Monday, December 31, 2007

Garuda Wishnu Kencana

C'mon, say it with me. "GARUDA WISHNU KENCANA!!!" Really, it's cool saying it. Like some badass cuss. You walk up to some Rempit trying to rob a little old lady and you say "Garuda Wishnu KENCANA MOTHERFUKER!!!" and watch the sonuvabitch scamper for his life. But I digress...

The Gardua Wishnu Kencana was supposed to be the tallest statue in South East Asia. It's suppose to depict the Hindu God Vishnu atop his faithful mount Garuda. It's another example of how wasteful governments can be. This was the pet project of Indonesian ex-president Suharto's boy Tommy. It was supposed to have cost USD$120million. Started in the middle of the Asian Economic crisis in 1998 the project has stalled with only Vishnu's torso, Garuda's head and Vishnu's two hands completed. Basically the project has run out of funds and is waiting for a saviour. I must admit after seeing the giant monolithic pieces and a scaled down model of what would have been, this 146 meter monument would have been an awe inspiring and breath taking sight to behold. But honestly I don't see it happening. Its made of copper and was supposed to be gold plated. Why would anyone spend so much money on another monument? Once you pay your 20,000Rps entry fee (bout RM8) the first sight that greets you is the unused shopping arcade on your right and if you look carefully further down the road you see the pair of disembodied arms floating between giant limestone outcrops. Testaments of one man's overly ambitious ego.

Its located at the Culture Park at the Bukit Peninsula south of Bali. Its quite close to the Uluwatu temple so you can take in both sites if you're there.

A model of the structural make up of the statue.

What would have been the final magnificent result if all had gone to plan.

Do this! - Take the people in this picture and replace it to scale in the picture of the model above this image to truly appreciate how awe inspiring this statue would have been.
UPDATE - 1.28AM, 1st January 2008 - Nex did a photoshop comparison. Mosey on over HERE to be awed.

Still makes for great photo op.

The surrounding is nicely manicured gardens and you actually get a great view of the sea, Kuta, Jimbaran and the airport in the distance. Good view for sunsets too.

The main courtyard that has been used for concerts. Think the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have played here. The Garuda head overlooks this area and thus makes a great backdrop for events.

Some local wildlife loitering around for food and scraps.

The main restaurant. Not bad for a tourist joint. The fried rice was decent at about RM18 and of course the beers were ice cold. Coupled with the view of Bali peninsula with the sea on both sides made this not a bad experience which I shared with my cab driver Made (meaning second child. Sorry, trying to sound NatGeo)

I would recommend this if you go here without any high expectations. If you love taking pictures than go for it. The 3 main pieces of the statue on display are awesome, take some time wondering around the huge limestone outcrops that was carved up to make way for this park. Take the time to even take some pics of the giant arms and finally top it off with a meal or a drink at the restaurant overlooking the countryside and the sea. This would nicely fit in after you've just visited the Uluwatu temple (and your camera and wallet hasn't been stolen by those professional monkeys there!).

*Pictures property of Chindiana Trails


ah lim said...

Such a huge statue would have given me nightmares!

Nex said...

Did the size comparison like you suggested over at my blog. This is one gigantic statue, if completed.

It would have been as tall as the great pyramid of Khufu!

Chindiana said...

Great work Nex! It's so ridiculously HUGE isn't it?

Han Solo said...

Yikes, it's massive!!! Well done, Nex, that really puts it in perspective, literally.

Great pictures of the site, too. I looked at the main courtyard and imagined I saw Circus Maximus there, with chariots and all...

Chindiana said...

I'm still kicking myself for not getting better pics of Vishnu or Wishnu's torso as the sun was behind him. Anyway will save it for the next trip to Bali!

Nex said...

Hey let me know in advance when you next goto Bali. Wanna tag along if can get cheap ticket.

Chindiana said...

No prob dude. Plan to see if i can hike up the volcano at Kintamani. Will check on best time and let you know. Prob 5 day trip. though i'd like to spend a week to chill. Maybe March or June. will try help you with the cheap tix.