Showing posts from July, 2011

Beautiful Bali: Taking a Walk

Even with a hot tropical climate, it would be comfortable walking around Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. You don't have to have an umbrella but could still get yourself protected from the scorching sun by walking under the shadows of the cut hills. The tropical breeze would caress you as you walk but perhaps, you'd forgo that for a moment and run towards the little statue there in the distance, of a man with a lean torso releasing a bird and take a snapshot or two...

Take a walk here!

Traveling Tip: Walk under the shadows!

Beautiful Bali: A Privilege

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park began construction in 1997. Problems beset the project from the very beginning. Land had to be procured as only a hundred of the 250-hectare land belonged to the Badung regency. The rest had belonged to residents. The rocky and hilly area of Jimbaran of course had also to be cut and the 250-hectare land, cleared. The budget ballooned to hundreds of billions of rupiah and besides monetary problems, social and political crises which arose between l997 and l998 worsened the situation as did the fall of the Soeharto administration. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had however, promised that the project would be completed. Obtaining funds has always been a problem with big projects. Even with the Statue of Liberty (inset), there were great difficulties. While the statue was a gift from France, the Americans had to foot the bill for its pedestal and there was the economic depression to contend with. Construction stalled for years and it actually took ove…

Beautiful Bali: Sacred

There is a little spring adjacent to the Visnu bust. Don't underestimate this spring for this is the Pahrayangan Somaka Giri, a sacred spring. The water which flows here contains a rich mixture of minerals which reportedly could cure diseases. The spring is also widely used by local conjurers in rituals to invoke rain to ensure a hefty crop. That reminds me now of a little tomb of a mid-wife that used to be in old Kamunting Road in Taiping. The tomb was popular with childless couples whom I heard, would come to pray for a child. The tomb became somewhat like a shrine to the local Muslims so much so that it was demolished by the authorities. That was long ago and unlike the Pahrayangan Somaka Giri, the place had long stopped becoming a place for pilgrimage...

Don't underestimate this place....

Traveling Tip: Little places could be significant!

Beautiful Bali: Big Bust

Some people believe in only one God, and it makes me wonder if one could call Vishnu, which is spelled with a W in Bali, a god. As literature would have it, Visnu is said to be a major god in Hinduism, a member of the Hindu triad or the Great Trinity -the other two members being Brahma and Shiva. In the Indian epic, Mahabharata, it is said that during the quest for amrita, the elixir of immortality, the Garuda had encountered Vishnu. The two had then exchanged promises. Vishnu had promised Garuda immortality and the Garuda, in turn had promised to become Vishnu's mount. In Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural park, you'd just have to walk up some stairs from where the uncompleted Garuda is and you'd come to a huge 22 meter bust of Visnu constructed from giant copper and brass slabs. When completed, Visnu riding on its mount, Garuda, would become a symbol of freedom and selfless devotion...

Bust of Visnu...

Traveling Tip: You don't have to look far!

Beautiful Bali: Big Bird

Big Bird is not really the eight-foot-two-inch tall bright yellow bird that roller skates, ice skates, dances, sings, writes poetry, draws and even rides a unicycle in the children's television show Sesame Street. The Muppet character (inset) would not hold a candle to Bali's very own big bird, the Garuda in the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. The Garuda is actually a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in Hindu mythology and since most of Bali's population are Hindus, you'd expect to see the statues of Garuda in airports, hotels and many other places. In Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, there is one designed and built by Nyoman Nuarta, one of Indonesia’s foremost modern sculptor which when completed would stand tall with its wings spanning 64 meters...

Big Bird...

Traveling Tip: Revel in uncompleted work!

Beautiful Bali: Making of a Park

Maybe, Egypt had it or China or India too; - In ancient time when the pyramids, Great Wall or Taj Mahal was being built, there could be a little museum at the site to depict the making of the monuments. Bali's 20 hectare Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park certainly has one to depict the making of the park and its gargantuan statue of Wisnu and his Garuda. Taking a stroll through the museum perhaps would not quench every question one has but at least, you'd get to see pictures of the making of the statue and models of the statue,too. That would be interesting considering that the statue of Wisnu and his Garuda is not in its final form yet...

What would interest you here?

Traveling Tip: Take an interest in models!

Beautiful Bali: A Statue from Afar

La Liberté éclairant le monde probably sounds foreign to you but you'd recognise this colossal sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbour anytime. Otherwise known as The Statue of Liberty, the figure of the robed female figure bearing a torch and a tablet which inscribed the date of the Amercian Declaration of Independence was an icon of freedom to the United States and a widely recognised statue in the world. In Bali's Garuda Winsu Kencana cultural park, there is a lesser know statue of Wisnu, the Hindu god of creation, sitting on a mystical bird, Garuda. You would get to catch a glimpse of the statue from afar as this Nyoman Nuarta's creation is a huge statue by itself and when seated on the Garuda would have a height greater than that of the Statue of Liberty. Would you by any chance have spotted the statue of Wisnu in the accompanying photo?

Traveling Tip: Pay attention!