13 flowers to make you love South India – Part II

No matter how different shorelines seem to be; flowers shooting up from the tiniest shrub or highest treetops add elegance to South Indian culture. These flowers below are special in terms of charm.

A floral charm that adds to the larger scheme of things in South India.

9. China Rose

“One told me of China Roses,
Earth’s last picture, the end of evening”

China rose blooming in the southern sun
China rose blooming in the southern sun

In her song, China Roses, Enya refers to this tropical flower as Earth’s last picture and the end of evening. The later made sense to me when china roses – covered in a trail of black ants that carried nectar home. Watching this tiny intend to sustain and return home hinted at many expat South Indians holidaying here.

China Rose
South India’s tropical rose

However, these tropical flowers synonym with Polynesian lifestyles; which reminds me of early settlers in Hawaii. The people who are often stereotyped with grass skirts and china roses behind their ears. Albeit, Hawaii people shared a few similarities with South India’s early aboriginals. For example; Polynesian catamarans and their closeness to the sea is characteristic to South India’s ancestors. China roses that thrive in South Indian soil represent forgotten cultural ties with the Pacific islanders.

10. Lotus

In a region steeped in myths and legends; the mythical lotus is quite hard to spot in its natural state.

Yellow sacred lotus thriving in isolation
Floating in peace

South India practiced Buddhism for a millennia and the sacred lotus or waterlily guards that fact. Lotus flowers symbolize detachment in Buddhism since water slides off easily from its waxy petals. The lotus flower and the quietness that it represents are rare in South Indian cities now.

11. Kurinji

So many people travel the world over only to return to the pride of South India, Kerala. Heavy monsoons pepper the state with backwaters, lakes and rivers a plenty. With beaches, rolling hills, cathedrals, temples and forested lands all over the state; there’s something for any traveler with a romantic ambition. From the outside, people wouldn’t have any idea that the unassuming land of heritage and pristine nature holds a secret; the Kurinji flowers.

Munnar Valley blooming with Nilakurunji
Munnar Valley blooming with Nilakurunji

I read up on these rare flowers from the Nilgiri hills and learned about their significance. Hills in Munnar, Kerala, bear Neela-kurinji flowers that bloom once in a Jupiter year. The purplish blue flowers impart a bluish glow to the Nilgiri or Blue Mountain.

12. Flame of the forest

Among the many pretty flowers that grow in the small and big neighborhoods of South India, none holds people’s attention for as long as these flowers do.

Treetops are up in flames with flame of the forest flowers.
Treetops are up in flames

Those who take notice are in a trance. To them the scarlet flowers are just as enticing as a raging fire aflame on treetops.

13. Rose periwinkle

To think that these tiny flowers that grow in alleyways and near drains in South India are endangered in its natural habitat in Madagascar.

Rose Periwinkle
Simple in pink

Deforestation, in Madagascar, uprooted the periwinkle’s natural habitat. Like many Sri Lankan immigrants in South India, who share the same fate; the rose periwinkles, seem to renew their lives in alien surroundings. However, societies and nature are not kind to both these immigrants – the Sri Lankan people and the rose periwinkles.


Click Here to Read Part 1


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