Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the tallest statue in the world, of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, in a few hours from now. The 182 metre tall statue, called the 'Statue of Unity', is being unveiled on October 31 to commemorate Patel's 143rd birth anniversary. Here are 10 interesting facts about the world's statue.
1. The statue has been built at a cost of Rs 1989 crore. Around 1,40,000 cubic mts of concrete has been used up in making this statue. Supporting it are 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel rods. The statue is covered with 2,000 tonnes of bronze sheets and has been completed in record time of 33 months through the efforts of over 3,000 labourers who worked on it round the clock.
2. The statue was first announced in 2010 by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, and the present Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The first foundation stone of the statue was laid in 2013.
3. The 'Statue of Unity' has been built to withstand wind speeds of up to 180 km and an earthquake of up to 6.5 richter.
4. It has been designed by Noida-based Padma Bhushan awardee sculptor Ram V. Sutar, who has designed over 50 monuments in his 40 year old career. He is said to have taken special care to ensure that the statue’s face resembles Patel’s facial features by going through 2,000 photographs of the leader. Sutar also reportedly consulted historians and people who had seen the “Iron Man”. The statue has been designed to give an impression of Patel walking on water towards the Sardar Sarovar dam.
5. There are 139 statues of 30 meter of greater height in the world. Of these 42% have been built in either China or India. While China leads with 34 statues taller than 30 mts, India has 25 such statues.
6. The 'Statue of Unity' will be twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, which was gifted by France to the United States. Patel's statue now takes the top spot in the list of world's tallest statues, taking the top spot from the 128 meter tall Buddha statue built in Spring Temple, China. The only upcoming claimant to this title the title of being the world's tallest statue is another statue under construction near Mumbai Shiv Smarak or the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial which has been planned to be 30 meters taller than the 'Statue of Unity'.
7. Indian Railways’ ticketing arm, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) will run special trains to pay tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary. IRCTC will flag off ‘Unity Express’ on 31st October from Rajkot on the inaugural occasion of statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Statue of Unity). The special train will run for 12 days with boarding points at Rajkot, Surendra Nagar, Viramgam, Sabarmati, Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Vapi, Kalyan and Pune.
8. The statue of Unity has two high-speed passenger elevators in its core which will take tourists up to the chest of the statue to a viewing gallery, which can accommodate about 200 tourists at a time. Prime Minister Modi has said that the statue will attract “hordes” of tourists, just as the Statue of Liberty does for New York. According to the Gujarat government, it will bring 15,000 tourists a day.
9. For the inauguration of the statue the Gujarat government has invited dance troupes from across the country. Air Force planes and helicopters are expected to shower flowers on the statue during unveiling.
10. Village headmen of 22 villages located near the statue have decided to boycott the unveiling ceremony and not to welcome Prime Minister Modi alleging mass destruction of natural resources in the making of the statue, which they say has been built at an extravagant cost in a place bereft of basic amenities like safe drinking water, schools and colleges.