Kochi: Tourist destinations in the state are once again booming with activity after the devastating flood. There is an heavy inflow of visitors from North Indian states to witness ‘Neelakurinji’ which is being sold through tour packages.
Neelakurinji’ (Strobilanthes kunthiana) is a purple blue flower that blossoms once in 12 years, and the tropical plant species is found in Shola forests of the Western Ghats in Munnar.
“We’ve started one day ‘Neelakurinji’ special tour package from September 15 after receiving many enquiries from outside starting from the first week of this month. So far over 300 tourists, including groups from Maharashtra and Delhi, have availed of the package and enjoyed the massive flowering of Neelakurinji in the hills of Eravikulam National Park,” said Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council Secretary S. Vijayakumar.
While bookings for next two weeks are full, nearly 1,000 reservations have already been made till December. “The DTPC has tied up with the ‘Kerala City Tour’ which operates a 40-seater and 20-seater AC push back seat vehicles daily. We’re planning to increase the buses being operated by next week,” he said.
The Eravikulam National Park, located nearly eight km from Munnar Town, wore a deserted look when the first trip was conducted on September 15. However, the park was full with visitors in the subsequent days.
“The rare flowers have blossomed all over the tourist zone of the National park. The tourist flow has picked up since September 15 and long queues are being witnessed before ticket counter during holidays and weekends. We’re appealed visitors to avail online ticket booking facility as we’ve started allocating time slots from this season onwards to control the rush,” said S. Sandeep, Assistant Wild Life Warden, Eravikulam National Park.
“The one day tour package was found to be an ideal one. The authorities have made temporary arrangements after the floods caused widespread damage in the area. A temporary bridge was opened instead of damaged Periyavara Bridge on Munnar-Marayoor route, while the roads affected by landslides have been restored, though only one-way traffic is possible in three to four stretches. The hotels and restaurants too are back to business,” said S Gopakumar, a native of Kochi who availed the one-day tour package....