All Indians came together on 31st October 2018 to pay a tribute to The Icon of Unity Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated The Statue of Unity on his 143rd birth anniversary in his memory and celebrating his contribution towards helping India gain freedom.
The Statue of Unity project said: “As a memorial to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the statue will not only remind every individual of our great nation’s freedom struggle but will also inspire the people of our country to inculcate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s visionary ideologies of unity, patriotism, inclusive growth and good governance. It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres (597 feet) – that’s almost twice the height of The Statue of Liberty and almost five times the size of Rio’s eponymous Christ The Redeemer.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is doubtless one of the legendary figures of Indian nationhood and was crucial to the Indian independence movement and political organization of postcolonial India. He died in 1950, just three years after Indian Independence. When the sub-continent’s 584 princely states were given the choice of joining either Pakistan or India following the 1947 Partition, it was Patel who convinced more than 550 of them to join the latter. For that, he became known as the Iron Man of India. Unsurprisingly, the statue itself has been partly made of some 5,000 tonnes of iron.
Facts about the Statue of Unity
- The statue is a tribute to India’s freedom fighter and first deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Mr Patel was known as the “Iron Man of India” and played a significant role in persuading feuding statues to unite to become part of the Indian state after Independence in 1947.
- Constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,989 crore, the height of the statue is 182-metres, including the base of 25 metres.
- Built in less than five years, it is the world’s tallest, grandest and giant statue beating the Spring Temple Buddha in China which is currently the world’s biggest statue at 128 metres.
- It has been built on the Sadhu Island in the state of Gujarat near Rajpipla, 100 kilometers southeast of the city of Vadodara, with the waters of the Narmada river (also called the Sardar Sarovar dam) surrounding it. The dam itself is considered to be one of the largest structures standing at a height of 42 metres – its foundation stone was laid by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961. It is approximately 200 km from Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city.
- It will be able to withstand wind velocity up to 60 metres a second, vibration and earthquake.
- To welcome visitors, the Gujarat government has not only built a 3-star hotel, shopping centre and a research centre in the Sardar Patel statue complex but has also built high-speed elevators that will take you to a height of about 400 feet through the core of the statue where you can get panoramic view of the surroundings. About 200 people can stand at any given point of time on a platform close to the chest of the statue.
- The Indian government predicts the Statue of Unity will generate approximately 15,000 direct jobs for the local indigenous people every year.
- This ‘Statue of Unity’ has been built in a record 42 months’ time by the engineering and infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro. As many as 3,400 workers and 250 engineers worked round-the-clock to make the dream project of PM Modi a reality.
- The construction was started in the last week of October 2013 and completed in mid-October, 2018. It was inaugurated on October 31, 2018, which marks the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
- It is open to the public on all days of the week from 9am to 6pm. Entry for children below the age of 3 Is free. For adults and children above 3, tickets are priced at Rs 350 per person. This is a premium ticket which includes entry to the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, observation deck, Valley of Flowers, Statue of Unity site and Sardar Sarovar dam. There is also a cheaper option wherein you can opt for a basic entry ticket, priced at Rs. 120 for adults and Rs. 60 for children below 15. This includes a visit to the valley of flowers, the Statue of Unity site, the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, and Sardar Sarovar dam.
There is more to the statue then what meets the eye:
The statue promotes the Hindu nationalist view of Indian history and calls for unity, all while promoting free enterprise and seeking foreign investment.
- Being the tallest statue in the world would definitely attract a lot of visitors across the globe with an expectation to attract around 10,000 tourists daily.
- Improve the tourism industry of Gujarat.
- Create jobs, better infrastructure like expressway, road, railway and air connectivity.
- Income generated from the visitor centres, entry tickets, museum, restaurant and other sources will result in a lot of money boosting the economic growth.
How can one reach?
Travellers can reach the State of Unity by road, air or the sea. Two state highways connect the statue to all the prominent cities of Gujarat and the rest of India The airport and railhead in Vadodara are located at a distance of 90 km from the statue.
- By Air: Vadodara is a prominent city in Gujarat and is hence, well-connected to other major cities of the country. The Vadodara Airport , which is 90 km away provides easy access to the statue. Cabs and public transport is available at the airport and will take you directly to the statue.
- By Road: Vadodara railway station is the nearest railway station. After arriving at the station, simply take public transport which is easily available.
- By Road: A 320-meter-long bridge connects Sadhu Bet, the island where the statue is located, to the mainland
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