Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, has gifted an imposing 16-foot-high statue of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of education and wisdom, to Washington DC.
The goddess’ statue, on top of a lotus, stands tall a block away from the Indian Embassy in front of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Hindus constitute just three per cent of the Indonesian population. A little over a mile from the White House, the statue is yet to be formally inaugurated, but has already become an attraction for city residents and large number of tourists who visit the city every day.
“Devi Saraswati is one of the Goddesses in Hinduism, the primarily practised religion among Balinese people in Indonesia, which itself is the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. Yet, her representation at the Indonesian Embassy was not decided out only of any religious grounds, but more on its symbolised values that parallel with several key principles of Indonesia-U.S. relations under comprehensive partnership, in particular education and people-to-people contact,” a spokesperson at the Indonesian Embassy told PTI.
The construction of the statue began in mid-April, and was built by five native Balinese sculptors led by I. Nyoman Sudarwa, who wrapped up the job in five weeks.