Sometimes religion can be seen as a bit stuffy. Yes, yes, heavens, afterlife, we get it – but where are the mobile apps and dubstep remixes? Perhaps these institutions aren’t quite there yet, but one thing they can do is statues. Many artists have been inspired over the centuries to build inspiring homages to their favourite deities and this looks set to continue.
Let’s take a look at some of the coolest religious statues out there.
Christ the King – Swiebodzin, Poland
The tiny Polish town of Swiebodzin is home to the biggest Jesus in the world.
It was specifically designed to be 33 metres – one metre for every year of Jesus’ life. Fittingly, he wears a golden crown instead of the traditional thorn one – very bling.
That feature pips it to the post in terms of “cool big Jesuses” in our book, a title previously held by Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro because of the awesome view he looks down upon.
Shiva – Muni Ki Reti, Uttarakhand, India
The River Ganges is seen as the life spring of eastern India, and people go to pray and meditate in various sections along it accordingly. The Parmarth Niketan ashram in Muni Ki Reti on part of the river near Rishikesh is probably the coolest place to do it – it’s home to a stone incarnation of the god Shiva who you can mimic and pray with.
Check out how chilled he is, just hanging out on the banks like that.
Great Standing Maitreya Buddha – Taiwan
This chuckling corpulent chap is colossal, standing around 72 metres tall over Emai Lake in Taiwan. The “laughing buddha” representation of an enlightened Buddhist saint is characterised not only by a round belly and the giggles, but also by large distended earlobes – they represent the heavy earrings that the saint used to wear before doing away with material things.
Heavy metal, man. And this one’s holding the world in his hands. You know what they say – laugh and the whole world laughs with you.
(Featured image by Wonderlane: “Looking inside the Pharping Chorten there are thousands of statues of Buddhas, in many forms inside chortens, silk cloth banner, Pharping, Nepal.”)