Who doesn’t know the Iron Man of India, who, among others, was instrumental in getting the British Raj to its knees during the Indian struggle for independence? He also won the sobriquet of the architect of independent India, when he integrated more than 550 princely states to build a united India.
However, a befitting tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was long overdue. This has now been fulfilled and how! To honour this great soul, who’s a colossus in every respect, a statue aptly named the ‘Statue of Unity’ has been erected on Sadhu Bet Island in the Indian state of Gujarat.
This 182-meter tall statue, towering over the shimmering waters of River Narmada, has been designed by the 93-year-old veteran Noida-based sculptor Ram Sutar. He, along with his son, presented three miniature clay models of Sardar Patel. The one chosen was then enlarged with 3D imaging and then cast in bronze.
The statue, located 3.5 kilometres downstream from Sardar Sarovar Dam on the bed of the river, distinguishes itself by being the tallest in the world, way taller than the Spring Temple Buddha in China that stands only 153 meters tall, leaving it at the second spot.
This colossal statue rises out of a star-shaped geometric base that covers the entire Sadhu hill. The statue itself is 157 meters tall but reaches to 182 meters when measured along with the pedestal it stands on. The statue is accessible to the public and has a viewing gallery with a capacity to hold 200 visitors at a time.
The statue required humungous amounts of resources to build: 2,12,000 cubic meters of concrete, 18,000 metric ton of reinforced steel, 6,000 metric ton of structured steel and 3,550 metric ton of bronze. A total of 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers worked on it to complete it in a record time of 33 months. And it cost a whopping Rs.2,979 crore.
‘The Statue of Unity’ was dedicated to the nation by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, on October 31, 2018, to commemorate the 143rd birth anniversary of India’s first Home Minister. Incidentally, it was Modi who had conceptualized this statue when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, way back in 2010.
While unveiling the ‘Statue of Unity’, Modi said, “The world’s tallest statue will remind the entire world, the future generations about the courage, capabilities and determination of the person who did this holy work of vanquishing the conspiracy to disintegrate India into pieces.” The statue will certainly do much to realize the dream of unified India.