Indian folklore, dance, drama and other art forms are deeply influenced by mythological beliefs and they play an important part in creating India's cultural imagination. The oral tradition of folklore being narrated and local drama troupes enacting stage plays have declined since the 1980s with the advent of television media. As a child of this generation, I religiously watched Indian epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata on TV every weekend. The grandiose settings, flaming arrows and the mighty Hanuman enraptured me. My first glimpse of Jatayu's Earth's Centre evoked nostalgia and awe. The world's biggest bird sculpture is now in God's Own Country and is dedicated to Jatayu who laid down his life trying to save Sita.
What is the story behind the Jatayu Earth's Centre?
Ramayan is an Indian mythology which tells us the story of Ram and Sita. It is a tale of their journey through hardships and their ultimate victory over Ravan. In one part of the tale when Ram and Sita are in exile in the forest, Sita is kidnapped by Ravan. During this time, Jatayu, a vulture tries to rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravan. Despite fighting bravely he was unable to rescue her and was grievously injured during the clash. He fell on the foothills of what became known as Jatayupara. It is said in the Ramayan that Jatayu narrated the event to Ram before breathing his last. Upon seeing Jatayu nearing his end, Ram granted him moksha (emancipation) before resuming his search for Sita.
A statue has been made at the Jatayupara hills to mark the bravery of this bird.