The Nilgiris hills is witnessing mass flowering of Kurinji -known as `Strobilanthes Kunthianus’ -in Kinnakorai and Manjore areas of the hill resort.
Tourists are making a beeline to the area to have a view of the blossoming shrub that has caught their attention. Kurinji, synonymous with the Nilgiris district in the past, has once again brought this hill town into the limelight. Many species of this grow wild in various parts of Nilgiris once in 7 to 12 years at an altitude between 6,000 and 7,000 feet.
There are nearly 200 species of `Strobilanthes’, mostly in Asia, and the Nilgiris has more than 30 species, of which the best known and most profusely growing one is the `Strobilanthes Kunthianus’, which blossoms once in 12 years. The Nilgiri Hills, which literally means “the blue mountains”, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms gregariously only once in 12 years. Paliyan tribal people who live here apparently used it to calculate their age.