Monthly Archives: November 2017

Jatayu Earth Centre and adventure park opens in Kerala

Jatayu Earth Centre Concept Art

The Jatayu Earth Centre has finally been opened to the public after a long delay. Built at Chadayamangalam in Kollam, Kerala, the tourism centre or nature park has taken over two years and is still being built. Therefore visitors will have access to only certain areas.

The nature park became famous because of a massive statue built to remember the mythical demigod, Jatayu, from Ramayana. Chadayamangalam’s Jatayupura is already a big tourist spot because of its links to the epic Ramayana. The new sculpture, developed by filmmaker Rajiv Anchal only adds to the attraction. It is 70ft tall and 200 ft long. It is reportedly world’s largest bird sculpture. It depicts Jatayu’s heroic fall when he fought Ravana, who was returning to Lanka after kidnapping Sita.

Apart from the sculpture, the Earth Centre also offers adventure activities like rock climbing, rappelling, rifle shooting, and paintball. Offering more than 20 activities the nature park also has an Ayurvedic resort, a digital museum and what it claims to be a 6D theatre, and cable cars for those are not so adventurous. Visitors will have to pay Rs 2500 for entry.

According to a report in, the project is the first ever build-operate-transfer model private-public partnership in the tourism industry in Kerala.

source: / DNA / Home> Lifestyle / by DNA Web Team / Thursday – November 30th, 2017

Noted Malayalam actor and mimicry artist Kalabhavan Abi passes away

Actor Kalabhavan Abhi | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

His performance as an aged Muslim character named ‘Amina Thatha’ made him a household name.

Noted mimicry artist and actor Abi died in Kochi on Thursday morning.

The 52-year-old was declared brought dead at a private hospital where his family had taken him at 10.15 a.m. According to hospital sources, he had been undergoing treatment for reduced blood platelet count.

Colleagues and friends from the television and movie industry dropped in at the hospital to pay last respects. As per initial reports, the body will be laid to rest at Muvattupuzha Central Juma Masjid on Friday afternoon.

Abi rose to fame with his impeccable mimicry skill. His performance as an aged Muslim lady named ‘Amina Thatha’ made him a household name. He had also acted in around 50 films.

Abi, who had won first prize in MG University Youth Festival twice, was also known for his ability to mimic popular film actors, including Amitabh Bachchan.

His son Shane Nigam is also a popular film actor.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by M.P. Praveen / Kochi – November 30th, 2017

Kerala tops among states on 3 critical social parameters

Is economic progress itself an indicator of overall growth? Not quite.

Going by the Social Progress  Index, a tool that captures the social progress of the regions based on social performance, Kerala’s social progress score is about 10 points higher than Gujarat’s despite the latter’s economy being about twice the size of the southern state.

In fact, Kerala is the only state in top 5 on all three component indices and its social progress score is about 10 points higher than Gujarat’s.

This shows that economic growth alone cannot deliver good quality of life.

Here is a look at how India’s making social progress and how the states fared on three dimensions that make up their social progress index  score.





The colours indicate the position of the state in the overall index as shown on the map


source: / The Times of India / News> India News / TNN / November 29th, 2017

Kerala’s ‘Collector Bro’ Prasanth Nair will be private secretary to Tourism Minister KJ Alphons

Prasanth Nair, who was in the Kerala cadre of the 2007 IAS batch, earned public acclaim when he kickstarted a slew of popular initiatives after he took charge as the collector of Kozhikode.

N Prasanth. (Source: Facebook)

Prasanth Nair, the IAS officer who commanded a massive social media following during his days as the collector of Kozhikode district, has now been appointed as private secretary to the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) KJ Alphons. His post will be that of deputy secretary with the minister for a period of five years. A DoPT circular issued on Monday said Nair can be relieved from his current post to take up the new assignment in New Delhi.

Nair, who was in the Kerala cadre of the 2007 IAS batch, earned public acclaim when he kickstarted a slew of popular initiatives after he took charge as the collector of Kozhikode. Programmes like Operation Sulaimani, a decentralized participatory project to address hunger in urban areas, Tere Mere Beach Mein, a project to tackle waste management at Kozhikode Beach, and Yo Appooppa, an attempt to improve the quality of life of the elderly, were runaway successes thanks to large and wholehearted participation of people of the city and beyond.

The ‘Collector Kozhikode’ Facebook page, that Nair himself handled during his term, was awash with compliments and praise for the young IAS officer. Nair’s call for public participation for small tasks like cleaning a dirty pond would elicit a huge response. He soon earned the moniker of ‘Collector Bro’.

In an earlier interview to, Nair had said, “Putting a post on Facebook takes just five minutes. Just because my profile picture keeps smiling at you 24×7, doesn’t mean that I’m sitting there throughout. Secondly, I’m not chatting with my girlfriends. The citizens are communicating with me and getting their problems sorted out through this medium. And finally, Facebook and Twitter are additional media for citizen interface.”

Earlier this year, Nair was transferred from Kozhikode to a new post as a secretary in the higher education department. Even though it was a promotion, it was largely seen as a ‘punishment’ for Nair’s tussles with local politicians in Kozhikode. But Nair went on leave instead.

The appointment of Nair as private secretary to KJ Alphons, who hails from Kerala, was being speculated for some time now. The appointment was reportedly delayed due to opposition from the state BJP leadership. Nair, in the past, has also served as secretary to then Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.

source: / The Indian Express / Home> India / by Vishnu Varma / Kochi – November 28th, 2017

Kerala to get palm-leaf manuscript museum soon

The Central Archives has 11,000 such manuscripts, called Churunas.

Archives department exhibition as part of World Archeological Week at Kottakkakam on Sunday. (Photo: DC)


State archives department is planning a Churuna Museum. Churunas are scrolls of palm-leaf manuscripts kept in a bundle of loose leaves. Archives director P. Biju said the plan was to utilise the ground floor of the present central archives and also space where the Kerala Bookmark functioned. The Bookmark would soon vacate their office. The digitalisation of all the records of the archives department is also going on. When completed, the digital copies can be made available to those who apply by paying the price, sources said.

The manuscripts depicting events in Travancore history have been kept for display at an exhibition of the department at the Central Archives office here as part of the World Heritage Week, which will close on Tuesday. Churunas are stored in boxes called Churunapetties in a variety of sizes and shapes. The Central Archives has 11,100 churunas in its possession, which is perhaps the most extensive collection of palm-leaf manuscripts in the whole world.

Each consists of an average of 1000 cadjan leaves of about 90 cm long and 2.5m cm wide on an average, and both sides of the leaf are used for recording events.   They are written in different ancient scripts used in the state like Vattezhuthu, Kolezhuthu, Malayanma, Tamil and also in old Malayalam. Each bundle deals with different subjects, not necessarily connected to each other. The records preserved in these archives are grouped into four-cadjan leaves, bamboo splint records, copper plates and paper records.

The cadjan records are classified into three; cadjan churnas, cadjan grandhas and loose leaves. Most of them consist of pre-settlement land revenues records.  The old records possessed by the celebrated temple of Sri Padmanabha Swami here, the tutelary deity of the Royal House of Travancore is popularly known by the name “Mathilakam Records” because the temple establishment is known in common parlance as “Mathilakam”.

This collection consisted of about 3000 churunas. The survey and settlement of Travancore commenced in 1885 A.D during the reign of Sri Moolam Thirunal was finalised in the year 1910. The collection consists of settlement registers of various villages. The agreement reached for the construction of Mullaperiyar Dam by the then Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State of India on October 29, 1886, is also present at the archives. Old school textbooks dating back to 1881, records on palm leaves, bamboo splints, copper plates and paper are also on display.

source: / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Lifestyle> Viral and Trending / November 27th, 2017

Valliyamma becomes Kerala’s first woman to head RAF

She leads a 10-member team in Agali region to chase wild elephants away

Though she lacks any formal scientific training in herding back crop-raiding wild elephants to their forest environs, 38-year-old R. Valliyamma looks confident in her new role as the first woman in Kerala to head a unit of Forest Department’s Rapid Action Force to mitigate escalating human-animal conflicts.

“My selection to this post proves managing wild elephants is no more a male bastion. My growing up in forest fringe tribal village Vadakottathara in Attappady as member of a family with harmonious relationship with the wild animals has provided me enough capability to carry out this challenging job. I know elephants and their behavioural patterns since schildhood,” said Valliyamma in an interaction with The Hindu a day after taking charge as RAF unit head at Agali under Mannarkkad Forest Division.

She is now leading a 10-member team comprising two beat forest officers and five forest watchers in Agali region, where wild pachyderms from Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts of Tamil Nadu engage in regular crops raiding apart from posing threat to the lives of local community.

She is getting the new responsibility hardly four months after being promoted as a Section Forest Officer, the first woman in that post in Kerala. In the previous role, she had to manage a section of wild under Mannarkkad Forest Division. As far as Valliyamma is concerned, this is her 15th year with the Forest Department.

The Irula tribal woman had begun her service with Kerala government as a forest guard and her initial years were in fact a hard struggle to rein in sandalwood smugglers and ganja cultivators who roam the Attappady forests.

“I had been fighting hunters, ganja cultivators and sandalwood smugglers with the help of my colleagues in the department. There were instances in which we collectively seized sandalwood pieces weighing more than 35 kg,” she said.

Before becoming section forest officer, her designation was Beat Forest Officer.

“After failing pre-degree, I was working as an Anganwadi helper. My engagement with forest protection began after getting selected under a special recruitment drive by the Kerala Public Service Commission. But my family and friends were initially worried because the job was too risky,” said Valliyamma.

“My parents were nominal farmers and the land we inherited was barren. I married Sivan, a weaver. But he lost his job when the local weaving centre closed down. To make ends meet, I became an Anganwadi worker. The job exposed me to the world outside and I was determined to find a government job,” recalled the mother of two school-going children.

Apart from her official assignments, Valliyamma is also the secretary of the Adivasi Forest Protection Samithy at Melechavadiyoor. The tribal collective is engaged in social forestry apart from coordinating with the Forest Department to collect forest produce. “Fear never prevented me from going deep inside the forests for conservation-related matters. I prefer working outside than going through files in office,” she said.

She is the first person in her extended family to enter government service. “The new responsibility is reflection of the absolute faith my superiors have in me. I will live up to their expectations,” she said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by K A Shaji / Allapady (Palakkad) / November 26th, 2017