Neelakurinji blooms beckon tourists, chopper rides on offer

The mass blooming of the Neelakurinji flower (Strobilanthes kunthiana) in Kodagu district is giving the much-needed boost to the state’s tourism sector.

Published: 27th August 2021 05:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2021 11:15 AM   |  A+A-

Neelakurunji flowers bloom at a hillock in Kodagu district | forest department

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The mass blooming of Neelakurngi in Coorg has made it a rallying point for wildlife enthusiasts, botanists, photographers and tourists.

The blooming at the hillocks of Mandalpatti and Kote Betta in Kodagu, tourism has also taken up the north. Since the blooming has happened for the first time in a such a massive scale and is after 12 years, more so after tourism activities have opened up after the pandemic, every one are heading to India's Scotland to see them. 

The new entrant in the list to draw tourists is heli- tourism. As the state government and the tourism department are trying the revive the long pending heli- tourism, a firm in Bengaluru has undertaken a heli- ride to Kodagu and surrounding areas, giving an areal view of the blooming Neelakurunji flowers on the hillocks. 

Govind Nair, Director, Thumby Aviation Private Limited said already one trip from Yelahanka air base to Coorg was done earlier this week. Now it is being offered as a part of the Nowhere trip to Coorg, a package tour, where a detour to Mandalapatti will be done. 

Tourism packages and inineraries are being revamped on the go, depending upon the blooming and withering of the flowers. But since it is a once in 12 years sighting, many resorts are offering a visit to the region as a part of the package, to draw more crowds. 

Trekking and flying has now taken the front seat to draw tourists. Even as the recent guidelines of the ministry of aviation states that drones are prohibited over national 

parks, wildlife sanctuaries and other eco- sensitive places, conservationists and foresters object to helicopters flyover over the region. They point not just is the area a fragile Western Ghats region, little is know the species in Kodagu and so all precaution should be exercised to safeguard them. 

Botanists point that utmost care should be taken in the area as the flowering in this part of Western Ghats has not been recorded and documented. Karnataka as around 45 species of Kurunjis and in different altitudes different species have been recorded. Each species blooms at different intervals like once in six years, nine years, 11 or 12 years. So administration must ensure that tourism and footfall is limited to the region, so that they are well protected. 


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