A visit to Jatayu Nature Park – Rock wonder on earth

A rock wonder on Jadayu Rock (Jadayu Paara) stands at 850 feet height from sea level. World’s largest bird sculpture is really a great wonder. There lays the beautiful sculpture of Jadavu, a mythological character related to Hindu’s epic Ramayana. He spreads his beautiful wings in 150 feet width and 250 feet length. His sculpture is constructed at 75 feet height and its interior is like a big building with 15,000 square feet surface area. There is everything inside – A six dimensional theater with a projector which unfolds the visuals of Ravana – Jadayu air battle, panorama visuals of the surroundings and the sight of Arabian seas through either eyes of Jadayu, restaurant inside rock structures, cave Ayurveda therapy and many more. Yes, Jatayu Nature Park is the latest addition of Tourism map of Kerala.  

Jadayu Rock is situated in the lap of Western Ghats with green hills in dozens located across the area. Hills are named as Aalathara Mala, Thevannoor Mala, Paavuru Mala, Vayyaanam Mala, Ilamprakod Mala, Arkkannoor Mala etc. 

Who is Jadayu? How this rock named after him?

Raja Ravi Varma’s very famous ‘Jatayu wars with Ravana’

As per Hindu mythology, the bird Jadayu has great significance. When Ravana kidnapped Sita and flew in Pushpaka Vimana, he had to fight a battle with Jadayu. Sita’s cries echoed in the region, and hearing it Jadayu came to her rescue – Ramayana says. But Jadayu was defeated by Ravana and the bird lost his life to rescue a woman. As per belief, Jadayu resided in this rock and after his wings were cut by Ravana, he fell to the same rock where he took his last breath. Yes, Jadayu who lost his life in Thretha Yuga to injustice and became a victim of Chandrahaasa sword is given a new birth in Kali Yuga, many centuries later!

Where is Jatayu Nature Park situated?

This wonderland is situated in Chadayamangalam village of Kollam district, Kerala. Jadayu Paara (Jadayu rock) is surrounded by many hills & mountains, known by different names. Yes new sculpture of Jadayu is built exactly at the centre point of the hilly area, where skies and legends create new boundaries. Here each rock has a story to tell, like a single art piece. Nature is blessed with beauty and greenery and if you have paid visit here once, it’s not easy to forget the memories. Jadayu’s sculpture is someone’s dreams, creativity and imagination which turned to reality with colourful wings to fly. 

Jadayu in the Puranas

As per belief, after kidnapping Sita, Ravana flew over Jadayu rock in his Pushpaka Vimana to reach sri Lanka. Jadayu who resided in the rock happened to hear the screaming of Sita and he flew to reach Pushpaka Vimana to rescue her. A fierce battle was fought between Ravana and Jadayu, and the place known as Poredam still exists in Jadayu rock. It was Jadayu who attacked first, and he almost defeated Ravana as well. But Ravana used his special sword Chandrahaasam and cut the left wing of Jadayu. A great devotee of Siva, Ravana received this special sword from Siva, who asked him not to use it against people with good heart. But Ravana forgot Lord Siva’s words.

Kokkaruni – Believed to be sacred Ganga Theertham

The separated left wing fell to a place which later came to be known as Vettuvazhi.  Jadayu fell exactly to the same place where he resided, as per popular belief. Heartbroken Sita blessed Jadayu with Sri Rama Darshan and that he will get moksha too. When Rama reached Jadayu Rock in search of his beloved wife, he saw wounded Jadayu, and blessed him with Moksha as well.

As per beliefs, after the fight with Jadayu, Ravana had to change the direction of his Pushpaka Vimana to reach Lanka. He travelled from Chadayamangalam to Pampa Sarass & Sabarimala, and then took the route of Rameswaram, Dhanushkodi, and finally to Sri Lanka.

To sustain his life till the meeting with Lord Rama, Jadayu rubbed his beak against a particular rock which gave him water to drink. As per belief, the pond (Theertha Kulam) situated above the rock originated from this water source, which later came to be known as Kokkaruni. As per believers it’s Ganga water.

Each rock has scripted the great stories of Jadayu and Kokkaruni holds Ganga holy water (Theertham). Sree Rama’s footprints can also be seen in the rock, and that’s why the place gradually changed to Sri Rama temple.

Jadayu’s giant sculpture – Dream & creativity of an architect cum artist

Jadayu Rock in the construction phase

Rajeev Anchal – the well-known art & film director is the architect behind this lively sculpture of Jadayu. The idea took birth in his mind years ago during his college days when he used to travel through this place to college in KSRTC bus. He was studying sculpture those days. Jadayu rock stands about 1000 feet above the sea level; then why can’t a sculpture of Jadayu be constructed in this beautiful location? This question was planted in his mind during his regular journey from Anchal to Thiruvananthapuram. It stayed in his mind for a long time.

Later he started his professional career in cinema, became an art director and film director, whose 1997 Mohanlal film Guru became India’s official entry to Oscar awards in foreign film category. He continued his film journey and earned a reputed name in the field. By that time, Kerala’s Tourism department did a feasible study to build a sculpture on the top of Jadayu rock. Many artists and architects presented models before the government and Rajiv’s model got the final nod. Thus the rocks of Jadayu Paara which may be used for road construction was turned to one of the major tourist spots of Kerala.

A new model of rock art was made and slowly the project expanded to so many things. Cable car journey, cave tourism, adventure park, restaurant etc were included in the project. Thus Eco tourism project at Jadayu rock turned to be biggest approved project of Kerala government with B. O. T.  Through this project, a move for women’s safety initiated by Jadayu in the Thretha Yuga is being extended and wings are given to Jadayu to fly in his dreams. Apart from government, the project was supported by many well-wishers. And yes, a dream came true!

Rajiv has been always attracted by fantasy and he well explored the subject through his debut film, Guru. His creativity at Jadayu rock is only an extension of his imaginations and fantasies. Yes, it’s yet another representation of a very talented artist, giving wings to his fantasy thoughts.

Rebirth of Jadayu in an eco-friendly world

Jadayu project definitely owns certain specialties. The project has not disturbed the nature’s beauty in any way. Forest, hills, rocks, greenery and valleys – everything has been retained as such. It’s really a great achievement. The statue is 250 feet length, 150 feet width and 75 feet height, and its interior has 15K square feet surface area.

Restaurant inside rock structure

Through the visuals in the theatre, Ramayana and the battle between Jadayu & Ravana have been recreated, giving a visual treat to the spectators. The battle was pictured using modern digital audio vision museum and it is shown repeatedly. In one of Jadayu’s wings, Ramayana tale is also recreated as visuals through a theater. If you look through Jadayu’s right eye, you can see the wild blue Arabian seas, and Jadayu’s left eye give a panorama visual of the entire spot.

From rock’s surface the sculpture is created at 250 feet high. Two paths lead to the sculpture of jadayu Park – Rope way and Walk way. India’s latest cable car safari is waiting for the tourists. Rope way system imported from Switzerland is used here. 16 cars are there and each one can afford 8 people at a time. In one hour, the cars can transport up to 500 people. Glass covers are used for cars which give a great experience and air ride for the tourists. Among tourist destinations of India, Jadayu rock holds the best rope way, of course!

Second route to Jadayu rock is of course, Walk way, about 1.5 km distant. The path passes through mountain ranges, forests, stone steps and rocks which gives the traveller a trekking feel. It appears asif you are going through a jungle. Stone steps constructed using the traditional method ‘Kurukk Kett’ is the highlight of this path. Kurukk Kett used to be Kerala’s construction technique many years ago, rarely used nowadays. Without controlling the natural flow of rain water and without the use of cement, one stone is tied with another one in Kurukk Kett technique of construction. This construction is very rare,so are experienced people. In Jadayu Park, this technique was used under the guidance of 70-year old Balan Pillai. It has been a tedious effort for the past three years and he did it single handed by polishing more than 60,000 rocks during his hands. Polishing rocks was done by him.

‘Kurukk Kett’ technique used for steps leading to Garuda Rock

Cave tourism – Caves and houses in rocks

Caves converted as treatment centres

It’s really an amazing and astonishing achievement that not even a single rock was broken to implement Jadayu Tourism; it’s purely eco-friendly as well. There are many isolated rock structures here and there in Garuda rock. There are a few natural caves too, constructed by nature and several medicinal plants and trees.

A few such natural caves have been retained as such and converted to heeling caves where traditional Ayurvedic treatments are carried out. Rock structures have been converted to resorts. Centuries back, Ayurveda Sidha Treatment used to be practised in these caves and now those traditional treatment methods are brought back. Yes, there was a time when men lived in such caves, and when they left these dwelling structures, such traditional treatment methods also seized slowly. In fact many treatments get good positive results if they are conducted in natural caves. It’s for the first time in Kerala where cave tourism is promoted and implemented. Yes, cave tourism is quite unfamiliar to many, and through this project, it reaches the common people.

Jadayu rock for adventures – If you are interested

There is one adventure tourism zone in Jadayu Nature Park. Adventure park covers over 20 acres of land across different kinds of rock formations and gives trekking opportunities. Adventure tourism is conducted on some steep natural rocks, best suited for those who love adventures. Paintball which is available only in metro cities is arranged here in the backdrop of green nature. Low rope activities, laser tag, rock climbing, archery, air-rifle shooting, mountain biking, commando net, Burma bridge, bouldering, zip line travel and many fun-filled activities are also carried out. Small rest places, refreshing centres, fresh juice, rock structures and carvings etc on the trekking path takes you to a strange world which you are not familiar with, perhaps some centuries back.

Kodanda Rama Temple

Worship existed here centuries before Jadayu tourism came into existence. Special poojas are conducted for Lord Rama and Jadayu. Later Kodanda Rama idol was installed and temple was also constructed. Now renovation process of the temple is going on. Though Jadayu project comes under the tourism department of Kerala, Kodanda Rama Temple situated on the top of rocks is still governed by local people and a trust. There is one traditional path through rock way which leads to the temple.

Jadayu Rock is currently world’s biggest bird sculpture

Jadayu Rock may very soon earn the credit of world’s biggest bird sculpture. Not only that, Jadayu rock owns yet another credit too. In a short film of World Tourism which introduces important sculptures across the world, Jadayu Rock represents India.

The re-creation of Jadayu in present times is really significant. Nowadays newspaper columns and TV channels are filled with heartbreaking stories of women abuses, child abuses etc. Certain safety questions have been circulating, as she is not safe even in her own home. Jadayu was a true soul some centuries back, who sacrificed his life to save a woman from the clutches of an evil. Events are repeating with Ravanas travelling in Pushpaka Vimana around. Now Jadayus are needed in thousands who stand for woman’s safety, and the recreation of Jadayu gives this warm message for sure!

How to reach Jadayu Nature Park

Rain water reservoir at Garuda park

Chadayamangalam is situated in Thiruvananthapuram-Kottarakara M.C. Road, and 177 kms from Kochi. If you take Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam NH route, turn from Paripally to Chadayamangalam. Varkala is the nearest railway station which is 40 km away from Jadayu Park. Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest airport. There is one KSRTC bus stand in Chadayamangalam, only 1.5 Kms away from Jadayu Paara. Chadayamangalam, Kottarakara, Nilamel and Kilimanoor are the nearest towns, where you can get accommodations. To get more details, you can contact the number, 940004 47864.

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Sandy

A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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