For nearly 28 years, with scaffolding jutting out from the hills of Jimbaran, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana project site was an eyesore for almost everyone.
But when Bali was designated as the site of the October 2018 IMF-World Bank meeting, the province selected GWK’s completion as a priority, pushing to get the thing finished ahead of the meeting by August 2018, and making this world’s third tallest statue an iconic totem you see as you first arrived in Bali.
Many of us have been to the park and took pictures of this majestic masterpiece. But, how much do we know about the Lord Vishnu (Wisnu), and the stories behind the long journey of the GWK itself?
Manifestation of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu (Wisnu) is the second god in the Hindu triumvirate (or Trimurti). The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep, and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Brahma and Shiva. Brahma is the creator of the universe whilst Shiva is the destroyer. Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe, ruling to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil.
Here are some fun facts you may want to know about Garuda Wisnu Kencana.
Controversial at first
Back before it was even built, the project was protested by Hindu religious leaders who feared the colossal statue would disrupt the spiritual balance of Bali, where traditional law holds that building heights should not exceed that of a coconut tree or 15 meters. They also weren’t too keen on a sacred religious symbol being used as a commercial tourist attraction. However, the project pushed forward with the hope that it will bring in more tourists and thus more revenue into Bali, and eventually bless the island at the end.
A collaboration of 120 artists
The master architect of the GWK statue is I Nyoman Nuarta, but the overall project is the collaboration of up to 120 artists.
It is earthquake-proof
The statue is a design masterpiece that combines the elements of art, technology, and science to make it withstand the powerful tropical storms in Bali as well as earthquakes. The Garuda Wisnu Kencana is a must-visit whenever you get a chance to come to Bali. Only seeing it in person will you appreciate its grand design and colossal size. If you’re planning a trip to Bali and would like to stay near GWK, reach out to us at Sun Island Bali. We’ll be sure to accommodate you and show you some points of interest in Bali.
It took 28 years in the making
Sure, Rome was not built in a day and neither is Garuda Wisnu Kencana. The total construction project of the GWK, from concept to finish, took a whopping 28 years. It was designed initially in 1990 by I Nyoman Nuarta. The actual construction of the monument began in 1997.
Constructed by 3,000 tons of copper and bronze pieces
Not made by sugar and spice, that is for sure. The statue itself is made of 3,000 tons of copper and bronze slabs to reach its current height. It is also the heaviest statue in Indonesia.
The inauguration event
The completion of GWK was marked by an inauguration in the form of art performance called Swadharma Ning Pertiwi on August 4th, 2018. There were lines of well-known Balinese artists including singers, dancers, and choreographer.
The event itself was not just to celebrate the statue completion but also to appreciate the 120 workers’ well-earned hard work during the making process.
Especially because most of them even have worked from the very beginning, since 28 years ago!