World's tallest statue in tribute to Sardar Vallabbhai Patel unveiled in India

Geraldine Edwards
November 1, 2018

A barrister and statesman by profession, Sardar Vallabhai Patel was noted as the "Iron Man of India", as he had unified 562 princely states post India's independence.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor Wednesday wanted to know why BJP had not built a bigger statue for Mahatma Gandhi while they erected a 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, his disciple.

India has just unveiled the world's tallest statue, the Statue of Unity, standing 597 feet, which makes it nearly twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

Patel, who hailed from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's native Gujarat state, was also India's first home minister after the 1947 independence from Britain. The Sardar Vallabhbhai statue has been built at a cost of Rs 2,389 crore and it is located 3.2 km downstream of the Narmada dam in Gujarat, PM Modi hometown.

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Along with a visitor's centre, the Statue of Unity will have a viewing gallery at more than 152 metres, which can accommodate up to 200 visitors at a time, offering expansive views of the surrounding area.

The statue, which will be dedicated to the nation, has received opposition from some tribal groups in Narmada district.

"In the process, not only will the Statue of Unity literally dwarf statues of all other Indians leaders, but the event will also enable the memory of Sardar to rise imposingly over Congress Party leaders", Mukhopadhyay said.

Modi, whose nationalist government has made the statue one of its flagship projects, paid tribute while the air force jets roared overhead and dance troupes performed.

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Local villagers have written to the PM saying the inauguration is "akin to celebrating someone's death" as the statue's construction entailed the wiping out of natural resources which had for years given farmers a living.

Including the pedestal, the Statue of Liberty stands about half as tall at 305 feet.

The exterior of statue is coated with 1,850 tonne of bronze.

India is also working on a giant statue of 17th-century warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, riding a horse and brandishing a sword, which should dominate the Mumbai shoreline from 2021.

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