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The amazing sight of the Indian flower that blooms every 12 years

The amazing sight of the Indian flower that blooms every 12 years Navaneeth Kishor on Flickr

There are still few days to admire the spectacular blue carpet that covers the slopes of the Ghati mountains, in the South of India. Then you have to wait 12 years: because the flower Kurinji or Neelakurinji that covers them only blooms once every 12 years, from August to October, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists.

Neelakurinji in the local language means blue flower (Neela) (Kurinji). This tiny mountain flower shaped like a bright blue bell is a rare flower that does not grow anywhere else: only in the Indian state of Kerela on the border with Tamil Nadu. There are different varieties of this flower, some have a flowering cycle of less than 7 years, but the most famous reach the 12 years.

The Kurinji flower grows above all on the slopes where there is little flora and in the absence of trees. It is a flower with a tall stem, which can reach 30-60 cm, and when it blooms the whole bush is covered with bright blue flowers.

The Kurinji are the flowers of the god Murugan, the youngest son of the god Shiva. Tradition has it that Murugan married Valli, a wood nymph, weaving a wreath of Kurinji flowers around his neck. Since then the Kurinji flower has become a symbol of love and romance. In the Paliya tribe the age of the people is calculated with the number of Neelakurinji blooms that they saw.

Even this flower is struggling for its survival: the blue carpets are shrinking due to climate changes and crops. The first to endanger these expanses were the English settlers with their plantations of coffee, pines, eucalyptus.