The Statue of Unity at a height of 182 meters (597 ft.) is the World’s Tallest Monument, dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – the visionary Indian statesman — an iconic symbol of the ‘Iron Man’. This bronze-clad statue is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty and 29 meters taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha, previously the worlds tallest.
The Statue of Unity was officially unveiled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018, amid much fanfare in the state of Gujarat near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River. Renowned Indian sculptor Ram V. Sutar designed the Statue of Unity as an ode the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of independent India, donning characteristic garments and in a walking stance. He was responsible for uniting all 562 princely states of the country to build the Republic of India therefore this “architectural and engineering masterpiece” directly correlates with the meaning and value of unity.
About Place: The world’s tallest statue – the Statue of Unity stands against the backdrop of the dramatic Satpura and Vindhyachal hills in Kevadia, Gujarat. The colossal monument towers over River Narmada, a tribute to India ‘from the people of Gujarat’ to overlook the river basin of the Narmada River and the sprawling Sardar Sarovar dam. It stands on the Sadhu Bet hillock, connected by a 300-metre bridge, which offers access from the mainland to the statue.
Details of the construction and history of the leader can be seen in an in-house museum, inside the statue. Among the key attractions are a viewing gallery at the height of 153 meters that offers breathtaking views of the Narmada dam and a museum focusing on the life of Sardar Patel.
Laser Light and Sound Show using laser technology is projected on the Statue of Unity every evening except Monday. An excellent narration of the history and life of Sardar Patel and his contribution to the Independence Movement and the unification of India as one nation is accompanied by colorful laser lighting show.
The Valley of Flowers (also known as Bharat Van), began with 48,000 plants in 2016 and has now reached up to 22,00,000 plants is spread across 24 acres of land. This is a haven for colorful flowering plants along the bank of river Narmada having more than 300 types of flowers. The Valley of Flowers blends ornamental flowers, trees, shrubs, herbs, climbers and creepers along with various shades of foliage, which forms a rainbow of flowers on earth.
Tour Sardar Sarovar Dam which is India’s third highest concrete dam (163 metres), ranked as the second largest in the world having an aggregate volume of 6.82 million cubic metre; standing next to American Grand Coulee Dam which is the largest — with a total volume of 8.0 million cubic metre.
Nauka Vihar or boat ride has been initiated by Gujarat State Forest Development Corporation Ltd. (GSFDC) in the Panchmuli Lake in Kevadia as a part of eco-tourism activity. Tourists experience the rich flora and fauna around the lake as external professionals offer a boating ride for 45 minutes. In a day eight rides are operationalized by the operator. This boat ride will take one to the waters of dyke-4 as well as the entire water body which is surrounded by lush green forests.
A unique Cactus Garden at the Statue of Unity exhibits 6 lakh plants of 450 species of Cacti and succulents spread across 25 acres of open land and inside the dome with an area of 836 square metres. The cactus garden provides an experience of the desert ecosystem in the midst of a landmass well entrenched in an aquatic surrounding.
Ekta Nursery has been developed in the vicinity of the Statue of Unity, as the vision of the Prime Minister is that visitors on return, should take back with them seedlings as a plant of unity. Out of the one million plants targeted, 0.3 million plants are in ‘ready to sell’ stage and the other 0.7 million are likely to be ready soon.
Children Nutrition Park is a Unique Theme Park developed, as a part of Kevadia Integrated Development to provide entertainment and vital knowledge on healthy eating habits and nutritional values based on the theme of “SAHI POSHAN DESH ROSHAN”, envisioned and inspired by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi,.
Dino Trail has been developed as recent excavations in the Narmada valley, has revealed the presence of Rajasaurus Narmadensis, an endemic species of dinosaur, in the Narmada valley during Cretaceous period [also known as the ‘K-period’]. A replica of the endemic dinosaur with the distinctive horn has been created as an exhibit.
Jungle Safari in the state-of-art zoological park with unique collection of indigenous and exotic animals and birds from the various bio-geographic regions of the world, is located at the picturesque hills near The Statue of Unity and The Sardar Sarovar Dam. This zoo merges an adventurous wildlife with scenic beauty of the hills.
Viswa Van a Global Forest signifies the underlying theme of ‘Unity in Bio-diversity’ in global context as it it is home to herbs, shrubs and trees native to all 7 continents.
The best time to visit is during October to February, even though Statue of Unity is open throughout the year. It opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 6:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday. You can see the Laser Light and Sound Show from 7:30 PM onwards everyday, except Mondays as the Statue of Unity is closed on Mondays for maintenance work.
Tourists can book tickets to Statue of Unity on its official website “https://statueofunity.in/” by selecting preferred time and day, or buy it directly at the site.
Image Credit: Michael Graves Architecture & Design