Statue of Unity – giant monument to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in India
Statue of Unity in India – the tallest monument on the planet with a height of 240 meters. The statue depicts Vallabhbhai Patel, the Indian statesman who fought for the country’s independence.
Statue of Unity – a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
In a remote corner of India’s western state of Gujarat, in the Shulpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, on the banks of the Narmada River, rises a grand monument. The statue, dedicated to the unity of the country, is a tribute to the man who united India and answered all those who doubted the existence of the Indian state.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950)
In 1947 India became an independent state, free from British dependence. A difficult stage in the life of the country, consisting of 600 principalities and provinces, began. The appanage princes, who often owned territory the size of three soccer fields, demanded privileges and the satisfaction of their ambitions.
The interior minister of independent India, Vallabhbhai Patel, undertook the arduous task of constructing a policy of unifying the intractable and capricious rulers into a single state.
The purposeful, sometimes tough but always diplomatic minister negotiated hard, listening to the grievances and demands, claims and desires of the independent rulers.
After two years of relentless negotiations, 562 principalities joined independent India and the rest became part of Pakistan. Soon Patel became prime minister of India. The prime minister’s loyalty to the national idea was so strong and uncompromising that he was called the “iron man of India” and given the honorary title “Sardar” – “leader, leader.
During the breakup of India into two states, a monstrous massacre erupted in which 2 million people died. Sardar’s office distributed refugees throughout the country, arrested rioters and provided medical care to the victims.
The independence of India from Great Britain is credited to Sardar Patel. The Prime Minister’s birthday, October 31, is a day of national unity in the country and a great holiday for Indians.
The conception of the sculpture
Indian Prime Minister Nandera Modi proposed to immortalize Vallabhai Patel’s image in concrete and metal and he allocated 41 million dollars from his personal funds for the construction of the monument.
Indian sculptor-monumentalist Rama Shutar was entrusted with the design of the monument. The architect’s idea was for the statue to give the impression that Patel was walking on water towards the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Therefore, the monument, surrounded by artificial lakes, faces this dam.
What the Unity Monument looks like
On a stone pedestal 58 meters high is a sculpture of Vallabhbhai Patel, leader of the Indian independence movement. The height of the sculpture of the leader is 182 meters, so the height of the Unity statue is 240 meters .
Sardar’s facial expression and posture assert the dignity and confidence, the iron will and kindness that exudes from the personality of the leader. His head is raised, the shawl is dropped from his shoulders, his arms are sideways, as if he is about to walk
The monument and its surroundings occupy 20,000 square meters. There is a bridge from the statue to the nearby road.
Construction of the statue
On October 7, 2010, the Gujarat state government was presented with a $430 million large-scale construction project . In 2013, a stone pedestal was built.
Movement in support of the project
On December 15, 2013, a “Unity Movement” was launched in support of the construction of the monument, which was supported by residents. Indian farmers responded to the call and collected 5,000 tons of iron, giving away used farm machinery for the construction.
The Unity Movement petition with donations was signed by 20 million people. Eighty-five million dollars was donated by the state government.
Construction began Oct. 31, 2014, Sardar Patel’s birthday, and was completed in mid-October 2018. Gujarat state minister Nandera Modi laid the foundation stone.
The tallest statue in the world was unveiled on October 31, 2018, coinciding with Patel’s 143rd birthday. The monument was five years in the making, made of reinforced concrete, steel and copper.
Construction in numbers
For the construction of the statue spent :
- 75,000 cubic meters of concrete;
- 5,700 tons of steel structures;
- 18500 tons of bronze sheets;
- 430 million dollars;
- 3400 workers worked on the construction for 33 months.
Features of the construction of the monument
The construction of the grandiose statue – two reinforced concrete cylinders, surrounded by a steel frame. The structure consists of five “floors”:
- The first – from the bottom to the shins.
- The second – at the level of the hips at a height of 149 meters.
- The third – the observation deck at a height of 153 meters.
- The fourth is the technical rooms.
- The fifth is the shoulders and head.
Inside the statue is a reinforced concrete base on which the cladding is attached: two concrete columns that hold the structure together. The statue of Unity withstands hurricane winds up to 200 km/h and earthquakes of 6.5 points.
Statue of Unity and tourism
The Statue of Unity is an important tourist site in the region.The necessary infrastructure is provided for visitors:
- A bridge has been built;
- buildings for visitors;
- a memorial garden;
- conference center;
- museum dedicated to Vallabhai Patel.
Two elevators with a capacity of 26 people each take tourists to the observation deck, which has a capacity of 200 people at a time and a delivery time of 3 seconds. The observation deck offers impressive views of the area.
Every day the memorial receives 15,000 people and the entrance fee in rubles is a little over 300 rubles.
Criticism of the project
The reaction of the residents of India to the creation of the monument is mixed. People believe that the country has more pressing needs and criticize the cost of the statue. Of India’s 1.3 billion people, one in four is constantly starving and living in unsanitary conditions. Millions of people earn only food.
India has polluted air and a high infant mortality rate. Tons of sewage worsens life because half the population has no access to toilets. Environmental activists are demanding that the monument be investigated for environmental safety.
Residents of the surrounding villages are outraged that 185 families evicted from the monument received understated compensation for forced relocation. Religious figures argue that the land around the monument is a sacred place where tourists should not be.
The country constantly receives financial and humanitarian aid from Britain to solve social problems, but spends a huge amount of money on the creation of a statue of record. (The American Statue of Liberty is knee-deep in India’s Statue of Unity).
Despite this, the Indian government believes that Patel’s statue will inspire the people and remind them of the country’s patriotism and unity. Coincidentally, Vallabhbhai Patel himself spoke of his opposition to the creation of buildings and statues to glorify the people.
The Statue of Unity in India is the tallest monument in the world
The Statue of Unity is currently the tallest monument on the planet.
In India, people who have given themselves completely to the country are respected. That is why the monument depicts the famous Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He actually created an independent India.
The statue embodies not only the idea of unity of the country. It is also a kind of tribute to the Indian engineers who implemented such a large-scale project.
Statue of Unity in India
Where is the Statue of Unity
The monument is located in a remote corner of India’s westernmost state of Gujarat in the Shulpaneshwar Wildlife Reserve. The statue is built on the banks of the Narmada River, 30 kilometers east of the town of Rajpipla.
What the Unity Monument looks like
It is a unique monument that is 182 meters tall. Its pedestal rises another 58 meters. The total height of the statue of Unity is as much as 240 meters.
The monument and its surroundings cover an area of 20,000 m 2 . A bridge runs from the base of the statue to the nearby road.
The monument faces the Sardar Sarovar Dam. It lies 3 kilometers to the east.
The statue is so large that the toe nail is at the height of a basketball hoop.
There are people somewhere in the picture.
Recall, the monument is dedicated to the unity of the country and depicts Sardar Patel.
Who is Sardar Vallabhai Patel?
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (born October 31, 1875 – died December 15, 1950) was a minister and deputy prime minister of India in the first half of the 20th century.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
It was he who successfully unified the 562 independent principalities into one large and strong state of India. It took him two years to convince the rulers of the smaller territories to join the single state and fight back against external enemies.
His loyalty to the national idea was incredibly strong and uncompromising. Sardar was often called the “Iron Man of India” and compared to Bismarck.
Sardar Patel made a significant impact in the struggle for Indian independence from Great Britain. Patel aspired to the post of Prime Minister of India, but eventually lost to Jawaharlal Nehru.
An interesting fact is that Sardar Patel’s birthday is the Day of National Unity and a big holiday for Indians.
I must say, it is not only in India that the Founding Fathers are respected. Pay attention to Mount Rushmore in the United States. There as many as four presidents are depicted on the side of the cliff.
How the Statue of Unity was built
The project of the monument was first presented on October 7, 2010.
A “Unity Movement” was created to support the construction. It started on December 15, 2013. Anyone could donate something to the project. For example, Indian farmers gave away their used farm tools. They ended up collecting 5,000 tons of iron.
Interesting fact – A petition was created to organize the Unity Movement. Over 20 million people signed it. Thus, this petition became the largest in the world.
The building process
The project officially began on October 31, 2013 – exactly on Sardar Patel’s birthday. In fact, construction began on October 31, 2014 (again, the birthday of the famous politician) By mid-October 2018, construction was completed.
The Statue of Unity – the tallest in the world
The grand opening took place on October 31, 2018. It coincided with the 143rd anniversary of Patel’s birth.
Interesting fact – Gujarat Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of the statue in 2013. Exactly 5 years later, he also unveiled this grand monument, but already in the status of Prime Minister of India.
According to Modi, the monument is a tribute to the man who united India and “an answer to all who question the very existence of India.” “The height of the statue is a reminder to young people that the future of the country is as vast as the statue itself,” the prime minister added in his speech.
An interesting fact – during the opening, the statue was showered with rose petals from helicopters.
The 93-year-old Indian muralist sculptor Rama V. Sutar was the chief architect.
The Indian infrastructure company Larsen & Toubro won the contract to build the statue on October 27, 2014. The contract amount was 2,989 million rupees (that’s about $420 million).
The monument is made of a steel frame and bronze cladding. The statue took 75,000 cubic meters of concrete, 5,700 tons of steel structures, 18,500 tons of reinforced concrete piles and 22,500 tons of bronze sheets.
Statue of Unity during construction
The bridge, visitor buildings, memorial garden, hotel and conference center were all constructed first.
Problems during construction
Local residents were against using the land for tourism infrastructure at the statue. They also argued that the sacred site was originally called Varata Bawa Tekri, after a local deity. Therefore, it has important religious significance.
Environmental activists have been making claims to the government that the project has not been investigated for environmental safety.
The population of several villages in the vicinity opposed the construction of the statue, and demanded the return of the rights to the land.
An interesting fact – In order to clear the area for construction, about 185 families were evicted from the area. And many of them complained about the undervalued compensation for forced relocation.
There were people, and even political parties, who criticized the too high cost of the statue.
Statue of Unity in tourism
This unique monument is not only a symbol of unity, but also an important tourist attraction in the region. All the necessary infrastructure is provided for visitors. In the statue itself in the area of the chest, at a height of 153 meters, there is an observation deck. Elevators are installed in the statue. The memorial is capable of receiving up to 15,000 people daily. The entrance fee is 350 rupees (just over 300 rubles).
How long will the Statue of Unity be the largest in the world?
Right now it’s the largest statue in the world. But in 2021, and again in India, a monument depicting 17th century ruler Chatrapati Shivaji is scheduled to open. He founded the Maratha kingdom.
The statue will be located near the city of Mumbai. Its height will be 212 meters without a pedestal.
Interesting fact – The design of the future statue was revised and increased by 4 meters after it turned out that China raised the height of the Spring Temple Buddha. The Chinese transformed the hill on which the Buddha stands. As a result, the total height of the monument became 208 meters. The Indians amended their design. Thus, the full height of the future monument will be 212 meters.
By the way, until recently the Buddha of the Spring Temple was considered the largest statue in the world.
The highest statues in the world