The inspiring story behind the mighty Garuda Wisnu Kencana Maestro


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Garuda Wisnu Kencana was inspired by Hindu mythology about the search of Amerta or the elixir of life.

According to this myth Garuda agreed to be ridden by Wisnu in return for the right to use the elixir to liberate his enslaved mother.

Everyone flying to Bali surely will not miss the view of this giant, massive statue of Wisnu, one of Balinese Hindu Gods, riding his mount Garuda, the mythical bird from above.  As high as more than 120 meters and located in The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park Ungasan,  Bali which is around 10-15 minutes driving from the Ngurah Rai International Airport, it is established as the landmark of Bali.

The 75 meters tall and 65 meters wide, sits atop pedestal to bring the total height of the monument  to 121 meters, which is 30 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty in The United States,  was designed by the legendary Bali’s sculptor Maestro Nyoman Nuarta.

Was born as Balinese, Nyoman Nuarta was the sixth of nine sons of an established rice farmer trader.

He always keep in mind the Balinese philosophy “Live as The Rays” and his mother expected him to be a great Balinese artist.

As a young boy Nuarta also had seen the green of terracering padi fields managed by Subak. Subak is the Balinese community of irrigation system to anticipate the dry season by irrigated water from the hill toward to above, so all Balinese rice field will keep sustainable of water.  Nuarta then adopted the Subak’s concept into his life to survive.

During his younger years, he too learned from his mother on how to managed their rice fields, sense of business naturally so then he knows how to manage problems in his artist community.

It was then when Indonesian policy starts to point out Bali as national tourist destination and Nuarta was asked by the former Minister of Culture Mr. Joop Ave and the former Governor of Bali Prof. Dr Ida Bagus Oka to create the something new of Bali in order to improve the tourist  destinations. Nuarta then remembered his fantasy as a child about Wisnu and his Garuda, his promise to his mother that one day he will create something big for Bali, so he decided to make that fantasy happen and in no longer time started the project.

It was 1989 when his proposal was approved by Soeharto, Indonesian former president which even did the ground breaking at Ungasan.

Unfortunately, 10 years before the land acquisition had finished economic crisis occurred and the project was unhold while there were also many uncertain moments around the material costs.

As frustrated as he was, Nuarta’s passion as an artist never faded and soon encouraged himself to finish what he had in mind kept for years for his homeland, Bali. He decided then to start again with the project, first part of Garuda Wisnu Kencana is done by created Wisnu’s bust statue in 30 meters high.

For years the bust statue of Wisnu & Garuda could be seen in Ungasan area. All people come and go to and from the island of Bali by planes must have remember how it looked when their aircrafts is about to landing or leave the land.

Nowadays, 25 years after his proposal was approved by Soeharto and among experiencing many ups and downs Indonesia had been through, this giant massive new statue of Wisnu god riding his Garuda finally stand tall and be the pride of Bali.

Nyoman Nuarta’s dream, capabilities and innovations made him the greatest artist created the tallest statue in the world.