GWK Cultural Park is intended to educate, especially the young generations about the importance of preserving and cultivating world’s cultural heritage.
Situated on a limestone escarpment overlooking the South Bali tourist region, Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park showcases the art and culture of the Island of the Gods amid dramatic natural backdrops and breathtaking panoramic vistas. Located 15 minutes from the international airport and less than an hour from most major hotels and resorts, GWK is one of the island’s premier venues for artistic performances, exhibitions, and conferences as well as for sightseeing and relaxation.
The statue and its pedestal will be surrounded by more than 240 hectares cultural park which was once an abandoned and unproductive limestone quarry. The cultural park will provide attractions for both local and foreign visitors with supporting facilities such as Lotus Pond, Festival Park, Amphitheater, Street Theater, Exhibition Hall, as well as Jendela Bali The Panoramic Resto and souvenir shop.
At present time, the statue of Wisnu, the statue of Garuda, and the hands of Wisnu have been placed temporarily in three different plazas within the park.
MODERN RENDERINGS OF ANCIENT TRADITION
Dominating the park is Wisnu, a bust of a Hindu deity constructed from giants slabs of copper and brass. Representing the divine force responsible for the protection of the universe, the 22 meter Wisnu figure is a modern rendering of an ancient cultural tradition. The companion piece, Garuda, represent the giant bird which transports Wisnu, a symbol of both freedom and selfless devotion.
The two 25-meter natural limestone pillars comprising the Gapura Batu, at the entrance gate to the complex, are carved with images taken from the Ramayana, the Mythical cycle of stories forming the dramatic basis of most Balinese art forms. The base-relief carving on the gate depict scenes from the Wayang, the shadow puppet theatre unique to Bali and neighbouring Java.
A PLACE OF SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE
Adjacent to Wisnu figure is the Pahrayangan Somaka Giri, a sacred spring from which flows water containing a rich mixture of ninerals. As the existence of the spring in these arid limestone hills has no scientific explanation, it has become a place of pilgrimage and meditation. The water is believed to cure disease, and is widely used by local conjurers in ritual to invoke rain in order to ensure good crops
The Statue of Wisnu
As the anchor point of GWK, the 20 meter tall copper statue of the Lord Wisnu has been placed temporarily on the highest hill of Ungasan where visitors can enjoy sunset or sunrise over the magnificent view of Kuta, Benoa and Sanur.
The statue of Wisnu is an illustration of the Almighty God in maintaining and caring all life and its being. The god Wisnu is the owner of Amerta in the form of water as the source of fertility , giving wealth and life to the universe.
The Statue of Garuda
Right behind the Plaza Wisnu is the Plaza Garuda where the 18 meters tall statue of Garuda placed temporarily.
At the present time, Plaza Garuda becomes the focal point of a massive alley of carved limestone pillars which covers more than 4000 sqm open space area namely Lotus Pond. The colossal limestone pillars and monumental Garuda statue make Lotus Pond a very exotic space. With its room capacity that can accommodate up to 7000 people, Lotus Pond has gained good reputation as the perfect place to hold big and international events.
Not only showcasing fascinating tourism destination, everyday GWK also present you many Indonesian traditional music and dances, especially Balinese.
Your arrival will be greeted by Barong Dance with Balinese gamelan music at the Street Theater. A beautifully played Rindik – Balinese traditional music – will accompany your whole journey while enjoying the view and the luxury of every venue in GWK. While you enjoy our Amphitheater, you can watch some dancers practicing for the Kecak Dance show and Tektekan collaboration which you can see live as GWK’s presentation for your unforgettable arts and cultural experience.
With little rainfall and open to fresh tropical breeze, GWK facilities are ideal for all types of events, be it private or public, small or big, local or international.
The first class acoustic environment of the 800 seat Amphitheater is peerless venue for intimate cultural performance. Enclosed by enormous limestone pillars with the Garuda figure as a backdrop, the dramatic Lotus Pond area has capacity at 7500, like the ceremonial boulevard of Balinese village. The Street Theater is suitable for processions, fashion show, and other mobile performances. The most intimate space, the Plaza Kura-Kura can hold 200 participants. In addition to the open public spaces, the Exhibition Gallery provides 200 square of covered area as well as ten square meter internal open courtyard. The newest venue in GWK is Indraloka Garden. With a beautiful view, it is one of the most appealing place for wedding and dinner party.
The Story of Garuda Wisnu Kencana
Here is the story of Garuda Wisnu Kencana which follow the birth and deeds of the mythical bird Garuda as quoted from Wikipedia. You can find this story carved into stone relief, placed in GWK Street Theater.
The story of Garuda’s birth and deeds is told in the first book of the great epic Mahabharata. According to the epic, when Garuda first burst forth from his egg, he appeared as a raging inferno equal to the cosmic conflagration that consumes the world at the end of every age. Frightened, 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 into and lost a foolish bet, as a result of which she became enslaved to her sister.
Mahabharata mentions about a bet between sisters and wives of Kashyapa, Vinata and Kadru, about the colour of Uchchaihshravas‘s tail. While Vinata, the mother of Garuda and Aruna, said it was white, Kadru said it was black. The loser would have to serve as a servant of the winner. Kadru told her sons, Naga (“serpent”), to cover the tail of the horse and thus make it appear as black in colour and thus, Kadru won.
Resolving to release his mother from this state of 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, also called amrita. It was a tall order. The amrita at that time found itself in the possession of the gods, who guarded it jealously, since it was the source of their immortality. They had ringed 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 Vishnu. Rather than fight, the two exchanged promises. Vishnu promised Garuda the gift of immortality even without drinking from the elixir, and Garuda promised to become Vishnu’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 ally of the gods and the trusty mount of Vishnu, as well as the implacable enemy of snakes, upon whom he preyed at every opportunity.