One of world’s biggest statues, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, is currently under construction in Bali, and it’s already looking impressive. Slated for completion in September 2018, the gigantic monument of the Hindu God of providence Wisnu riding the mythical bird Garuda will be around 120m high (including a concrete pedestal) and 64m wide. To put this in perspective, New York’s Statue of Liberty stands at 93m. The Spring Temple Buddha monument in Henan, China will, at 128m retain its status as the tallest statue in the world.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana has been in the making for the past two decades, with the work resuming in 2013 after a 16 year hiatus due to financial woes. Masterminded by a renowned Balinese sculptor I Nyoman Nuarta, the partially-completed statue is already the highlight of the 240-hectare Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park on the island’s southern coast. Wisnu’s massive upper body, as well as Garuda’s head and claws have been attracting scores of local and foreign visitors to the park for a good few years now. While the final monument will be made from over 4000 tons of copper, brass and steel, its parts are currently being fashioned by Nuarta at his Bandung workshop in Java before being transported over 1000km by trucks for installation.
It is hoped that, once completed, the gigantic monument will join the ranks of the island’s numerous landmarks. ‘We know that Bali thrives from tourism and culture. If we don’t develop the culture it will disappear one day,’ Nuarta told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ‘So we have three responsibilities: to preserve the culture, develop it and find new alternative cultures.’
Opened in 1997 to house the colossal sculpture, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park plays host to regular gatherings and events, and features a lotus pond, an amphitheatre and an exhibition area.
By Anita Surewicz