On Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Statue of Unity – a bronze statue of India’s first home minister who is credited with uniting 562 princely states in pre-independent India to build the Republic of India.
First announced on 7 October 2010 by Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the foundation of the project was laid on 31 October 2013.
Designed by Padma Bhushan recipient sculptor Ram V Sutar, construction of the statue began on 31 October 2014.
The state government fully funded the Rs 3,050-crore project which covers an area of 20,000 square metres and is surrounded by a 12 square kilometre artificial lake.
Here are some more facts about the statue:
1. At 182 metres, Statue of Unity is the tallest statue in the world.
It towers over China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue by 29 metres and the world famous Statue of Liberty by 89 metres. The height of the base of Statue of Unity is 58 metres.
2. The statue faces the Narmada Dam and is located on a river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla on Narmada River.
3. It is located between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges near Kevadia town in Gujarat.
The town will be connected to the location of the statue by a 3.5 km highway.
4. Over 3,000 workers, including 300 engineers from Larsen & Toubro (L&T), built the statue within three-and-a-half years.
5. Around 129 tonnes of iron implements were obtained from nearly 100 million farmers in 169,000 villages across all states for the statue.
6. The bronze cladding of the statue has been done by China’s Jiangxi Toqine Company (JTQ).
The innermost layer of the three-layered structure is made of reinforced cement concrete (RCC), steel and 8 mm bronze.
7. Statue of Unity will turn from its original bronze colour to green in 100 years due to a natural aging process.
There is nothing unusual about the change in colour. The Statue of Liberty was originally dull brown in colour and turned green in about 30 years due to oxidation.
8. The statue will be able to withstand earthquakes and wind speed up to around 100 km per second.
9. Four high-speed lifts are fitted in the statue’s legs. Each lift can carry 26 people to the top in just above 30 seconds.
10. The statue has a viewing gallery at 153 metres from where around 200 people can have a panoramic view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, and the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges.
11. A museum, a 3-star lodging facility, a food court, a memorial garden and a grand museum are part of the Statue of Unity.