The Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) statue continues to be an attraction for tourists, both domestic and foreign. This icon of Bali, the work of Nyoman Nuarta, was unveiled in September 2018 and has become the center of attention in the Garuda Kencana Cultural Park or GWK, located in the southern part of Bali Island. GWK is located in Ungasan Village, South Kuta District, Badung Regency. Traveling to GWK from Ngurah Rai International Airport only takes about 10-15 minutes. In addition to being an attractive tourist destination, here are some uniqueness and facts about Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Facts
Here’s the history and interesting facts about Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue:
1. Built over almost three decades
The construction of Garuda Wisnu Kencana began in 1989. At that time, artist I Nyoman Nuarta and officials, such as the Minister of Tourism and the Governor of Bali, began to discuss the project seriously. It was only in 1990 that President Soeharto approved its construction. Stalled due to the monetary crisis in 1998, construction of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana monument resumed 15 years later. In total, the project took approximately 28 years to complete.
2. Being one of the tallest statues in the world
With a height of 121 meters and a width of 64 meters, Garuda Wisnu Kencana is one of the tallest and largest statues in the world. In fact, because of its height, this statue can be seen from various areas that are quite far from the location. When compared to the Statue of Liberty, which is only 93 meters high, GWK is still superior. Of course, this is a matter of pride for the people of Indonesia, especially Bali, which has such a magnificent monument.
3. Made with 754 Modules
Another facts about Garuda Wisnu Kencana is that the statue were made from 754 modules. If you visit the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, you will be fascinated by the materials used to build the GWK statue. The statue is made of copper metal coated with brass.
This material can create a magnificent golden color effect when exposed to sunlight. The GWK statue itself is made of 754 modules arranged like a puzzle, each measuring 3×4 meters. With a total height of 75 meters and a size of 122 meters, you can even see GWK from a distance of 20 km, or from popular tourist attractions such as Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua or Tanah Lot!
4. Built on former mining land
In the past, the area now occupied by the Garuda Wisnu Kencana monument was a limestone mine. This happened because the land in Ungasan is in fact a stretch of limestone. At that time, there was a lot of limestone mining here which made it very damaged. Finally, I Nyoman Nuarta with his extraordinary thinking initiated the construction of Garuda Wisnu Kencana as a symbol of saving the environment and the world.
5. Hindu Mythology
This statue depicts one of the gods who is riding a garuda bird and is highly respected by the Hindu community in Bali, namely Lord Vishnu. The names Garuda and Vishnu are familiar to Hindus. Garuda is believed to be a human-bodied, bird-headed creature that can fly.
It is said that one day Garuda found out that his mother, Winata, had been enslaved by his own brother, Kadru. Garuda was determined to free his mother. However, he could only free his mother by stealing amrita, the holy water of the gods. Then, Lord Vishnu approached him to ask the reason for stealing the holy water. Hearing the answer, Vishnu was moved and allowed the holy water to be stolen on the condition that Garuda would return and become his vehicle.
This Hindu mythology is also the background of the spirit of fighting colonialism by the proclaimer, Ir. Soekarno. The Balinese also uphold the specialty of Garuda with the Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park.
6. Cultural Arts Activity Center
As a cultural park, Garuda Wisnu Kencana has established itself as one of the centers of cultural arts activities in Bali. Visitors can enjoy various musical performances, ballet, orchestra and fashion shows. Traditional art performances, such as rindik, barong dance, kecak dance and joged bumbung are must-see performances.
The open-air stage, Lotus Pond is often the venue for large-scale performances with a capacity of 7,500 spectators. Furthermore, the area also has an exhibition gallery as an exhibition space for paintings or other fine arts.