We recommend you find time for Rainforest Munnar in your 2018 travel itinerary. Come over this year to greet the Neelakurinji blossoms; a once-in-twelve-years spectacle.
Starting late July, the Anamalai hills near Munnar in Kerala will be resplendent, clad in a purplish blue carpet. The famed neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) will burst into flower - a phenomenon that occurs once in 12 years. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the Munnar hills to behold the spectacle that lasts up until October. This is the best time to visit Kerala and experience this natural beauty.
Munnar is home to the highest concentration of neelakurinji plants in the country - spread over 3,000 hectares of rolling hills. Each shrub reproduces once in its life time and dies after flowering. It takes another 12 years for the seeds to sprout again and grow up to 30 to 60 centimetres high, for another glorious bloom.
The neelakurinji belongs to the genus Strobilanthes, which is a tropical plant species found in Asia and Australia. There are about 450 species of Strobilanthes in the world, of which 146 are found in India and of them, about 43, in Kerala. The blooming of neelakurunji this year has ensured the fourth most important place for the Western Ghats in the Lonely Planet’s 2018 Best in Asia.