A long-felt need for a recreational spot in Kottayam district has been met with the opening of the Mango Meadows agricultural theme park at Kaduthuruthy.
The park offers something for visitors of all ages. While children have a play area, the adults have a swimming pool. There is garden with rare plants and also a cable-car to take a tour of the entertainment park, which has been set up with an investment of around Rs 120 crore.
Another attraction is the large variety of plants and trees – around one thousand species – at the park. They range from the mysterious 'neelakkoduveli' to 'krishnanaal' (Krishna's butter cup). It is pointed out that such a large variety of greenery cannot be observed at one place anywhere else in the world. A unique romantic spot at the park is the Valentine's Garden. There is also the Eden's Garden, belonging to Adam and Eve.
Mango Meadows is located at Ayamkudi near Kaduthuruthy and is an ideal spot for a one-day trip as well as resort tour. Facilities for Ayurveda treatment and wellness therapy are also offered.
The park includes a fish pond, tree grove, farm land, cattle farm, boat safari, ropeway, restaurant and resort. There is a cable car over the pond and a watch tower from where a panoramic view of the entire park can be enjoyed and a cave cottage in the theme park.
Other specialities are a swimming pool, pedal boats, row boats, water cycle, go-kart, water cycle, feeding fish, rope car, archery, trampoline, bumper car, and snooker.
Mango Meadows is the brainchild of N K Kurian, an entrepreneur who considers agriculture and trees a crucial part of his life. He set up the park and built it to the present stage by a fourteen-year-long effort.
"My park is mainly intended to benefit the young generation which has no idea about even the paddy plant, which gives rice," says Kurian.
He also says that feeding the fish, another activity at the park, is also meant to create awareness on the various species of fish – from 'kari' and 'varaal' to ornamental fish growing up to a weight of 30 kg. Visitors can climb on a bridge near the fish pond and offer the feed to waiting mouths in the water.
Visitors utilizing the guided tour of the park would get an encyclopedic knowledge of botany. The tour covers Eden's Garden, Valentine's Garden, banana grove, mango grove, star garden, vegetable farm, domestic animal farm, fish pond, tea garden, cardamom garden, sacred grove, temple pond, bathing ghat and Ayurveda trees. The guides will introduce visitors to trees like the 'Sisimpa' under which Sita was kept captive and the tree from which the Buddhist monks carve their alms bowl.
The boat trip at the park takes about 30 minutes and cottages on the banks, the ropeway overhead and fish-feeding are the highlights.
There are 146 varieties of fruit trees at Eden's garden along with the sculptures of Adam and Eve. The Biblical miracle fruit, Israel orange, cherry, apple and plum are the fruits visitors can check at this spot.
Kurian transformed an ordinary piece of farm land in rural Kerala where the only greenery was a few coconut trees into a thriving garden where thousands of plants grow lushly, along with entertaining and informing visitors.