The Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Bali is quite a fascinating new place of interest located in the southern Badung area just approximately 20 minutes from Kuta.
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Bali cultural park is interestingly located within hills of limestone and rock in an area with 240 hectares of land.
You can find interesting cultural performances daily at GWK. Barong Dance Performance is the most popular show there and try not to miss out on the traditional Balinese music performance as well…
Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Bali cultural park was build to be the window of island arts and culture against the backdrop of nature and an amazing panorama, making one of the main objectives for a variety of performing arts, exhibitions, conferences or religious visits.
So what is the story behind Garuda…. When Garuda first burst forth from his egg, he appeared as a raging inferno equal to the cosmic conflagration that could consume the world at the end of every age.
Terrified by this, the gods begged him for mercy. Garuda, hearing their plea, reduced himself in size and energy.
Garuda’s father was the creator-rishi Kasyapa. His mother was Vinata, whose sister was Kadru, the mother of serpents. One day, Vinata entered and lost a foolish bet, and became enslaved to her sister.
Swearing to release his mother from bondage, Garuda approached the serpents and asked them what it would take to purchase her freedom. Their reply was that Garuda would have to bring them the elixir of immortality, known as amrita.
It was an impossible mission since the amrita was only in the possession of the gods, who guarded it jealously, since it was the source of their immortality. The gods had even circled the elixir with a massive fire that covered the sky. They had blocked the way to the elixir with a fierce mechanical contraption of sharp rotating blades. And finally, they had stationed two gigantic poisonous snakes next to the elixir as deadly guardians.
Undaunted, Garuda hastened toward the abode of the gods intent on robbing them of their treasure. Knowing of his design, the gods met him in full battle-array. Garuda, however, defeated the entire host and scattered them in all directions. Taking the water of many rivers into his mouth, he extinguished the protective fire the gods had thrown up. Reducing his size, he crept past the rotating blades of their murderous machine. And finally, he mangled the two gigantic serpents they had posted as guards. Taking the elixir into his mouth without swallowing it, he launched again into the air and headed toward the eagerly waiting serpents.
En route, he encountered Wishnu. Rather than fight, the two exchanged promises. Wishnu promised Garuda the gift of immortality even without drinking from the elixir, and Garuda promised to become Wishnu’s mount.
Flying onward, he met Indra the god of the sky. Another exchange of promises occurred. Garuda promised that once he had delivered the elixir, thus fulfilling the request of the serpents, he would make it possible for Indra to regain possession of the elixir and to take it back to the gods. Indra in turn promised Garuda the serpents as food.
At long last, Garuda alighted in front of the waiting serpents. Placing the elixir on the grass, and thereby liberating his mother Vinata from her servitude, he urged the serpents to perform their religious ablutions before consuming it. As they hurried off to do so, Indra swooped in to make off with the elixir.
From that day onward, Garuda was the gods ally and Wishnu’s trusted mount, as well as the enemy of all snakes,which he preyed on whenever he could.
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Bali Cultural Park is all set to be a landmark or Bali mascot, in the form of a giant statue, that is a statue of Lord Wishnu riding a Garuda bird. This statue was projected to tie layout with visibility up to 20 km so that it can be seen from Kuta and Nusa Dua.
Simply known as GWK, the park is home to a gigantic (if currently still incomplete) statue of the Hindu god, Wishnu….Currently standing at 23m high, the statue is planned to be one of the tallest modern day sculptures in the world and once completed, is expected to be even taller than the Statue of Liberty!
The project began in 1997 and is only about a quarter finished. The completed parts of the statue so far are the upper body and hands of Wisnu and Garuda’s head.
The statue will be a staggering 120m high once complete, with the wingspan of the Garuda reaching 64m. This daunting task was entrusted to one of Indonesia’s most reputable sculptors, Nyoman Nuarta who designs and carves the statue in various parts at his workshop in West Java and once done, the pieces are then transported to Bali.
Currently, despite the main attraction being not even half way complete, the GWK park getting to be a pretty popular attraction for both locals and tourists alike with about 3,000 visitors coming to the park every day to enjoy the panoramic views and cultural performances held at its various venues.
The Wisnu Plaza is the highest level of the park and its here where the main attraction, the upper part of the statue, is temporarily placed.
The views from the Wisnu Plaza here is pretty impressive as you can actually see Kuta, Benoa and Sanur when you look closely….
You really should not miss out the Traditional dance performances that are held here at certain times of the day so be sure to check the schedule when you arrive so as not to miss it.
Your entrance into the park already includes these free performances which include Barong Keris Dance, Balinese Dance, Garuda Wisnu Ballet, Joged Bumbung and the popular Kecak Dance.
Another fascinating place is the Parahyangan Somaka Giri fountain. This sacred well is believed to have healing powers and the water is considered holy by locals. After all, locals cannot comprehend or understand how these mineral rich water has the ability to spurt out from the barren limestone hills. The water is also believed to cure various diseases, also used to summon rain.
For stunning views across Bali, head to Jendela Restaurant. The word jendela means “window”, and the restaurant was designed as a viewing cafe where visitors can take in the vistas from its elevated level while enjoying authentic Balinese cuisine.
Situated at 300 m above sea level, the restaurant boasts views of both sides of the ocean that surround the island, with Jimbaran and Kuta Beach on the west coast, and Tanjung Benoa and Sanur Beach on the east coast.
Also enjoying scenic views is The New Beranda Restaurant, a casual place that offers all-you-can-eat menus and buffet menus at affordable prices – perfect for larger groups.
Acoustic music performances are held at both Jendela Bali & New Beranda.
Don’t miss out catching a picture with the giant bronze komodo dragon on the path inside to the GWK as well….
Opening hours Monday – Sunday , 8am to 10pm
Entrance Fee – Rp. 100,000/person
Address – Jl. Raya Uluwatu, Ungasan, Kuta Selatan, Bali
Website – http://www.gwkbali.com/