Giant sand Santa sculpted in India

Internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik created the world's biggest sand Santa - 35 feet high -- on Christmas Eve, at Puri Beach, in eastern India.

Patnaik's goal: to set a world record for creating the largest sand sculpture, as a part of a sand art festival.

"We have recreated the world's biggest Santa Claus in sand to spread the message of global peace," he said.

Patnaik and his 15-member team of sculptors used 1,800 tons of sand, working three, 12-hour days.

Celebrating the Holidays 2011

One tourist called it "very impressive. It's ... so large, so colorful, (and this is the) last place" to expect to see such a thing.

Christians form less than three percent of India's population of more than one billion, but Christmas is now widely celebrated in big cities.