Situated on a limestone plateau in south Bali, high on the Bukit Peninsula, 300 meters above Bali’s shoreline, is the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park that offers a grand view on Jimbaran Bay and Kuta to the west, and Tanjung Benoa and Sanur to the east with the imposing Mount Agung and Mount Batur as its background.
Focal point of this Cultural Park is the magnificent Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue, that will reach a total height of 126 meters, weighing 3,000 tons, that will be taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York.
The statue depicts Lord Vishnu mounting the mythical Garuda bird, as manifestation of the conscience of Amerta, the Perennial Goodness.
At present, the 23 meters high head and torso of Lord Vishnu already stands in place. Still in construction is the giant Garuda Bird. When completed, both the head and torso of Lord Vishnu will be placed on the Garuda bird, which together will reach 75 meters high with the Garuda wings spanning 64 meters wide. The entire statue will then be placed on top of a 60 meters pedestal, so that the total structure will stand 126 meters high. The statue’s structure is made of copper, brass, steel, with gold mosaic placed on specified parts.
This incredible monument will then be visible from a 20 Km distance, and can be clearly viewed from Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. Visitors will be able to ascend inside the statue to its chest level. From that height, visitors will look down upon the most panoramic view of the fabled island of Bali.
Unfortunately, work on the statue had stalled 16 years, but will now finally be resumed, which will take three years to complete, said I Nyoman Nuarta, Indonesia’s maestro sculptor and creator of this iconic statue. Having been postponed since 1997, this monument is projected to become an exceptional landmark for Indonesia’s tourism in this modern age.
Conceptionalized by sculptor I Nyoman Nuarta, actual work on the statue is, nonetheless, not undertaken in Bali, but in the artist’sworkshop, NuArt Studio, in the mountain town of Bandung in West Java, involving many artists and experts from various fields .
Born in Tabanan, Bali, in 1951, I Nyoman Nuarta is one of the Indonesia’s outstanding pioneers in the new visual art movement since 1976. While still at college, in 1979 Nyoman Nuarta already won Indonesia’s Independence Declarators Statue Competition. Until this day, Nuarta has created over a hundred statues which all reflect modern art in sculpture which follows the naturalistic style. Most of his statues are made of copper and brass.
At the moment, about 200 workers are working in NuArt Studio in the construction of this magnificent statue. Upon completion, the statue will be sent in parts from Bandung to Bali to be reassembled on the site at the Bukit Peninsula.
As many as 13 modules of the project are currently being transported, which are expected to reach Bali late July or early August 2013. The process of reassembling will cost around Rp 157 billions, even more expensive than the work on the statue itself which took Rp 150 billion. It will take about 400 huge trucks to transport parts of the 3,000 tons statue from Bandung to the site in Bali. Modules will be transported in stages over the course of three years.
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue and park was initiated by members of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Foundation, a group of influential people, that include Joop Ave, then Minister for Tourism and Telecommunications, IB Sudjana, Minister for Mining and Energy, I Made Mangku Pastika, current Governor of Bali, sculptor I Nyoman Nuarta, and a number of businessmen.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
Meanwhile, the extensive Cultural Park where the statue stands is already operating in full swing. It is a favorite venue for large convention dinners and functions able to seat hundreds of delegates, as well as stage star-studded concerts that attract the public by the thousands. Among which was the band Iron Maiden that drew crowds and tourists from throughout Bali.
GWK Cultural Park covers more than 240 hectares of land that was once an abandoned and unproductive limestone quarry. The GKW Cultural Park is already an attraction for both local and foreign visitors, the Lotus Pond surrounded by gigantic pillars seats 7,500 persons. The Street Theater where fashions shows and parades are held packs 2,500, the Amphitheater seats 800, and there is also the 200 square meters Exhibition area, and the Indraloka Garden, which is a favorite for weddings and dinners. There are Balinese dances daily, Indonesian cultural performances and other activities.
In the Park is the Jendela Bali Resto, which offers a fantastic view on Bali’s south coast, especially for romantic evening dining and delectable Bali cuisine. The restaurant is also open for lunch.
Since the Park is so extensive there are fun rides available on Segway 2 wheeled vehicles that can take you around the park. The GWK Cultural Park is open from 8.0 am to 10 pm. Entry is Rp 80, 000 for foreigners, and Rp 40,000 for Indonesian nationals, with special discounts for Indonesian children at Rp 30,000.
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