The Statue of Unity, built as a tribute to the ‘Iron Man of India’ on the occasion of his 143rd birth anniversary, was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in Gujarat. An engineering marvel, built in 2 years 9 months by about 250 engineers and 3400 labourers, is erected at the picturesque backdrop of Vindhya-Satpura mountain ranges. The giant memorial is the world’s tallest statue at 597 feet and is almost 100 feet taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha, the world’s current tallest statue at 502 feet.
The statue has been built at a cost of Rs. 2,989 crore and depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Home Minister, wearing a traditional dhoti and shawl, standing high on the banks of Narmada river. The core of the statue is made of reinforced concrete and its surface has been created using 553 bronze panels. The statue has been designed by Ram V Sutar, a Padmabhushan-award winning sculptor, and has been built by Larsen and Toubro and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.
PM Modi on the occasion said that the statue would remind those who question India’s existence, that this nation was, is and will remain eternal. He also appealed that with this sentiment of unity, Indians should march with a dream to make the country ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat‘ (One India, Superior India).
From 2014, October 31st, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, is observed as National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. The official statement for National Unity Day issued by the Home Ministry of India stated that the day will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity, and security of our country.
The structure will have a museum dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the base, and two high speed lifts will take people to the viewers’ gallery, from where they can see beyond the Narmada Dam. The museum will have 40,000 documents, 2,000 photographs and a research centre dedicated to Sardar Patel’s life. Once the statue is open to the public, officials expect around 15,000 visitors each day.
We hope the Statue of Unity inspires us all to believe and propagate in the Idea of India.