Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park: Home Of The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park is one of the most significant tourism draws in Bali.
It’s home to Indonesia’s tallest statue and helps visitors understand the legendary folklore tales of Southern Bali and how they influence the Bali of today.
If you want to enjoy intriguing cultural performances, a giant statue, local dance performances, the Bali Art Market Store and the occasional GWK souvenir shop, you’ll love GWK. Here’s why.
About GWK Cultural Park
The park is in the South of the island and is owned by Alam Sutera Realty.
It covers around 60 hectares of land area and sits about 263 metres (that’s 863 feet) above sea level.
It is devoted to the God Vishnu from Hindu mythology and the park takes its name from the Garuda Wisnu (Garuda Vishnu), the mythical bird that was his mount and companion.
The word Kencana means “Gold”.
Where Is The GWK Cultural Park?
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park is about a 15-minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Its address is: Uluwatu St, Ungasan, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80364, Indonesia
If you want to visit the park, talk to our friends at the Bali Res Centre about getting tickets, arranging transport, etc.
About The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue
The statue was built to be the tallest in Indonesia and stands 122 meters (400 feet) above the ground, including the pedestal at the base (which is 46 meters tall in its own right!).
It began construction in 1990 but wasn’t finished until 2018. It was completed in July of that year, but in September, Joko Widodo (the Indonesian President) formally inaugurated it.
It is also the tallest statue of a Hindu God anywhere in the world! (It is the Hindu God Wisnu or Hindu God Vishnu, depending on how you transliterate it and his Garuda).
The History Of The GWK Statue
The Vishnu statue broke ground at Plaza Garuda in 1990. However, due to the economic crisis triggered by the collapse of the Tiger economies of Asia, work ground to a halt in 1997.
It only resumed again in 2013 after a property developer bought the site and agreed to finish it.
However, religious authorities were not exactly ecstatic about this news and instead felt that it was too big and might interfere with the spiritual nature of Bali.
The Symbolism Of The GWK Statue
The statue in Plaza Wisnu draws on Hindu folklore to tell the story of Lord Vishnu (Lord Wisnu) riding a Garuda to liberate the elixir of life (Amrita) to save his mother who had been enslaved.
Construction Of The GWK Statue
The project originally began as 754 modules (made from massive quarried limestone blocks) that would be assembled on-site.
They had to be cut up to enable the local cranes to lift them into place and there are now more than 1,500 separate pieces in the statue.
It was built to last 100 years and the structure had to be specially reinforced to keep it in place without collapsing. It weighs 4,000 tonnes!
Events & Festivals At GWK
There are regular events at festivals at this site and Iron Maiden and Paramore have both played gigs here.
The G20 Summit was held at GWK in 2022 and this year, it will host Bali’s Biggest Penjor Festival!
Traditional Balinese Dance At GWK
There are regular performances of local dances at the Plaza Wisnu and the occasional Balinese parade takes place here too.
It’s always worth checking their website to see what’s happening at GWK during your holiday.
What Else Is At GWK?
There is a large car park, a GWK souvenir shop or two, nail painting and street food stalls.
You may also want to check out the attractive Lotus Pond on the premises.
It’s no wonder the park draws visitors from all over the island, particularly those intent on visiting Dreamland Beach (as the park is on the road to the beach).
Is It Worth Visiting Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park? Is GWK Worth Visiting?
Yes, if you’re looking to understand Balinese culture better. The GWK cultural park is an essential part of a holiday in Bali. It’s more than just an impressive statue. The food and dance performances make this a great day out.
How Much Is The Entry Free For GWK?
Tickets start at 125,000 IDR but are often discounted. You can get packages with drinks and access to various events in addition to the entry fee and pay for buggy shuttle service from the park.
How Much Did It Cost To Build The Garuda Wisnu Kencana?
The Garuda Wisnu Kencan was costly; it took 28 years and $100 million to build it!
Where Is The Statue Seen From Bali Airport?
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana is the statue you can see from Bali Airport as you land.
Final Thoughts On The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
Garuda Wisnu Kencana is a fascinating place and the statue makes for one of the best photos that most foreign tourists will want for their Instagram feed of Bali.
Cultural Park offerings are similar to this throughout Southeast Asia and the chance to see the immense sculptures and street theatre here ought to be unmissable on a Balinese holiday.
Remember to talk to our friends at the Bali Res Centre to get your Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park tickets and arrange travel for the day.
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