India is a country of different colors and cultures. It is the largest democratic and second-largest country in population around the world. Where the northern states of India are famous for their architecture & monuments while southern states are famous for their history, architecture and for beaches; eastern states for their greenery and environment and western states are famous for their rich culture and desert. So we can say that India is a complete country where you can enjoy a lot and you can find delicious food everywhere. One of the wonders of the World “Taj Mahal” is also there in Agra and India has many UNESCO designated sites. In addition to this, India also built the tallest statue around the World called “Statue of Unity”. It is built in a western state in Gujrat. The Statue of Unity is a tribute to the Indian statesman and independence activist Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875–1950).
About Statue of Unity:
The Statue of Unity is a colossal statue of Indian statesman Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who was also called “Iron Man” of India. He was a senior leader of Indian National Congress and a prominent figure in the Indian Freedom Struggle, who later became India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and first Home Minister. Sardar Patel was instrumental in uniting the country through the merger of small princely states. He integrated 565 small and big princely states into a newly independent India. The Statue of Unity is a patriotic symbol of the legacy of a man who spent his life in the struggle for freedom. As a mark respect, the statue is located at his birthplace in Gujarat state.
The “Statue of Unity” is three times taller than the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro & twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York. The Statue of Unity also surpassed the previous record-holder, the Spring Temple Buddha in China. The Statue of Unity has been included in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s ‘‘8 Wonders of SCO’’ list.
The Statue of Unity is at Sadhu Bet Island in Gujrat on Narmada river; 100 km (62 mi) southeast of the city of Vadodara and 150 km (93 mi) from Surat. The total height of the structure is 240 m (790 ft), with a base of 58 m (190 ft) and a statue of 182 m (597 ft). The height of 182 was specifically chosen to match the number of seats in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. The statue is facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi first announced the project to commemorate Vallabhbhai Patel on 7 October 2013. A separate Society named Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET) has been formed under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister, Government of Gujarat. The statue is designed by Ram Vanji Sutar (awarded with Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan). Ram V. Sutar is a famous Indian sculptor.
The Statue of Unity was built by Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. Indian infrastructure company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) won the contract on 27 October 2014 for its lowest bid. A 12 km square lake will create an atmosphere of equality and diversity and the Sadhu Bet hillock was flattened from 70 to 55 metres to lay the foundation. The statue is made with a steel frame and reinforced concrete. For durability, the statue has been given bronze plating.
Over 3200 workers and 250 engineers of L&T employees worked in the statue’s construction. The core of the statue used 210,000 cubic metres (7,400,000 cu ft) of cement concrete, 6500 tonnes of structural steel, and 18500 tonnes of reinforced steel. The outer façade is made up of 1700 tonnes of bronze plates and 1850 tonnes of bronze cladding which in turn comprise 565 macro and 6000 micro panels. The bronze panels were cast in Jiangxi Tongqing Metal Handicrafts Co. Ltd (the TQ Art foundry) in China. The bronze panels were transported over the sea and then by road to the workshop near the construction site where they were assembled.
The statue was completed in mid-October 2018; and the inaugural ceremony was held on 31 October 2018 (143rd birth anniversary of Vallabhbhai Patel). Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue. This is an engineering marvel that was completed in merely 46 months. The statue has been described as a tribute to Indian engineering skills. The statue has a 153 m high viewing deck able to hold 200 visitors. It has a panoramic view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. The total cost of this construction is of ₹ 2,989 crore which is equivalent to ₹ 36 billion or US$ 500 million in 2018 for the design, construction, and maintenance. L&T will take care of this site for the next 25 years.
The statue is built to withstand winds of up to 180 km per hour (110 mph) and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale which is at a depth of 10 km and within a radius of 12 km of the statue. The statue and its surroundings occupy more than 2 hectares (4.9 acres) and are surrounded by a 12 km (7.5 mi) long artificial lake formed by the Garudeshwar weir downstream on the Narmada river.
Over 128,000 tourists visited it in 11 days after it was opened to the public on 1 November 2018. The daily average tourist footfall at Statue of Unity during November 2019 reached 15,036; outpacing Statue of Liberty (attracts around 10,000 daily visitors on average). A total of 3.8 million tourists have visited the statue till January 2020. The Statue has two high-capacity elevators with a speed of 4 meters per second to reach the viewing platform at 153 meter. Visitors will be able to access a viewing gallery 153 metres up — about chest height on the huge standing figure. There is also a large audio-visual exhibition gallery, spread across 4647 sq.mt area with an automated ramp. A museum and a memorial also constructed at the base showcasing artifacts and documents from the life of Sardar Patel. Cafeteria and a 3-star hotel accommodation will be available in the middle of the hills of Narmada forest and the nearest airport would be Vadodara, about 90 km. A special tent city will be set up with 250 tents spread across 70,000 sq ft to provide tourists an experience of night stay on the banks of Narmada. It will be powered by solar energy with panels capable to generate 250 kw power. The nearest railway station and airport to the Statue of Unity are both located in Vadodara. However one can easily visit the Statue of Unity from Ahmedabad and Surat, with both cities having railway stations, airports, and being within 2-4 hours driving distance from the Statue of Unity.