The giant statue that’s been years in the making at Bali’s Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park is set for its long overdue completion in August 2018.

The statue, rising up 121 meters from the hilly Bukit Peninsula has been specially constructed, taking earthquake resistance into account, says Nyoman Nuarta, the sculptor of the colossal project.

“The pedestal must be able to withstand an 8 Richter scale earthquake, with wind resistance of up to 250 kilometers/hour,” Nuarta told Detik on Tuesday.

The GWK statue, a depiction of the god Wisnu riding the mythological garuda creature, was designed 28 years ago. However, it’s bee a slow journey. Hindu leaders had stood in opposition to the project, afraid the giant statue would disrupt the spiritual balance and they took issue with a sacred symbol being used as a commercial tourist attraction. But the project has been pushed through anyway by those who have argued that it can bring in more tourists and revenue to Bali—with an extra hard shove to get things finished ahead of the big IMF-World Bank meeting set for October 2018 so delegates can dine in the big restaurant.

The complex shape of the wings has made the realization of the 3,000 ton sculpture a bit challenging for his team, says Nuarta.

The statue will sit on a pedestal, or building base, which will function as a restaurant that can serve up to 500 people. There will also be a museum and a viewing gallery which will allow a panoramic vista of the rest of South Bali.

“Somewhat under Wisnu’s head will be a viewing gallery facing the ocean,” Nuarta explained.

Nuarta hopes GWK can be a cultural center and a performing place for artists and his targets for the amount of visitors to the park are ambitious.

“It is our gift to the Republic. THis isn’t a national project, but private. The dream of GWK has been to become the backbone of our culture. The target is 6,000 tourists per day,” Nuarta said.

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