Head to Bababudangiri to see Neelakurinji

Neelakurinji flower at Bababudangiri hilly range in Chikkamagaluru. DH photos / A N Murthy

After a 12-year break, Neelakurinji (strobilanthes kunthiana) has blossomed and come alive on the hilly ranges of Bababudangiri in Chikkamagaluru taluk.

The hillock will turn into an expanse of purple flowers, a sight to behold, within a few days.

Once in 12 years, a magical natural phenomenon occurs in the hills of Bababudangiri, attracting thousands of visitors.

Bababudangiri is situated 1,800 metres above sea level. The flowers have started blooming on a few locations near Bababudanswamy Dargah.

Neelakurinji flower normally blooms from September to November. The flower had spread its purple carpet in September and October of 2006.

Speaking to DH, Kuvempu University Applied Botany lecturer Dr Y L Krishnamurthy said, “Strobilanthes kunthiana belongs to Acanthaceae family. It blossoms once in 12 years. I had seen the flower once in the hilly ranges.”

The flower was first spotted on the banks of River Kunthi in silent valley of Kerala. Hence, it was named Kunthiana. It is normally found in the Shola grassland in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Neelagiri hillock received its name due to the flower, he explained.

The flower blooms in the cold weather after the monsoon. It is a shrub plant, which has medicinal value as well.

The flower blooms in Bababudangiri, Kudremukh and Kodachadri in Karnataka. There are several species of the plant. One of the species ‘strobilanthes sessilis’ blooms every year, he added.

The locals are curious to know whether the flower blooms in Mullayanagiri and Seethalayyanagiri hilly ranges.

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