When the giant sculpture of the mythological bird Jatayu’s is inaugurated in March 2018, in Kerala , India will be home to the world’s largest bird sculpture
There is a story that is familiar to almost every resident in Chadayamangalam village in Kollam district, Kerala.
Legend has it that it was on a rocky peak near the village that the mythological giant eagle fell while fighting Ravana.
Thereafter, the place came to be known as ‘Jatayumangalam’ (Jatayu ’s home).
Over the years, it has become Chadayamangalam and the peak on the nearby hillock became Jatayupara (Jatayu rock).
Now, this place is all set to become a major tourist attraction from this year.
Sculptor/filmmaker Rajiv Anchal had heard the story over a thousand times. “It is a powerful story with a fascinating character and has driven my imagination all these years,” says the master sculptor, who has spent the last 10 years bringing the legend to life.
In an amazing blend of Imagination and creativity, a giant bird is beginning to spread its wings on this hillock. Lying flat on its back with wings spread across 150 ft, while stretching 200 ft from tail feathers to its head, and talons rising 70ft into the air, the Jatayu sculpture — built on top of the 1,000 ft high Jatayupara — towers above the green expanses of Chadayamangalam.
The Jatayu Adventure Centre, which offers an assortment of rock-based adventure activities, has already been opened for thrill-seekers.
The sculpture, along with the adventure centre and a Siddha healing centre, spread over 65 acres, form the Jatayu Earth’s Centre. The construction took just a few years, but the idea is more than 10 years old. “I had presented a model for this sculpture to the Department of Tourism during my Fine Arts College days in the 1980s. Although they were impressed, it didn’t take shape back then,” Anchal says.
Later, when a proposal for an eco-tourism project came up, he was approached to work on it.
Anchal says , “The aim is to protect the rock and preserve Nature around it. Nothing dominates the rock — as all the construction, including the sculpture — is designed and textured to seem like a part of the landscape.”. Most of the area was barren when the project kicked off. Trees were planted well ahead, and today, the fallen Jatayu lies in a green haven!
One can explore the sculpture through an entrance that opens beneath one of its wings. The sculpture is, in fact, a spacious five-storied building, housing a museum and a multi-dimensional theatre that will screen an animated movie, featuring the epic battle between Jatayu and Ravana.
With animated visuals, sounds and sculptures, the wildlife of Treta Yuga will be brought alive here. “Just like the planet in Avatar was a product of director James Cameron’s imagination, the Treta Yuga I am building — everything from sky and landscapes to plants and animals — will be a representation of my creative mind,” says the sculptor.
The project is envisaged as a monument on the lines of The Statue of Liberty. “Jatayu died protecting a woman’s honour and that is what the sculpture stands for. People of all faiths have invested in the project and people of all faiths will be coming to see it. My work is for all of them. For those looking for religion, there is the old temple just outside the compound,” he adds.
For the award-winning art director turned filmmaker, the Jatayu Earth’s Centre is a movie set that will never be pulled down. The biggest challenge was getting the building materials to a height of 1,000 ft. Once that was solved using a winch specially made for the purpose, the sculpting kicked off in full swing.
When finished, the Jatayu will be the biggest bird sculpture in the world.
In March, the sculpture and the cable car ride will be opened to the public. Visitors can scale the wings of the Jatayu to reach the chest and click a selfie with the bird.
The entry fee will be Rs. 250. For a group of 10, the cost is Rs. 3,500 and includes lunch, water, juice and snacks.
The official inauguration will be towards the end of 2018, after the completion of the museum, the theatre and a Siddha healing centre.
A heli-taxi service will be launched in future.
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