Anybody who breaks a world record should be very proud. But one world record holder in particular should be beaming with pride for his decade’s long work. His achievement is incredible.
Rajiv Anchal, a sculptor from India, spent 10 years sculpting what is now the world’s biggest bird sculpture. And it’s a sight that’ll take your breath away.
The sculpture is located at a nature park in Kerala, India.
At 200 feet long, 150 feet wide, and 70 feet tall, it’s truly a massive work of art. But it isn’t just big. It also has an enormous amount of meaning behind it.
The sculpture is entitled “Jatayu” after a bird of Hindu legend.
The story of Jatayu is found in the Ramayana. It tells of how Sita, the wife of Rama, was kidnapped by a demon named Ravana. Jatayu attempted to help her and engaged in a deadly battle with the demon king. For his pains, he lost his left wing.
But now, the tribute to Jatayu stands as an homage to a defender of women and a symbol of protecting their safety. It’s not just a statue — but also the roof to the main building of the Kerala Earth Center.
Anchal says that he has long found inspiration in the story of Jatayu.
“It is a powerful story with a fascinating character and has driven my imagination all these years,” he said.
Standing atop a mountain and overlooking the breathtaking wilderness of Chadaymangalam, Jatayu lays on his back with his wings outspread. His claws tower 70 feet over the heads of onlookers, and that’s no small feat. The mountain that supports the sculpture rises 1,000 feet in the air.
“The aim is to protect the rock and preserve Nature around it,” said Anchal. “Nothing dominates the rock — as all the construction, including the sculpture — is designed and textured to seem like a part of the landscape.”
As for the choice of subject matter, the meaning behind the character was absolutely deliberate.
Anchal is proud that Jatayu stands as a testament to caring for one another, especially taking care of women in need. He also says that even though the story comes from a Hindu text, it’s for people of every faith.
“Jatayu died protecting a woman’s honour and that is what the sculpture stands for,” said Anchal. “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.”
The statue is a part of Kerala’s Earth Center, which was opened in December 2017.
The center was built by the Tourism Department of Kerala and aims to provide eco-friendly tourism for visitors. It’s located on 65 acres of land and intended to provide a full experience of Kerala. This serves as a place for people of all backgrounds to come together to see the unification of man and nature.
The Earth Center comprises of a healing center, theater, museum, and cable car to ferry tourists to the top of the peak.
It also features a hand-chiseled walkway made of 60,000 stones. The center was inaugurated in late 2018.
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