Garuda Namesake and Dedication Plaque

The garuda is mythological bird (or birdlike creature) important to both Hindu and Buddhist tradition. In Hinduism, the garuda is a deity, often depicted as the enormous vehicle of Vishnu, large enough to block out the sun; and in the epic Mahabharata, Garuda was both a character and a symbol for speed, force, and military ability.

According to Buddhism, garudas are also enormous, though here they are multiple, exceptionally intelligent, and well organized. The garuda continued to be an important cultural symbol well into the early 21st century, symbolizing entities as diverse as Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, the royal family of Thailand, and the greatness of the Indonesian nation.