An architectural masterpiece is not just simply made out or defined by some glass, steel or concrete. But it has something more to be described. It is made out by an outstanding work of art or craft by an artist with his passion and love. Every masterpiece in this world is a masterwork. It tells us something about the era and culture in which they were built, their significance, etc. It is a person’s greatest piece of work, which is remarked by golden letters in world’s history.
So let us try to explore one such masterpiece, i.e., Jatayu Para.
‘Para’ literally means rock. So Jatayu para can be literally known as Jatayu rock. Moreover, it is known by other names such as Jatayu Earth Center as well as Jatayu Nature Park.
Jatayu para is a park and tourism center situated in the God’s own country, Kerala. It is located at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district of Kerala, 51 km away from Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala’s Capital City). This park holds the world’s largest bird sculpture, which is of Jatayu. The sculpture stands at an altitude of 1200ft(350m) above the mean sea level. The sculpture is 200 feet long, 150 feet wide, 70 feet in height, and covers 15,000 square feet of floor area. It has 52 number of feathers.
There is an interesting story behind this beautiful massive sculpture – Jatayu was a demi-god in the Hindu epic, Ramayana. Jatayu had the form of a vulture. According to Ramayana, Jatayu tried to save Sita from hands of Ravana, when he was trying to abduct her to Lanka. Jatayu fought with Ravana in a valiant manner, but Jatayu was defeated by Ravana since he was very old. During the fight, Ravana clipped the wings and Jatayu fell onto the rocks in Chadayamangalam. Rama and Lakshmana found the dying Jatayu on the rock, while searching for Sita and informed them of the fight with Ravana and also told them that Ravana had headed South with Sita. Also, there is a pond near the rock and it is known that it has been formed by the hit of Jatayu’s beak during its fall. The sculpture represents the legend and symbolizes the protection of women, and their honour and safety.
This beautiful sculpture was sculpted by Rajiv Anchal. It took almost 7 years to be completed and was opened to visitors on 17 August 2018. This was the first Public-Private partnership tourism initiative in Kerala under the BOT model.
Jatayu Earth Center represents an outstanding example to the world with its geographic features that comprises of hills, valleys, caves and cultivable lands.
The main attractions of this park are spread over 4 Hills, and each of them offers a different experience to travelers with their activities and attractions. Other than the statue of Jatayu, it also has museum, adventure park, cave resort, which attract the adventurers and tourist to this spot. This huge rock offers a great trekking experience to travelers. The adventure zone has activities like Rappelling, Jummering, Bouldering, Valley crossing, Chimney climbing, Vertical ladder, Archery, Zip-line, Commando net, Rifle shooting, Log walking- which all attract adventures to this hill.
There is also rejuvenation hill to preserve the natural ecosystem, and it provides Siddha Rejuvenation in Natural caves that makes a perfect relaxation spot for travelers.
To promote organic farming, an agricultural society has been formed there. Stalls were set up by the people under the society, which provide farm fresh products to the visitors.
15,000 square feet of utility space is found inside the functional sculpture. A multi-dimension mini-theatre is set up inside the sculpture. A rain water reservoir has been constructed on the hill top, with a storage capacity of 1.5 million liters of water. It is also a representative of the legendary water source believed to have sustained Jatayu till he met Lord Rama. Another unique feature of Jatayupara is the integrated paint ball station, which spread out a lush green natural terrain.
An ancient Ram temple is also situated on top of the hill. Another attraction is a large footprint which is protected and displayed as the footprint of Lord Rama himself.
Cable Car is another interesting thing found here. The cable car has been imported from Switzerland which offers a bird eye’s view on its flight. Currently, 15 cars, each with a capacity of 8 passengers at a time are operational. Cable Car facility ensures that travelers can enjoy the breathtaking view of the winding valleys, hills and terrains. We can also reach the sculpture on foot, but most visitors prefer cable car ride as not to miss the thrilling and enchanting experience.
Visitors can also enjoy a variety of other activities such as campfire, moon light dinner, live kitchen, etc.
The total area of Jatayu Nature Park is 65 acres. The park’s first phase was worth Rs.100 crores (US$14 million). The park is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 8 pm, but adventure spot closes by 6 pm.
Jatayupara, not only provides scenic beauty with its large sculpture but also gives an experience of various other activities such as trekking, adventure spots, rejuvenation, cable car ride, etc.
By Adithya Surendran