BALI, INDONESIA, July 29, 2018 (Architectural Digest): Known for attracting five million tourists every year, Bali now has one more hidden gem — the Garuda Wisnu (Balinese spelling of Vishnu) statue, which will be unveiled later in August, this year. Statues are more than fine works of architecture — they represent the culture, history and heritage of the land they belong to. They are a spirit of the land’s values and merits–becoming reminders to the country’s people in times of duress. Take the Spring Temple in China (currently the world’s tallest statue at 502 feet) and the Statue of Liberty (stands at 305 feet) in the US — these towering works have served as sites of celebration, protests, and so much more. Similarly, the highly popular island of Bali in Indonesia will see a brand new tourist attraction with Garuda Wisnu, the statue that will bring together all of the island’s most treasured values.
The 246 ft. tall Garuda Wisnu (or 396 feet, if you count the mammoth concrete pedestal on which it rests) statue in Bali depicts Lord Vishnu riding on his vehicle, the mythical bird Garuda. The statue speaks for the dominant Hindu population of Bali, representing the religion of the country for the past centuries. Lord Vishnu is known for being the “preserver” in Hindu mythology and he holds different objects that depict other meanings in his four hands. He holds a lotus flower, mace, conch, and discus in the statue as well. Garuda, the bird vehicle, is known to be a watchful protector and the mightiest of all birds. The location of the statue at Ungasan, Badung, Bali–right across the airport, atop a hill– seems to be the perfect setting for Garuda to watch over the island!