India is a land of myths and legends. From birds to places to people – it is not surprising to see mythology, lore, and history blending perfectly with our modern everyday fast-paced life. The Jatayu Earth Centre, at Chadayamangalam near Kollam, Kerala, is an interesting example of how mythology still touches and inspires us. At the heart of this one of a kind, the rock-themed nature park is a statue of the giant bird mythical Jatayu from the ‘Ramayana’. A trip to this innovatively designed tourism spot will leave you in awe at the pure genius behind scaling up the legend of a mythical bird into one of the best examples of sustainable and responsible tourism in India. Here’s what you need to know before you go to Jatayu Earth Centre.
How the mythical bird spread its wings
More than a decade ago, Chadayamangalam was just one of those small towns that you passed by as you drove down the Main Central Road connecting Trivandrum to Kottayam and beyond. A quaint town with a link to the Ramayana. It was believed that Lord Rama and His brother Lakshmana chanced upon the giant bird Jatayu mortally wounded on the hillside during their trip to find Sita Devi. The bird who had valiantly fought to save Sita from the clutches of Ravana breathed his last on Lord Rama’s lap after passing on the information. There is a small temple dedicated to Lord Rama on the hillock and a footprint believed to have been His. However, the rocky hillock on which the temple stood was under threat of mining. A bunch of activists rallied against it. Their struggle was a huge success and it was decided that a sustainable, eco-friendly tourism project would be set up on this hillock. In the course of time, it was decided that this project spread across 65 acres would be the first Public-Private Partnership tourism initiative under the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model in the state.
Renowned sculptor and filmmaker Rajiv Anchal who had always nursed the idea of creating a work which would stand the test of time stepped in. The project was planned meticulously and hours of hard toil was clocked before the giant bird statue and the Jatayu Earth Centre took shape.
The towering Jatayu Statue
The main highlight of the Jatayu Earth Centre is the mighty statue of Jatayu – 200 feet long, 150 feet wide and 70 feet tall, making it the largest functional bird statue in the world. According to the creator Mr. Rajeev Anchal, Jatayu is an embodiment of valor and chivalry, a great symbol of a brave being laying down his own life to save a woman’s honor. He adds that each guest at the center should be inspired by the bird’s valor in this day and time when crimes against women are on the rise. And what makes this giant sculpture unique is the fact that it has utility spaces. The 15, 000 sq ft area inside the statue houses will house a 6D theatre with a Ramayana Theme and will be open only in the next phase.
The four hills
The Jatayu Earth Centre is built around the statue of the giant bird, and it encompasses four hills. It is on the Hill number one that you find this huge sculpture. There is a cable car to ride up this hill which also includes the Rama Temple.
Hill two is ideal for corporate team building programs including adventure activities and trekking. Hill 3 opens up avenues for zip lining and camps. Hill four offers a herbal garden, Ayurveda resort, and Siddha caves.
The crowd pullers
An ultra-modern cable car is a highlight. These cable cars are imported from Switzerland and can accommodate eight people at a time. The five-minute cable car ride will give you a breathtaking view as you glide over the greens to the top of the hill. The Centre also boasts of a heli-cab and you can book rides online.
Can I just walk in?
Since its inauguration, the Jatayu Earth Centre has seen a huge rush. So, it is ideal to search for tariff and book your tickets online in advance. For more details click here.
How far is it from The Raviz?
The Jatayu Earth Centre is situated at Chadayamangalam and it takes approximately two hours to drive from The Leela Raviz Kovalam and The Raviz Resort and Spa Ashtamudi. If you are someone who loves a dash of adventure, just tell us and we will organize a trip for you to Jatayu Earth Centre.
How to reach?
Situated on the Main Central Road, it is easy to reach the Jatayu Earth Centre from Trivandrum and Kollam.