K ...more

Road trip from Alappuzha to Cochin

The Alappuzha Beach The one hour drive fr ...more

Dosa’s of Aluva 

As I neared Aluva, I realized that my stomach had ...more

Kothamangalam and its culture of farming 

The topography I was traversing would be what the ...more

Neriamangalam to the dream destination 

From Neriamangalam begins the Mullai or forest ter ...more

At the foothills of Western Ghats – Adimali 

Adimali Town   In another half an hour ...more

'World’s End' at Pothanmedu

Pothenmedu  I drove on to my hotel which ...more

Off to Eravikulam – the abode of Kurinji and Varayadu 

Thalayar Tea Estate, situated on the way to Erav ...more

Kurinji laden hills of Munnar 

It is difficult to describe a scene as breath taki ...more

Marayoor and the Sandalwood forest  

The hills of Marayoor It was with a heavy ...more

The Mattupetty and the Top Station – view points of Kurinji flowers 

I reached Munnar town and drove onwards to the Top ...more