Since time immemorial, architecture and monuments have given India her identity. From historical Ajanta & Ellora caves to Delwara Temple of Mount Abu and from Taj Mahal to Meenakshi Temple of Madurai, Indian architecture showcases its elegance and superiority across the globe. The most prolific creation in recent times, the Statue of Unity, is the World’s Tallest Monument. It represents more than a colossal structure facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada. It is an iconic symbol of the ‘Iron Man’, who played an important role during India’s freedom struggle and thereafter in the unification of the princely states. It reminds the world of the towering personality of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the nucleus of India’s integration as a united country.
Patel was highly respected for his leadership in uniting the 552 princely states of India to form the single Union of India. It is located in the state of Gujarat, India. It is the world's tallest statue with a height of (597 ft) 182 metres. It is located on a river facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam on river Narmada in Kevadiya colony, 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of the city of Vadodara and 150 kilometres (93 mi) from Surat.
The Statue of Unity is an enlarged version of this statue in the Ahmedabad International Airport.
The project was first announced in 2010 and the construction of the statue started in October 2013 by Larsen & Toubro, It was designed by Indian sculptor Ram V. Sutar, and was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 31 October 2018, the 143rd birth anniversary of Patel.
The statue depicts Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement, the first Deputy Prime Minister of India, and responsible for the integration of hundreds of princely states into the modern Republic of India.The Statue of Unity is an enlarged version of this statue in the Ahmedabad International Airport.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Ji
The Statue of Unity is a much larger replica of a statue of the leader installed at Ahmedabad International Airport. Commenting on the design, Ram Sutar's son, Anil Sutar, explains that "the expression, posture and pose justify the dignity, confidence, iron will as well as kindness that his personality exudes. The head is up, a shawl flung from shoulders and hands are on the side as if he is set to walk". Three models of the design measuring 3 feet (0.91 m), 18 feet (5.5 m), and 30 feet (9.1 m) were initially created. Once the design of the largest model was approved, a detailed 3D-scan was produced which formed the basis for the bronze cladding cast in a foundry in China.
Patel's dhoti-clad legs and the use of sandals for footwear rendered the design thinner at the base than at the top thereby affecting its stability. This was addressed by maintaining a slenderness ratio of 16:19 rather than the customary 8:14 ratio of other tall buildings. The statue is built to withstand winds of up to 180 kilometres per hour (110 mph) and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale which are at a depth of 10 km and within a radius of 12 km of the statue. This is aided by the use of two 250-tonne tuned mass dampers which ensure maximum stability. The total height of the structure is 240 m (790 ft), with a base of 58 m (190 ft) and statue of 182 m (597 ft). The height of 182 was specifically chosen to match the number of seats in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
The statue of Unity was built by Public Private Partnership model, with most of the money raised by the Government of Gujarat. The Gujarat state government had allotted 500 crore for the project in the budget from 2012 to 2015. In the 2014–15 Union Budget,200 crore were allocated for the construction of the statue. Funds were also contributed by Public Sector Undertakings under Corporate Social Responsibility scheme.
A consortium comprising Turner Construction, Michael Graves and Associates and the Meinhardt Group supervised the project. It took 57 months to complete – 15 months for planning, 40 months for construction and two months for handing over by the consortium. The total cost of the project was estimated to be about 2,063 crore by the government. The tender bids for the first phase were invited in October 2013 and were closed in November 2013.
Indian infrastructure company Larsen & Toubro won the contract on 27 October 2014 for its lowest bid of 2,989 crore for the design, construction and maintenance. They commenced the construction on 31 October 2014. In the first phase of the project, 1,347 crore were for the main statue, 235 crore for the exhibition hall and convention centre, 83 crore for the bridge connecting the memorial to the mainland and 657 crore for the maintenance of the structure for 15 years after its completion. The Sadhu Bet hillock was flattened from 70 to 55 metres to lay the foundation.
L&T employed over 3000 workers and 250 engineers in the statue's construction. The core of the statue used 210,000 cubic metres (7,400,000 cu ft) of cement concrete, 6500 tonnes of structural steel, and 18500 tonnes of reinforced steel. The outer façade is made up of 1700 tonnes of bronze plates and 1850 tonnes of bronze cladding which in turn comprise 565 macro and 6000 micro panels. The bronze panels were cast in Jiangxi Tongqing Metal Handicrafts Co. Ltd (the TQ Art foundry) in China as suitable facilities were unavailable in India. The bronze panels were transported over sea and then by road to the workshop near the construction site where they were assembled.
Local tribals belonging to the Tadvi tribe opposed land acquisition for the development of tourism infrastructure around the statue. They have been offered cash and land compensation, and have been provided jobs. People of Kevadia, Kothi, Waghodia, Limbdi, Navagam, and Gora villages opposed the construction of the statue and demanded the restitution of the land rights over 375 hectares (927 acres) of land acquired earlier for the dam as well as the formation of new Garudeshwar subdistrict. They also opposed the formation of Kevadia Area Development Authority (KADA) and the construction of Garudeshwar weir-cum-causeway project. The government of Gujarat accepted their demands.
Construction of the monument was completed in mid-October 2018; and the inaugural ceremony was held on 31 October 2018, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The statue has been described as a tribute to Indian engineering skills.
The Statue of Unity is the world's tallest statue at 182 metres (597 ft). It rises 54 metres (177 ft) higher than the previous record holder, the Spring Temple Buddha in China's Henan province. The previous tallest statue in India was the 41 m (135 ft) statue of Hanuman at the Paritala Anjaneya Temple near Vijayawada in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The statue can be seen within a 7 km (4.3 mi) radius.
Statue of Unity sign board across the river.
The monument is constructed on a river island named Sadhu Bet, 3.2 km (2.0 mi) away from and facing the Narmada Dam downstream. The statue and its surroundings occupy more than 2 hectares (4.9 acres), and are surrounded by a 12 km (7.5 mi) long artificial lake formed by the Garudeshwar weir downstream on the Narmada river.
Approximate heights of various notable statues in which the tallest in Statue Of Unity
The statue is divided into five zones of which only three are accessible to the public. From its base to the level of Patel's shins is the first zone which has three levels and includes an exhibition area, mezzanine and roof. Zone 1 contains a memorial garden and a museum. The second zone reaches up to Patel's thighs, while the third extends up to the viewing gallery at 153 metres. Zone 4 is the maintenance area while the final zone comprises the head and shoulders of the statue.
The museum in zone 1 catalogues the life of Sardar Patel and his contributions. An adjoining audio-visual gallery provides a 15-minute presentation on Patel and also describes the tribal culture of the state. The concrete towers which form the statue's legs contain two elevators each. Each lift can carry 26 people at a time to the viewing gallery in just over 30 seconds. The gallery is located at a height of 153 metres (502 ft) and can hold up to 200 people.