New Delhi: Eight years after proposing the ambitious project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning unveiled the Statue of Unity — the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres — built in honour of freedom fighter and India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Air Force planes showered flowers on the statue in a grand inaugural event on the banks of the Narmada River in Gujarat as Modi dedicated it to the nation. Modi poured soil and Narmada water into a ‘Kalash’ to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. He also did a virtual “Abhishek” of the statue with the help of a lever.
As part of 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, people across the country including Mysuru participated in the ‘Run for Unity’ this morning.
At 182 metres, the Sardar Patel statue is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York City and four times that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. It has been built on a rocky island on the Narmada river, 3.5-km South of the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in Narmada district of Gujarat.
On Oct. 29, 2013, Modi, who was then the Gujarat Chief Minister, along with then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, shared a rare platform in Ahmedabad on the inauguration of a museum built by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Memorial Society. Modi and Singh took digs at each other, keen to appropriate Sardar Patel’s legacy for their respective parties.
Two days later (Oct. 31), Modi laid the foundation stone for Statue of Unity. Patel belonged to the Congress, but is a hero to the BJP, which contrasts his iron man qualities with what it calls the weaknesses of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. Modi has on several occasions said Patel was ignored by the Congress and not allowed to become India’s first Prime Minister.
Dedicating the statue to the nation, PM Modi said, “Statue of Unity is an answer to all those who question the existence of India. The height of the statue is to remind the youth that the future of the country will be as huge as this. It is also symbolic of our engineering and technology affordability.”
Crediting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for “uniting India,” PM Modi said, “Had Sardar Patel not united the country, we would need visas to see lions or pay homage at Somanath or view the Charminar in Hyderabad. Patel converted India’s diversity into its biggest strength. The country is today following the path shown by Patel and is moving towards becoming the world’s greatest economic and strategic power.”
The project took 42 months to complete. Apart from the statue itself, there are five other related sites that are constructed along with the world’s tallest statue. These include the walkway, the ticket counter, the food court, the four-lane approach highway, and the ‘Shrestha Bharat Bhavan’- a 52-room three-star lodging facility for the visitors coming to see the monument.
Launching an attack on those opposing the Statue of Unity, Modi says he is “amazed” that protesters are giving it a “political colour.” “The statue is a symbol of country’s respect to this great man. Praising great icons like Patel has also brought us criticism. It seems like we have committed a big crime.”
What is Statue of Unity?
The statue shows Patel wearing a traditional dhoti and shawl, towering over the Narmada River. The statue has been designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V. Sutar and has been built by Larsen and Toubro (that has a branch in Mysuru too) and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.
The foundation stone for the project was laid in 2013. The Rs. 2,989 crore project took 42 months, and round-the-clock work by 4,076 labourers and 250 engineers to complete. They include around 800 locals and about 200 workers from China who worked in batches since September 2017.
Iron was collected from all over the country for the statue of Sardar Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India. 77,000 tonnes concrete was used and 5,700 tonnes steel for was used to build the framework. 1,850 tonnes of bronze sheets were also used.
Interesting facts of Statue
The Statue of Unity measures 182 metres in height. The height was picked as ‘182’ metre to match the total Assembly constituencies in Gujarat. The Statue of Unity beats China’s ‘Spring Temple Buddha’ (153 metres), Mayanmar’s Laykyun Setkyar (116 metres), Japan’s Ushiku Daibutsu (110 metres), USA’s Statue of Liberty (97 metres) Thailand’s The Great Buddha (91 metres) and Russia’s The Motherland Calls (87 metres) as the world’s tallest statue.
Construction began with the feet in January 2016, moving on next to the dhoti, the knees and then the shawl flung over the statue’s shoulders, reaching all the way down. All these specifications, including showing Patel’s legs clad in a dhoti and his feet in sandals, mean the statue is thinner at the base than the top.
This is unlike other tall statues, which have a wider base for stability. Besides this, the designers and engineers had to account for the wind factor, given the location and height of the Patel statue, and to factor in the possibility of earthquakes. It can sustain wind velocity of 220 kilometres per hour and earthquakes measuring up to 6.5 on the Richter Scale.
Special Selfie Points
The statue will have a viewing gallery at a height of 153 metres and can accommodate up to 200 visitors at a time. Facilities for the public ranges from Selfie Points created in a 5 km radius around the statue, to a museum at the statue’s base that has artefacts and documents from the life of Sardar Patel, including from his personal life.
The museum also has an 8-foot prototype of the head of the Statue of Unity. For accommodation, 3-star hotel with food service, guest amenities, and conference facilities is coming up. Two tent cities, comprising 50 and 200 tents, have also been set up on Narmada banks.
Making of Statue of Unity: The timeline
Oct 2013: Foundation stone laid by then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi
Oct 2014: L&T awarded contract. Construction of the base begins by reducing Sadhu Bet hillock to size
April 2015: Geo-technical and hydrological surveys completed. Wind tunnel tests undertaken. Detailed light, shadow study conducted to determine the orientation
Dec 2015: Round-the-clock concreting of 3-metre-deep raft foundation for six days to ensure bearing capacity
Jan 2016: Construction of RCC cores begins, beginning with feet of the statue
Oct 2016: Construction of RCC cores completed up to 25 metres of the statue, just above the ankles
June 2017: Statue core wall, statue base, statue base arches completed. Statue completed up to 59 metres or the shin
Sept 2017: RCC cores reach up to the height of the statue’s knees, or 90 metres
Dec 2017: Steel structural base affixed; bronze cladding begins
Feb 2018: RCC cores completed up to 151 metres, or near the statue’s chest
July 2018: RCC cores completed up to 157 metres, where there will be a viewing gallery
Follow Star of Mysore on Instagram www.instagram.com/starofmysore
In my opinion, the money spent on this statue is a waste. Why do we need statues? The best way to honor leaders of India’s independence is by improving the life of common man. Just imagine, how many rural sanitary projects could have been funded by the money spent on this statue.
Well deserved honor to one of the greatest leaders! He deserved it a few decades ago! Some say it is a waste of money! We did not build for 6 decades! So, why did not we make villages better or sanitation projects available? Only looting happened in 7 decade! Now when somebody we don’t like does not like does something good, we use all that logic for the better use of money
MMS probably did not get the permission from Madam and her son to attend this function! MMS was a great fan of Sardar Patel!
Mr. Sam, in your letter you make a lot of assumptions.
I did not say Sardar Patel was not a great leader. I am of the opinion had Patel been the prime minister of India he would have solved the Kashmir problem. The reason he was not chosen is because Gandhi didn’t want him because he was considered as a hardliner. Hence the creation of deputy prime minster post. After Patel’s deathh, the post of deputy prime minister was never used again. He was dedicated Congress man.
Mr. Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, decided to build the statue of Vallababahi Patel and coopted Patel into BJP. Since Mr. Modi, as the Prime Minister also started the Swacha Bharath Abhinyan Project, he could have dedicated that project in honor of Patel and spent the money on it. It may come as a surprise to you that lot of farmers in Gujarat are questioning why the wisdom of spending nearly $400 million on a statue when farmers are committing suicide.
Congress ruled India for 49 yers out of 71 years since Independence. Indira Gandhi was not interested in building a statue for Patel, or cleaning villages as she was more interested in power. You are right they were corrupt. You have to remember there was a BJP led government for 4 years with Vajpai as Prime Minister. He didn’t build the statue or make villages better. One thing is clear Mr. Bajpai, personally, was an honest and incorruptible politician. But he had lot of people in the party and ministries who were not so.
Mr. Modi is also an honest man and he rose to his position by hardwork and ability. But in politics you have to live with dishonest people to be in power.
You automatically assume, anyone who expresses an opinion, contrary to yours, must be anti Modi or anti BJP. Not so fast Mr. Sam, I am supporter of BJP and you better get used to the fact I may not agree with everything BJP or Mr. Modi does.
To quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a senator from New York, — ‘You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.’
I have my own quote: “When you assume, you make an ass of yorself!”
ha ha good reply.
In my opinion, India has so many problems-public health that needs money to provide clean drinking water for example as a priority. Harping back to history, which is what this statue represents, is a top priority?
I have been watching news channels for 3 days and they all seem to be screaming loudly ever to imply that Modi and Bjp literally misused the public money for their propaganda, the money that could be used to help the poor people. Living conditions, sanitation, roads and every noble cause on this planet! It was 3000 crores wasted!!
Let us try to evaluate the reality!
We did not build this statue for 6 decades! So, are we assuming that previous governments handed over this money to Modi and Modi blew it ?
We had 100 plus scams in 6 decades! From 2003 to 2013 we had one scam ever month with thousands of crores! So, if they did not steal, they could have built one statue every week for the last 10 year! Why do we remember poor people and their suffering, all the developments needed only when the people whom you don’t like does something! Where were the conscience of the News channels and media when looting was going on with both hands winder a PM who was a better statue than the one that was inaugurated ?
I am not a Modi or a BJP fan! I used to vote for congress or Bjp if the local candidate was better than the other! So, any person who wants to call me a Bhakth is just exercising his right to be idiotic! It is a free country contrary to some people think that it is their voice more important!
This selective amnesia of the media and anti Modi brigade is appalling! We went through a decade of scams and the scansters are calling Modi corrupt!
Also, doesn’t this statue bring tourism, help businesses, taxi drivers, hotels, rikshawwakad and other small businessmen? Are they all modi’s relatives?
Is defeating Modi is do important that we will go back to being ruled by a pack of wolves? People should think about it very seriously! Today India has earned a lot of respect in the world!
Got some people it is not suitable for their way of life they were accustomed to!
Sorry about it Sir/Madam! Had no intention of hurting you! I hear this logic in all news media yelling at the top of their lungs about Modi misusing poor peoples money to promote himself! Ot makes anybody angry if you are not biased! Obviously it is hard to conclude! Neither I concluded that you were anti Modi! I also used to be naive that if money is not spent on something it will be used for improving the conditions! It is not true! Indian genes is corrupt! Just See how many people are calling Modi corrupt while his mother travels in Riksha, his brother is an ordinary businessman! Abd we went though s looting spree for a decade no holds barred! And we morons seem to think media is telling us the truth! May be this statue looks like a dead investment but when tourism kicks in it really helps s lot of small businesses and commoners! Not even one tv channel talks about it!
Nobody would be talking if we erected a statue of Gauri Lankesh instead😀
There you go again, Mr. Sam!
It appears you did not understand my letter. I did not berate your support of the statue. I expressed my opinion there are other ways of honoring our leaders. You seem to think ones opinion is binary: if you don’t support Mr. Modi you must be against him. That is sad! Sometimes, I disagree with my good friends opiion, yet I value their friendship. Fortunately for me, my friends respect my opinion and agree to disagree. That is what MATURE AND GROWN UP PEOPLE DO!
Let me reiterate that I like Narendra Modi and support BJP. I want him to succeed! Personally, I don’t want to see Congress in power anytime soon. Having said that, I still maintain there are better ways of honoring leaders than building statues. You have a different opinion, and that is your right.
As for hurting me, don’t flatter yourself!
Have a nice day!
When Mayawati built a lot of statues of elephants nobody complained! But during election, Congress went to election commission and brought the order that all elephant statues should be covered! Now, SARDAR statue will cause the same issue! Who knows? Congress may complain to EC that it should be covered until election is over!😁
Talk of the town is Former Prime Minister HD Devegowda planning for his Statue in Hassan. What scares me is now all the prices will go high like we are now suffering for Farmers loan issue. In my opinion too spending so much on Statues is a waste of money.
Brace yourself for attack from JDS and Congress zealots on one side and BJP zealots on the other side!