A while ago I wandered around the Garuda Wisnu Kencana complex and was strikingly impressed. As a cultural park it is no doubt a centrepiece of tourism in Bali and well worth putting on your itinerary for your next visit.
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana complex, situated on a limestone hill in Jimbaran, is an integrated cultural centre with a 140 meter-high statue as its landmark.
Almost a decade after construction started in 1996, only 15 percent of the park's master plan encompassing 200 hectares in total has been realized due to budget constraints. Garuda Wisnu Kencana is the brainchild of Nyoman Nuart, a Balinese contemporary sculptor, who raised the idea in 1992.
When finished the park will have an entertainment hall, an exhibition centre, villas, a residential complex, theaters and a trade center as well as a spacious parking lot to accommodate visitors.
The complex's 140&#$45;meter monument consists of a 70 meter-tall base and a 70 meter-tall statue of the Hindu deity Wisnu astride the mythical bird Garuda. When it is fully realized the Garuda Wisnu statue will be the tallest statue in Southeast Asia.
As of today the artist has only completed Wisnu's torso and Garuda's head.
The statue is to symbolize a harmonious relationship between human beings and the natural environment as well as the spiritual life of the Balinese people. Although the project still has a long way to go it has been open to the public since 2000 drawing in a crowd of about 500 visitors daily.