Idukki: Idukki`s Shalomkunnu (Shalom hills) under the Santhanpara Panchayat are blossoming with the blue Neelakurinji flowers, which blooms once every 12 years. Strobilanthes kunthiana, known as Neelakurinji and Kurinji in Malayalam and Tamil, is a shrub that is found in the Shola forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The Nilgiris Hills, which means “blue mountains”, got its name from these Neelankurinji flowers. This time over 10 acres of Neelakurinji flowers have covered the Shalomkunnu. However, these hills are not open for tourists this time due to COVID-19.

“This time owing to Covid, tourists are not allowed to visit the hills. The flowering of Neelakurinji known as Strobilanthes kunthiana is special for people in Idukki. But along with it, efforts must be taken to conserve such rich biodiversity,” said Binu Paul, a native who studies keenly on the biodiversity of Idukki.

The complete blossoming of these flowers after 12 long years comes after isolated flowering was reported last year from Anakara Mettu Hills of the Western Ghats bordering Tamil Nadu, Puttady near Thondimala, and the border village of Shantanpura Gram Panchayat. Isolated flowering happens in various areas in the western ghats during different seasons.

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