The Statue of Unity is a tribute and memorial to the ‘Iron Man of India,’ Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
He was the first deputy prime minister and home minister of independent India and a participant in Gandhiji’s non-violent Indian independence movement.
The statue was built to propagate his vision of an independent India and inspire the citizens with his patriotism and freedom struggle.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is highly revered for his leadership in uniting 562 princely states of India with a significant part of the former British Raj to form the single Union of India.
The statue is made out of bronze and is the tallest in the world.
The project was described as a ‘Tribute to India from the people of Gujarat.’ The Statue of Unity is located on the banks of river Narmada in Gujarat on the river island of Sadhu.
It overlooks the Sardar Sarovar dam. The statue is an engineering marvel. The height of the statue is astonishing, and the fact that it is completed in a record time of 33 months.
Here are a few interesting facts about the statue of unity-
- Larsen and Toubro build it at the cost of 2989 crores. The statue comprises 180000 cubic meters of cement concrete and 18500 tons of reinforced steel. It has 6500 tons of structural steel in its interiors and 1700 tons of tones of bronze, along with 1850 tons of bronze cladding on the exterior.
- 33 months taken to complete the Statue of Unity, and it created a world record for the fastest developed statue.
- The government of India started the Loha campaign to collect farming iron equipment from the farmers, which was considered a contribution from the farmers of India to the building of the statue of ‘Iron Man of India.’ This campaign leads to sourcing 135 metric tons of iron from villagers all over India.
- It is the world’s giant statue at 182 meters. It is double the height of the Statue of Liberty, which is present in New York.
- The statue has a high-speed elevator, which can take you to an observation deck present at the chest height of the statue.
- You can get a bird’s eye view of the Narmada river and the beautiful Sardar Sarovar dam. The observation deck accommodates around 200 visitors at a time.
- The statue’s base is an exhibition hall and audio-visual gallery, which exhibits the life accomplishment of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
- Construction of the Statue of Unity was challenging enough. The statue was designed to withstand wind of 180 kmph and earthquakes up to an intensity of 6.5 on the Richter scale.
- The fact that the statue should resemble Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was essential. Experts consulted historians and people who had ever seen Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The statue depicts ‘The Iron Man of India’ walking on the river towards the Sardar Sarovar dam.
- The government of India has built an entire ecosystem of tourism around the statue. It contains a 3-star hotel, a museum, an audio-visual gallery, a garden, a boat dock, and area services for bus arrival.
- The statue was constructed on an island known as the Sadhu islet, which is present in the Narmada river. A 320 meters long and 26 meters wide bridge is built, connecting it to the mainland.
- Engineers have also designed a selfie point for visitors who are interested in photography.
Narendra Modi announced the project on 7th October 2013.
The statue’s design was submitted by Padma Bhusan awardee Indian sculptor Ram V, Sutar. The Statue of Unity is a much larger replica of the leader’s statue at Ahmedabad International airport.
The head is held high; a shawl is flung from the shoulders, and hands are on his side. He is depicted wearing a dhoti and sandals. The statues were built by a public-private partnership, and the government of Gujarat raised the money.
500 crores were allotted for the project from 2000 to 2015, but in 2014, a 15 union budget of 200 was allocated for the same.
Timings and Entry Free :
Thousands of tourists visit the statue daily. The timings for visiting the statue are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entry fees are 120 INR for adults and 60 INR for children.
How to reach :
You can get the statue via state highway 11 and state highway 63.
The statue was inaugurated on 31st October 2018 on the occasion of the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Due to the natural aging process of metals, the statue of unity is expected to turn from its original bronze color to green in the next hundred years.
Inside the Status :
It has a viewing gallery at the height of 500 feet from the river bed. This is known as the observation deck, accommodating up to 200 visitors simultaneously.
The structure contains a three-star lodging facility of 52 rooms, known as the Shrestha Bharat Bhavan. The premises has a food court, museum, a memorial, garden, research center, and a convention center.
A valley of flowers is developed along the bank of the Narmada river. Initially, three statue models were designed, measuring 3 feet, 18 feet, and 30 feet; the largest model was approved, and Earth and the detailed 3D scan were performed. This formed the basis for the bronze cladding. The height of 182 meters is chosen to match the seat numbers in the legislative assembly of Gujarat.
The project was supervised by a consortium of Turner Construction, Michael Graves and Associates, and the Meinhardt Group. It took 87 months to complete the project, 15 months for planning, 40 months for the construction, and two months for handing over by the consortium. Narendra Modi served as the chief minister of Gujarat then.
Over 3000 workers and 250 engineers were involved in the statue’s construction. The local tribes belonging to the Tadvi tribe had problems developing the statue and tourism infrastructure surrounding it.
They have been offered land compensation and provided with jobs. People of other villages also opposed the construction of the statue.
A laser technology light and sound show is projected on the Statue of Unity. Every evening except on Mondays, a colorful lighting system is accompanied by a beautiful narration of the history and life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, along with his contribution to the Indian independence movement.
The valley of flowers is popularly known as the Bharat Van and is spread across 24 acres of land on the banks of the river Narmada. It began with 48,000 plants in 2016 but reached up to 22,00,000 plants.
There are several photo booths and selfie points in this spot. It has ornamental flowers, trees, shrubs, climbers, herbs, and creepers. It is a lush green area that thousands of tourists visit daily.
The Sardar Sarovar Dam is India’s third highest concrete dam after the Bhakhra Nagal Dam in Himachal and Lakhwar in Uttar Pradesh. It is also ranked the second-largest globally, with an aggregate volume of 6.28 million cubic meters, after the Grand Coulee Dam in the USA. The Cactus Garden is located near the Statue of Unity, which exhibits various cactus and succulents.
An interesting fact about the Narmada valley near the statue is that recent archaeological excavations have revealed that Rajasaurus Narmadensis, an endemic species of dinosaurs, existed in the Narmada valley during the cretaceous period.
A replica of this endemic dinosaur is created and exhibited for the visitors. Children’s nutrition park has been built here, a unique theme park; it was built as a part of the Kevadiya Integrated Development based on the theme of ‘Sahi Poshan Desh Roshan.’ It enlightens children about healthy eating habits and nutritional values.
There is a mall named Ekta Mall, which symbolizes unity in diversity and is a hallmark of Indian culture, situated near the statue of unity. It is spread over an area of 35000 square feet. It has shops retailing Handicrafts and handlooms to establish the artist clusters of the country.
A garden known as the butterfly garden is situated on the banks of the river Narmada near the statue. This has more than 70 species of butterflies, and the park covers an area of 10 acres. It has 150 species of nectar plants and is a nature lovers’ delight.
There is an Ekta nursery, envisioned by Shri Narendra Modi Ji, the Prime Minister of India, near the statue. It was set up to build social awareness about eco-friendly practices; it has around lakh plants.
There is a handicraft center where you can experience making bamboo crafts, organic pots, and leaf utensils and purchasing them. You can also witness the hydroponics technology, basically soilless farming.
Approximate heights of various notable statues:
- Statue of Unity 240 m (790 ft) (incl. 58 m (190 ft) base)
- Spring Temple Buddha 153 m (502 ft) (incl. 25 m (82 ft) pedestal and 20 m (66 ft) throne)
- Statue of Liberty 93 m (305 ft) (incl. 47 m (154 ft) pedestal)
- The Motherland Calls 87 m (285 ft) (incl. 2 m (6 ft 7 in) pedestal)
- Christ the Redeemer 38 m (125 ft) (incl. 8 m (26 ft) pedestal)
- Michelangelo’s David 5.17 m (17.0 ft) (excl. 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) plinth)
It would be best if you visited this statue of world record and impeccable architectural marvel.