India’s Taj Mahal has long back made a name for itself being one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Amongst many other great sculptures, Statue of Unity has now become a known world wide statue for being the tallest statues in the world. It is said that the Statue of Unity is approximately 2 times taller than New York’s famous Statue of Liberty when plinths are discounted.
This statue was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 7 October 2013 and soon the project was dubbed as “Gujarat’s tribute to the nation“. The Statue of Unity is the enormous statue of the Indian politician, independence activist and a great leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was Independent India’s first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and a part of the non-violent Indian Independence movement. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is known as “Ironman” of India, who with his iron will united 562 princely states of India and contributed greatly to form the single Union of India away from the clutches of British Raj.
The statue is located in the Kevadiya colony on the banks of river Narmada in the state of Gujrat. The statue has an approximate height of 182 metres (597 feet) which is 40% taller than Spring Temple Buddha. The base of this statue is made of over 129 tonnes of used iron collected from nearly 100 million farmers throughout India. The construction of the statue took about 5 years from 2013 to 2018 with the help of 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers. The statue is made of 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of steel bars, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 tonnes of bronze.
The design of this statue is done by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar who has the experience of designing over 50 monuments under his belt. India’s leading Infrastructure Company Larsen & Toubro was given the contract of the construction at the lowest bid of Rs. 2,989 crore which is equivalent to Rs. 36 billion. The funding for this construction was by a ‘Public-Private Partnership model’, with most of the money raised by the Government of Gujarat. The Gujarat state government had allotted ₹500 crores (equivalent to ₹607 crores or US$85 million in 2019) for the project in its budget from 2012 to 2015. Funds were also contributed by Public Sector Undertakings under the Corporate Social Responsibility scheme. In December 2013, a marathon named “Run For Unity” was held in Surat and in Vadodara to support the project.
Apart from being the tallest statue, it is constructed in the way that can also withstand wind of up to 180 km/hour and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale which is at a depth of 10 km and within a radius of 12 km of the statue.