குறிஞ்சி மலர், Strobilanthes Kunthiana – This is a mountain shrub that blooms once in 12 years.
Kurinji malar will bloom again in 2018. It is also called Kurinjipoo and Neelakurinji. It can grow only in elevations over 6,000 feet. It is the mountain flower par excellence.
Kurinjimalar is described extensively in Sangam literature in Kurunjipattu, MaduraiKanchi and Akananuru. It belongs to the Acanthaceae family. This flower is what gives the name ‘Nilagiri’ to the Ooty hills. Strobilanthes has been derived from two Greek words meaning ” a flower relating to resembling a cone”, that is cone-head. Kunthiana has been derived from the River Kunthi which flows through the Silent Valley National Park in Kerala.
The Kurinji plant can be seen in Tamil Nadu in the Ooty and Kodaikanal hills. In Kerala, they can be seen in the Munnar and Idukki areas. The Kurinji plant is a tall bush and can grow upto 10 feet. Its clustered blooms can be seen between August and November. It dies after blooming, and re-seeds and blooms again in twelve years.
This thinai is named after the Kurinji flower – It is Mountains and adjoining lands. Named after the kurinji flower that blooms once in 12 years in mountain slopes. Kurinji and Kanthal flowers grow in the mountains. Murugan is the god of the kurinji land, and bears, tigers and elephants, parrots and peacocks live there. Wild rice, millet, and tubers are grown. Sandal wood trees abound. Honey collection and millet raising is done. சிறுகுடி , குறிச்சி are where people live. Springs and waterfalls abound. Music is created with குறிஞ்சி யாழ் and குறிஞ்சிப் பண்.
The subject of the poems are usually the secret meeting of lovers, which might be at the millet field, or at night when the heroine slips out of the house evading her mother, and the mother suspects that her daughter is up to mischief.
This thinai signifies mountains, night times, cool seasons with morning dew, peacocks, parrots, monkeys, elephants, horses, bulls, waterfall, jackfruits, bamboo, hill tribes, guarding and harvesting millet and above all lover’s union. The most beautiful love poetry in Sangam literature, is in the kurinji thinai.
Please go to my site http://www.sangamtranslationsbyvaidehi.com to see translations of all the poems with kurinji flowers – Vaidehi
List of poems with kurinji flowers:
அகநானூறு – 102, 308
குறிஞ்சிப்பாட்டு – 63
குறுந்தொகை – 3
சிறுபாணாற்றுப்படை – 267
திருமுருகாற்றுப்படை – 239, 267
நற்றிணை – 116, 255, 268, 301
பரிபாடல் – 9
புறநானூறு – 374
பெரும்பாணற்றுப்படை – 182
பொருநராற்றுப்படை – 218
மதுரைக்காஞ்சி – 300, 613
மலைபடுகடாம் – 334, 359