The world’s tallest statue—Sardar Patel’s statue or the Statue of Unity—will be inaugurated by PM, during a gala function on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary on 31 October. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had laid the foundation stone for the project on 31 October 2013, will also be the one to inaugurate it on Wednesday.
Double the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Sardar Patel statue near the Narmada Dam in Gujarat is not only the tallest in the world but also the one to be completed in the shortest time. The 182-metre Statue of Unity took 33 months to complete while China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue took 11 years.
Fascinating Facts about Sardar Patel:
- Sardar Patel was India’s first Deputy Prime Minister
- On the first anniversary of Independence, Patel was appointed as the Home Minister of India.
- Patel practiced law at Godhra, Borsad and Anand in Gujarat, after passing the bar examination; he borrowed books from senior lawyers.
- At 36, Patel travelled to England and enrolled in the Middle Temple Inn, a school for barristers. He finished a 36-month course within just 30 months and topped the final examination despite having no previous college experience.
- In the initial stages of the freedom movement, Patel was not interested in politics or the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. However, after meeting Gandhi in Godhra, Patel joined the Congress and became the secretary of the Gujarat Sabha that became a Congress stronghold later.
- On Gandhi’s call, Patel quit his job and joined the movement to fight for exemption of taxes in Kheda at the time of plague and famine.
- Patel joined Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement and travelled around West India to recruit 3, 00,000 members. He also collected more than Rs 1.5 million for the party fund.
- He worked extensively against alcohol consumption, untouchability, caste discrimination and for women emancipation in Gujarat and outside.
- When Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned, Patel was asked to lead the Satyagraha movement in Nagpur in 1923 against the British law of banning the hoisting of the Indian Flag.
- As India’s first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel played a key role in the integration of the princely states.
- Sardar Patel is popularly known as ‘Iron Man of India’.
- He is credited for the political integration of over 500 princely states into the independent Indian Union. For this reason, October 31st (his birthday) is celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Divas (National Unity Day).
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991.
Here are some interesting features of the Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat:
- Built by Larsen & Toubro Ltd at a cost of ₹2,989 crore, the Statue of Unity is made up of 1,700 tonnes of bronze and 1,850 tonnes of bronze cladding on the exterior. The interior is filled with concrete cement (180,000 cubic metres), reinforced steel (18,500 tonnes) and structured steel (6,500 tonnes).
- If you are about 5.6 feet tall, the giant State of Unity is 100 times larger than you.
- 3.There are two high-speed passenger elevators in the statue’s core which take you up to the chest of the statue to a viewing gallery, which can accommodate 200 tourists at a time. This is also the best place to get a bird’s eye view of the picturesque environs of the Narmada river and its dam surrounded by the Satpura and Vindhyachal hills.
- With a three-star hotel, museum and audio visual gallery, the government has tried to build an entire ecosystem of tourism infrastructure centered on the statue in the remote, hilly terrain.
- The construction of the Sardar Patel statue has had its own engineering challenges, not just due to its height but also because of its location in the middle of the Narmada river and the walking pose of Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The statue is designed to withstand winds of almost 180km/hour and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.
- Noida-based sculptor Ram V. Sutar, who designed the statue, took special care to ensure that the statue’s face resembles Patel’s facial features. For the process, around 2,000 photographs from archives were studied. Historians and people who had seen the “Iron Man” were also consulted. From a distance, it appears as if Sardar Patel is walking on water towards the Sardar Sarovar dam.
- The Gujarat government is also building a 3.5km long highway for tourists to reach the statue from Kevadia town.
- A 320-metre-long designer bridge connects Sadhu Island to the mainland. You can also take a boat ride.
- Around 135 metric tonnes of iron were crowdsourced from lakhs of villages all over India for use in the project.
- Clicking images at the statue site will be easier with a selfie point that has a good vantage point for photography.
- The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), set up by Modi in 2011 arranged some 129 tonnes of iron implements from nearly 100 million farmers in 169,000 villagesacross all states to construct the base of the statue.
- The Rs 3,050 crore project, fully funded by the Gujarat government, was brought to fruition by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar and intricate bronze cladding work by a Chinese foundry, the Jiangxi Toqine Company (JTQ).