Neelakurinji ( Strobilanthes kunthiana) has started blooming in areas like Rajamala in Eravikulam National Park, Korandakadu mountain ranges, and Kottakamboor in Vattavada fueling the controversies and desires of anthophilous alike.
The Department of Forest in Kerala forecast another blooming season to start only in August 2018 in Idukki, where kurinji last blossomed in 2006. However, controversies related to Neelakurinji and the planned reserve have already bloomed in Idukki.
How to reach: Tourists can purchase tickets to Rajamala from Eravikulam National Park. The forest department will take visitors in a special buses to the protected area to see Neelakurinjis.
The Korandakadu ranges falls on the Munnar–Mattupetty route. The pretty blue flowers can already be seen at Kottakamboor in Vattavada, including the places where the tribal community swells.
Controversy without any boundaries
A heated debate has been brewing within the ruling coalition ever since the government has decided to redraw the boundaries of the Neelakurinji reserve. As per a government order issued on 6th December 2006, the 3200 hectares of land which come under block numbers 62 and 58 at Vattavada and Kottakamboor villages respectively, has been notified as Neelakurinji reserve. The current controversy surrounding the reserve kick started when the revenue additional chief secretary P H Kurian said that when the boundaries of the reserve are redrawn, it is likely that the total areal of the reserve may shrink by at least 1200 hectares.
It's Neelakurinji vs Eucalyptus
Neelakurinji can still be seen at the Eravikulam national park just because it is a protected area. But this is not the situation at Chokramudi, Lakshmi mountain ranges, Vattavada, and Kottakamboor areas where the land grabbing has completely destroyed kurinji's habitats. Apart from adversities like forest fires, unscientific constructions of resorts by land mafia also have endangered the blooming of Neelakurinji. The land mafia has even turned the kurinji reserves at Vattavada and Kottakamboor areas into large orchards of Eucalyptus grandis.
Resorts ‘bloom’ here
It is estimated that there are around 10,000 rooms in total at all the hotels, resorts and home stays in Munnar area. About 70 per cent of these rooms have been built after the last Neelakurinji season in 2006.