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Blue bounty blossoms

Nature is unfurling one of its wonders after 12 years and the green-buffs are flocking to the Western Ghats to witness a riot of blue.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 01:48 IST

Nature is unfurling one of its wonders after 12 years and the green-buffs are flocking to the Western Ghats to witness a riot of blue. Neela kurinji — a rare blossom — is opening its petals. Once it does, the 95-km stretch of the shola grassland between Kodaikanal to Munnar will turn velvet blue by August. Sporadic blooms have been sighted on the Munnar and the Tamil Nadu side of the ghats.

The last time it bloomed in 1994, the area drew crowd by the hordes. As the plant's biological clock ends a 12-year cycle, the hilly terrain (1,800 metres and above) is teeming with activity. Local tour operators are gearing up to tackle the rush.

Nearly five lakh people are expected to converge on Munnar and the surrounding areas to witness the event - which confounds the scientific brood.

But this time, the bloom may not be as spectacular as the previous years, nature lovers warn. Mindless logging, massive planting of wattle trees and encroachment might stem the blue tide.

"Kurinji will soon become a thing of the past. Serious efforts are on to save the wonder bloom from extinction," rues G. Rajkumar of the Save Kurinji Campaign Council (SKCC).

The SKCC is planning a Kurinji Yatra from Kodaikanal to Munnar on May 21 to rally public opinion for the flower which gave the Nilgiris (blue mountain) its name.

First Published: May 10, 2006 01:48 IST