Ghatotkacha Karna war statue near Denpasar airport, Bali

Almost everyone who visits Bali would have seen this statue near the airport. This statue is just about 500 meters from airport and every vehicle arriving or leaving the airport circles around it. But not many care to stop and take a closer look- to understand who are the characters depicted in this statue and what is its importance.

This post aims to give you a brief about the same.

The Status is called Patung Satria Ghatodkaja (meaning Statue of Warrior Ghatodkaja). Never mind the exact spelling- it is not an English name, so while translating from Sanskrit different writers use different spelling to suit their way of pronunciation or what they think is the right spelling. So you will find all variations- Ghatokacha, Ghatodgaja, Gatotkaca etc.

Ghatodkaja is a character in Hindu Mythology, Mahabharatha. Most of us easily recall characters like Arjuna, Bhima, Draupadi, the Kauravas etc, but not Ghatodkaja. But trust Indonesians to remember every details of Hindu mythology and depict them beautifully in public places n temple complexes. The Ghatodgaja statue near Bali airport is a perfect example of the same, giving visitors a good visual of Mahabharatha as soon as they arrive. 
 Let us take a closer look at Ghatodkaja (derived by cropping )
Story of Ghtatotkacha
Ghatotkacha is said to be son of Bhima and Hidimbi (a Rakshasi). This made him half human and half Rakshasa, with several super powers (that Rakshasas often possess). His name is derived from the observation that his head is hairless and resembles a pot (Ghata in Sanskrit means pot and Utkach meaning without hair.)

During the Kurushetra war, Bhima seeks Ghatotkacha's help in assisting in Pandava army. With his magical powers, Ghatotkacha manages to wreck havoc in Kaurava camp, attacking from air and beyond the reach of regular soldiers or their weapons. This prompts Duryodhana (head of Kaurava camp) to summon Karna and ask him to kill Ghatodkacha to prevent complete wipe out of Kaurava sena (army). Karna fights with Ghatotkaja with his devine weapon (which he had originally intended to use against his arc rival, Arjuna). The statue below depicts Karna (sitting in the chariot) fighting Ghatotkacha (standing on the head of the horses- notice the expression on horse's face in closeup above). Kaarna manages to kill Ghatodgaja but this had its own drawbacks. Now Karna doesn't have his divine weapon to use against Arjuna, so Pandavas eventually manage to win the war. Thus Ghatodgaja is seen as a hero who sacrificed himself so that Arjuna could survive and take Pandavas to victory.
 Karna's horse is piloted by Salya
 The name plate
 A pic focusing on horse's face

Above photo clicked by fellow blogger, Swati Jain

While Indians hardly recognize Ghatotkaja, Balinese people admire and respect him as a loyal, respectful and diligent person.

So next time you visit Bali, do stop near this statue and pay closer attention and a tribute to heros of the Mahabharatha. You can buy sim cards from shop near this statue for much cheaper price (compared to buying it in Airport). Tender coconut and other refreshments are also available nearby for reasonable price So a stop near the Ghatotkacha statue is totally worth it.

Do visit Pandawa beach in extreme south Bali for more statues from Mahabharatha

Also visit: Kumbakarna Statue near Uluwatu Temple, Bali * Statue of Liberty, NY * Motherhood and other statues, Kolkata * Victory tower column, Berlin, Germany
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