Ravana fighting with Jatayu.
In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Jatayu (Sanskrit: जटायू Jaṭāyū) is a divine bird and the younger son of Aruṇa. His brother, Sampati, is a demi-god who has the form of a vulture and was an old friend of Dasharatha (Rama's father).
History of Jatayu
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As Rama and Lakshmana chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu in their search for Sita, he informs them of the fight between him and Ravana and tells them that he had gone south.
Jatayu and his brother Sampati, when young, used to compete as to who could fly higher. On one such instance, Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get seared by the sun's flames. Sampati saved his brother by spreading his own wings and thus shielding Jatayu from the hot flames. In the process, Sampati himself got injured and lost his wings. As a result, Sampati lived wingless for the rest of his life.
While Jatayu was wounded and lying on the ground when Lord Rama arrived, Lord Rama sensed the end result and decided that Jatayu gets moksha. Jatayu consoles the distraught Rama and reassures Him that no harm will come to Sita and that very soon she will be restored to them. Rama is as much overwhelmed by grief as by a surging sense of affection and gratitude and embraces Jatayu. He asks Jatayu to be comfortable and blesses the bird. Rama says that the grief of seeing Jatayu pass away is greater than the loss of Sita. He considers Jatayu as equal to His father and proceeds to do the final rites for the bird. All along Rama had shown Himself as a human being in this avatar, but in this context He forgets Himself and by His Sankalpa and supremacy, Lord Rama then slammed an arrow into the ground so as to call all seven sacred rivers, called teertha. Six rivers' waters arrived, one river water failing to obey Lord Rama's call. Since Lord Rama was himself an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, He forced the Gaya Teertha to arrive at the spot.
According to the legend, it is believed that Jatayu fell on the rocks in Chadayamngalam, Kerala after his wings were clipped off by Ravana. Formerly, the place was called Jatayumangalam. This is the place which is mostly credited to the falling place of Jatayu since rocks there hold striking carvings of Jatayu's beak mark during his last breath and footprints of Lord Rama. Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh, India is also attributed to the place where Jatayu fell after being wounded by Ravana, and Ramarkal Mettu is the place where the last rites were performed. Rama is said to have commanded the bird to rise Le Pakshi (literally: "Get up, Bird" in Telugu), hence the name for that village.
But according to Valmiki Ramayana, Rama never crossed Vindhya mountain. Sarvateerth talked is also a village in an akole, Ahmadnager where people think jatau fell. There is a temple of jatau and pond where the water of six rivers in the above story still exist. Hence above two places in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are derived from other versions of Ramayana.
Jatayu Nature Park
Jatayu Earth’s Center, also known as Jatayu Nature Park or Jatayu Rock, is a park and tourism centre at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district of Kerala. It stands at an altitude of 350m (1200ft) above mean sea level. Jatayu Nature Park is holding the distinction of having the world’s largest bird sculpture (200 feet (61 m) long, 150 feet (46 m) broad, 70 feet (21 m) in height and having 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) of floor area) of the great bird Jatayu. With the bird-sculpture being sculpted by Rajiv himself, this rock-theme nature park is the first PPP tourism initiative in the state of Kerala under the BOT model. The park is about 38 km (24 mi) away from the city of Kollam and 46 km (29 mi) away from the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram.
- Lepakshi Temple - Lepakshi:: The Treasure House of Art and Sculpture
- "Jatayu Nature Park Website". Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Kerala park to welcome visitors in Jan - Khaleej Times". Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Adventure Rock Hill open for visitors". Times of India. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
- "Enjoy a day of adventure at Jatayu Earth's Center". Outlook Traveller. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola
- Ramayana (ISBN 0-89744-930-4) by C. Rajagopalachari