The Statue of Unity is built in dedication to Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who served as the first home minister of independent India. The name of the statue can be justified by the Sardar Patel works which are credited with uniting all 562 princely states in India to build the Republic of India.
Conceptualized as Sardar Patel walking on the Narmada river towards the Sardar Sarovar dam, at 182 meters, the statue is 23 meters taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty (93 meters tall) in the US.
PM Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the project on 31 October 2013 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Compared to this, China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue, at 153 meters, took 11 months to be built.
“The Statue of Unity is so towering that even if you are 6 feet tall, the statue will still be 100 times than you.”
What is unique about the statue?
Apart from being the world’s tallest statue, it also holds the distinction of being among the fastest to be completed -just 34 months unlike China’s Spring Temple Buddha which took 11 years.
Built at a cost of Rs. 2,989 crore, the statue depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister, wearing a traditional dhoti and shawl, towering over the Narmada River.
What are the materials used?
On the outside, the Sardar Patel statue is plated with 1,700 tonnes of bronze and 1,850 tonnes of bronze cladding made up of 565 macros and 6,000 micro panels. The core of the statue is made up of 210,000 cubic meters of cement concrete, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel and 6,500 tonnes of structural steel.
Who built it?
Padma Bhushan awardee, Ram Vanji Sutar, a 93-year-old acclaimed sculptor who graduated from the prestigious J.J School of Art in Bombay designed the statue.
It has been built by Larsen and Toubro and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. It took about 250 engineers and 3,400 laborers to construct the statue.
Malaysia-based Eversendai, which constructed Dubai’s famous Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa buildings, was handed the contract for the steel framework.
“The expression, posture and pose justify the dignity, confidence, iron will as well as kindness that his persona exudes. The head is up, a shawl flung from shoulders and hands are on the side as if he is set to walk,” Anil Sutar, who worked along with his father Ram on the design, said.
The basic structure of the statue :
The structure has an irregular curved form that is larger at the top than at the base, resulting in a structure comprising a pair of cylindrical composite concrete cores acting as a primary gravity and a lateral system with suspended space frames to support the cladding.
The statue is designed to withstand winds of almost 180km/hour and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.
Statue of unity complex includes :
From 157 meters, around the chest level, a visitor’s gallery with the capacity to accommodate a batch of 200 people offers a view of the Satpura and Vidhyanchal mountain ranges where the borders of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra converge. It also offers a bird’s-eye view of Gujarat’s lifeline — the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
The statue’s base, with an exhibit floor, will house a memorial garden and museum on a multimedia platform. From here, two elevators to carry 40 people each at a single time will take visitors to the viewing gallery.
“With a three-star hotel, museum and audiovisual gallery, the government has tried to build an entire ecosystem of tourism infrastructure centered on the statue in the remote, hilly terrain.”
The design of the statue took a lot of brainstorming among experts due to various challenges related to its location, height, and pose. The bronze statue now is nothing less than an engineering marvel..!!