I visited a princess crowned by misty hills. She is none other than Kodaikanal, the Princess of Hill Stations. She was wearing a brooch of rare blue Kurinji blooms that chose to adorn her only once in 12 years. What a glorious sight they were! A bee settled upon them and drunk their nectar to his heart’s content. It would probably be his only Neelakurinji feast.
Neela Kuriniji Flowers – blooms once in 12-years
Then, I spotted a trumpet which an angel had carelessly dropped from heaven. It was a snow-white flower called Angel’s Trumpet. As I touched the feather-soft blossom, I dug my heels into the ground, which was a challenging contrast. It is worth taking the tough path to experience the unspoiled beauty of nature.
A large, bushy tail appeared out of nowhere. It turned out to be that of a Malabar Grizzled Squirrel crunching his way through lunch. Since he refused to share it with me, I turned my attention to a Red Admiral Butterfly. His name speaks volumes about his beauty. He fluttered his way deeper into the woods, and I followed.
Malabar Grizzled Squirrel
Red Admiral Butterfly
A bunch of Himalayan Cherry Blossoms caught my eye. If you aren’t lucky enough to make it to Japan to see Sakura flowers, you can feast your eyes on their Indian version. These blushing pink flowers attract flocks of winged pirates which lap up their nectar and hop from branch to branch while keeping a watch on their mountain-scape with alert eyes that remind you of Zorro, the masked hero. Of course, I am talking about Oriental White-eye birds.
Himalayan Cherry Blooms / Rubber Tree by Natives
Oriental White Eye
Then, my heart flew and perched near a flock of flycatchers. It was a vibrant mix of Black & Orange Flycatchers, Grey Headed Canary Flycatchers and Nilgiri Flycatchers. Busy in animated conversation, they barely paid any attention to me. It was the only moment in my life when I wished I were a fly.
Black & Orange Flycatcher
Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher
Then, I turned into the Old Cemetery Road. The silent graveyard was guarded by a Long-tailed Shrike, who wore a pirate band around his eyes and sported a black knife-like tail. He stole my heart in a second. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large, yet graceful animal feasting on a grassy lunch.
Long Tailed Shrike
He was an Indian Gaur. Suddenly, he set his eyes upon me, silently inviting me to lock horns with him. I took one last look at his majestic form and backed off. He reminded me that the mountains were his home and I should be privileged to be his guest. I vowed to never give up and reluctantly returned to the urban jungle.
Trails & Photos by: Siluvai Amalan | Content by: Siluvai Amalan & Niranjani Ravi