Jatayu Nature Park

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It’s interesting how ancient mythology still plays such an important role in modern-day life. The Jatayu Nature Park, which has recently been renamed Jatayu Earth Center, is one such shining example. Based in Chadayamangalam in the southern district of Kollam, Kerala, this park is expected to become fully functional only after 17nth August, 2017.

This rock-themed park is about 38km from the tourism city of Kollam and about 46 km from the capital city of Trivandrum, where the nearest airport is located. This hillock nature park is based on the story of the great mythical bird Jatayu from the Ramayana; Hindu mythology has it that the demi-god Jatayu has the form of an eagle and tried to rescue Sita from Ravana while he was abducting her to Lanka. Even though Jatayu fought valiantly, he was old and Ravana soon got the better of him by clipping off his wings. Jatayu is believed to have fallen on that hillock in Chadayamangalam as he was mortally wounded. It is said that Rama and Lakshmana chanced on him while they were searching for Sita and he tells them how he was unable to rescue her from the clutches of Ravana who was heading southwards.

When ready, this sculpture will be 200ft long, 150 feet wide and 70 feet high, thus making it the largest bird sculpture in the world, with an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. The sculpture will also have a magnificently designed 15,000 sq ft of floor area that would house a 6D theatre, digital museum, an adventure training zone with 20 games, facility for bird’s eye viewing from the magnificent height of 1000m above sea level, and an amazingly designed Ayurvedic and Siddha cave resort. Then there will also be the first-of-its-kind ultra-modern cable car rides in south India.

These cable cars are imported from Switzerland and can accommodate 8 visitors at a time. There are 16 cable cars available that have a clear glass body, allowing the tourist to have unimpeded views of the magnificent sculpture as well as the surrounding amazing hills and valleys. The cable cars will carry passengers over an elevated distance of 500m from base camp to the top in about 5 minutes. This should make for an amazing experience – no need to go to strife-ridden Jammu and Kashmir or expensive international holidays to enjoy the thrills of a cable car ride, when we have them right in our own domain!

The park sprawls over an expansive area of 65 acres, with the sculpture sitting atop the hillock; it is basically made of cement with a stone cladding. The audio-visual museum set within the sculpture will exhibit relevant glimpses from the Ramayana. The adventurous ones can enjoy experiences in archery, rifle shooting, rock climbing, bouldering as well as the more playful paint bomb, laser tag, etc.

The Jatayu Earth Center is a shining example of eco-friendly tourism as it’s located in an area surrounded by rolling hills with caves and green valleys with shimmering water bodies scattered nearby. The entry into this area for those coming from the south on MC road is about one kilometer before the Chadayamangalam junction; the same road curves round and exits at the same point. Roads are good and make for easy driving with magnificent scenery on all sides and restaurants are easily available, making for a comfortable trip.

Come Onam, 2017, and the Jatayu Earth Center will definitely be on everyone’s itinerary!