Thiruvananthapuram | New Delhi, Sep 13, 2017: Kerala Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnallil, abducted by terrorists in Aden in March last year, has been rescued from captivity from an undisclosed location in Yemen.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted about the release of the Catholic priest, who was abducted in March last year.
“I am happy to inform that Father Tom Uzhunnalil has been rescued,” she said.
The priest’s release was achieved through the intervention of the Oman government.
According to reports reaching Kerala, after his release the priest was flown from Yemen to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman.
He has left Oman on a chartered flight — either for New Delhi or for the Vatican, reports said.
The media in Oman confirmed the news of the release of the priest and posted a picture of him — standing in a room with the picture of the Oman king in the background.
He will be flown to Kerala later in the day.
Expressing happiness at the news, the priest’s brother Mathew Uzhunnallil said their prayers have been finally answered.
A spokesperson of the church Fr C. Jimmy told the media that the news has been received with a great sense of happiness.
In March 2016, militants barged into a care home for the elderly set up by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Yemen’s Aden and shot dead many people, including four nuns of the charity organisation, among whom one was from India.
After the shooting, the militants took away the Catholic priest. Since then, other than a few videos released from time to time, there has been no news of his whereabouts.
Uzhunnalil’s ancestral home in Ramapuram in Kottayam district is presently shut as two of his brothers live abroad, while another lives in Gujarat. (IANS)
On 5th December 2017, The Jatayu Nature Park became partially operational by the inauguration of Adventure Rock Hill
The giant concrete sculpture of Jatayu is built on a mighty rock named Jatayupara
This rock theme park will be a treat to the eyes as well as the sense of adventure for the tourists
Jatayu Nature Park is a tourism centre at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district of Kerala. It holds the distinction of having the world’s largest bird sculpture and is one of the best Kerala tourist places. On 5th December 2017, The park became partially operational by the inauguration of Adventure Rock Hill. The structure is designed by Rajiv Anchal and is about 38 km away from Kollam and 46 km away from Thiruvananthapuram.
The giant concrete sculpture of Jatayu is built on a mighty rock named Jatayupara (Jatayu is the name of the bird and para means rock in Malayalam). As per Hindu mythology, when Ravana was abducting Sita Mata to Lanka, Jatayu intervened to rescue Sita Mata. During the clash, Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana but in the end, Ravana got the better of Jatayu. While searching for Sita Mata, Rama and Lakshmana chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu, who informs them about the abduction by Ravana. Thus Jatayu Earth’s Center is conceptualized with environmental protection and ecological equilibrium.
It is said that Jatayu fell on the rocks in Chadayamangalam after his wings were chopped off by Ravana.
The mastermind behind this structure is a renowned film director, art director and sculptor Mr.Rajiv Anchal. He along with his team took about ten years to meticulously design and completes this monumental project. The project is the first joint effort by the Tourism Department of Kerala and Mr Rajiv Anchal to create a unique tourist destination which offers almost all aspects of Kerala tourism. The land on which Jatayu Nature Park is been constructed is leased by Guruchandrika Builders and Property Pvt. Ltd. from the government for 30 years to build and operate.
This rock theme park will be a treat to the eyes as well as the sense of adventure for the tourists. Jatayu Nature Park is designed on a BOT (build-operate-transfer) model.
Jatayu Earth’s Center tourism is spread over 65 acres of the multi-terrain landscape at Jatayupara near Kollam district of Kerala. The structure is 1000 feet above sea level and has diverse geographic features ranging from hills, valleys, rugged rocks, caves to cultivable lands. The destination is right at the centre of south Kerala and is easily accessible. The nearest international airport, Trivandrum, is only 50 km away from the location.
Jatayu Earth’s Center is an apt example of sustainable and eco-friendly tourism in India. The hills, valleys, caves and vegetation spread across 65 acres remain almost unaffected even though a tourist destination. It is believed that the Jatayu sculpture stands as a guardian to the hills and rocks by protects them from everything. Hence, the name is quite suitable for this project.
One of the tasks to build the structure was the uninterrupted availability of water source because due to multi-terrain location, it was really tough to find enough resource for water. But after a thorough search, a check dam was constructed between two rock valleys with a capacity of twenty lakhs litres for water conservation. Thus, the water issue was instantly solved by storing the rainwater and using it throughout the year. Then the electricity required for the project was domestically harnessed from solar power.
All along the location, a planned agricultural society is formed to promote organic farming. Hence, visitors will be able to buy fresh products from these farms.
Paradigm of courage
Jatayu is believed to be a symbol of valour and chivalry. Risking his life, Jatayu tried his best to save Sita Mata from her Ravana. Hence, the Jatayu sculpture stands as a towering tribute to women’s safety and honour. Jatayu depicts the period when humans, animals and birds cared for each other as fellow beings and lived in peace on this Earth.
Rajiv Anchal concludes that the structure symbolism has great relevance in today’s social scenario since the crime rate against women is on a high. Each visitor at Jatayu National Park is expected to understand and follow the inner essence of this inspiring creation.
Take a look at some of the listed facts of Jatayu National Park.
The tourist park sprawls over 65 acres of land and is home to a giant sculpture of Jatayu. The herculean dimensions of the great mythical bird Jatayu goes 200 feet long, 150 feet broad, 70 feet in height and has 15,000 square feet.
The sculpture is constructed at the same spot where Jatayu is said to take his last breath. Locals believe that the mythical bird fell on the rock after being struck down by Ravana.
The bird sculpture will also house a 6D theatre and an audio-visual based digital museum inside it. It is done so that people will get a glimpse of Ramayana. Visitors would also be able to cherish the bird’s eye view experience from 1,000 feet above the sea level, from inside the sculpture.
The sculpture has been designed and developed by a Malayalam film director, Rajiv Anchal. He is a renowned filmmaker and sculptor. Apparently, he is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Guruchandrika Builders and Property Private Limited.
In an interview with ‘The Indian Express’, he said, “It took us seven years to build the sculpture. It is basically a concrete structure that has been given a stone finish. Building it has been a major struggle as the terrain was hard and we had to carry all the materials to the top.”
The Jatayu Nature Park will also have an adventure zone and about 20 games centre. The adventure field in the park will include activities like paintball, laser tag, archery, rifle shooting, rock climbing, and bouldering. The place will also house ayurvedic cave resorts.