Kurinjimala Sanctuary or Neelakurinji National Park is a National park in Kerala state. This park is home to Neelakurinji flowers (Strobilanthes kunthiana), which blossoms once in 12 years. August to October is expected to be the Neelakurinji flowering season.
Neelakurinji flowers once in 12 years. The last Neelakurinji flowering season was in 2006. Around one million tourists flocked to the hill station during the last flowering season.
Neelakurinji next bloom is expected to be from August to October, next year; i.e. 2018. With the popularity of social media and the liking for selfies, it is expected that millions of tourists will be visiting Kurinjimala Sanctuary next year.
As a long-term measure to protect the biodiversity of the area, 32 square kilometers of area in Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages of Devikulam Taluk in Iddukki district was declared as a protected sanctuary by the state government in 2016. It was named as “Kurinjimala Sanctuary”.
October 2018 Update on Neelakurinji
Neelakurinji flowering season has almost come to an end. These flowers has dried at many places. it is extremely difficult to get the pass to visit the areas, as the number of passes per day is limited. Eravikulam National park issues 500 passes per day and online booking is available.
With recent heavy rain forecast for October first and second weeks, the entry to these areas also seems to be restricted or banned. Please check with the forest department before heading to Munnar and surrounding areas.
How Do I Go to Kurinjimala Sanctuary alias Neelakurinji National Park?
Kurinjimala sanctuary is situated close to the world famous hill station town, Munnar.
You can reach Munnar by road from cities like Kochi, Kottayam,Alappuzha in Kerala state are at around 175,190 and 220 kilometers distance, respectively. Cities like Bodinayakanur, Cumbum, Theni, in Tamilnadua state are also close to the Kurinjimala National park at around 107, 125, 131 kilometers distance, respectively. Nedumbrassery.
Angamaly railway station and Aluva railway station on the Ernakulam – Palakkad railway line, are two nearby stations, at around 160 – 165 kilometers away. Ernakulam North railway station (Ernakulam Town) and Ernakulam South (Eenakulam Junction) railway stations are two MAJOR nearby railway stations, at around 175 kilometers distance.
Cochin International Airport is at around 157 kilometers distance. Madurai International Airport is at around 215 kilometers distance. Tiruchirapalli International Airport (trichy airport) is at around 300 kilometers distance.
Environmental Dangers Associated with Neelakurinji Bloom 2018
With millions of tourists expected to watch Neelakurinji flower next bloom at Kurinjimala sanctuary, Munnar and its nearby areas are likely to face severe environmental problems.
There are direct and indirect damages to the environment. Indirect damage includes pollution caused by vehicles, increase in the usage of fossil fuels to satisfy the needs of the extra tourists, etc.
Tourists have to be educated to be extra careful, not to throw away plastic bags, pet bottles, plastic packing materials, etc, in the area. Those trying to get selfies deep inside the sanctuary, should be educated not to damage the plants and shrubs in the area. Biodiversity of this delicate area should be preserved at any cost.
I greatly appreciate your comments on how we can protect the environment from further damage.
Are you going to be a responsible tourist during the next Neelakurinji blooming time?