The Statue of Unity is a monument dedicated to Indian independence movement leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, and is located on the river island called Sadhu Bet facing the Narmada Dam near Rajpipla in the Indian state of Gujarat.
Who was Sardar Patel?
The one who won over British leaders in the movement of Kheda and Bardoli, Sardar Patel was the Bismarck of modern India, who led the welfare of farmers. He is renowned as the architect of independent India, as he united all diverse 562 princely states to build the one India.
He was an Indian barrister and statesman, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress, and a founding father of the Republic of India who played a leading role in the country’s struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation. He was fondly called Sardar which means head or leader.
About the project
The monument along with its surroundings occupies over 20,000 square meters and is surrounded by a 12 square km artificial lake. It’s the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 meters.
As a memorial to Sardar, the statue won’t only remind every individual of our great nation’s freedom struggle but will also inspire the people of our country to inculcate Sardar Patel’s visionary ideologies of unity, patriotism, inclusive growth and good governance.
This monument will not just be a mute memorial like the rest, but a fully functional, purpose-serving tribute that will spur all-round socio-economic development, in the form of better connectivity, healthcare and education infrastructure, a research center for agriculture development and various tribal development initiatives.
Built with cement, steel, and an outer bronze cladding, the statue, which has cost Rs. 2,989 crore, has several attractions for tourists.
The scale in comparison
It’s not just a statute, it’s a complete tourism package. Here is a list of some features of the site:
- Shrestha Bharat Bhavan: 3-star facility on two guestroom levels above a public floor containing meal services, a ballroom, and other meeting spaces.
- A Laser, Light, and Sound Show: Multimedia show on the efforts of unification of India.
- Museum and Audio Visual Gallery: Unique museum and audio-visual department depicting the life and times of Sardar Patel.
- Valley of Flowers: Tourist attraction.
- Adventure Park: Tourist attraction.
- Research Centre: Research center dedicated to the research and development of subjects close to Sardar Patel’s heart like good governance and agriculture development.
The strategic location
There couldn’t have been a more grand or apt location for the statue than the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River. Rising from amid one of the most revered rivers of India, nestled in the foothills of mountainous terrain and surrounded by bountiful natural beauty, Sadhu Bet is an idyllic location for the statue.
The controversy around the statue
A lot of controversies and comments have surfaced after the statue was inaugurated. A lot of citizens feel that instead of building a statue, the money should have been used for other social causes like sanitation, health, education, etc.
Gujarat has seen dire situations in the past and it needs financial help. The statue has ignited a lot of debate in the intellectual and political circles. The statue has also been heavily criticized by tribal communities living in the vicinity, who were displaced for the project.
Another group of intellectual and political people feels that the project is important from the point of the historical contribution of a man much revered in India. They believe that the project will bring in a lot of revenue through tourism initiatives that’ll lead to local development. The project is expected to attract around 10,000 tourists daily.
The project has given a lot of employment opportunities already and has been instrumental in the distribution of money across labor communities. They believe that the statue has given India another opportunity to be proud of.
Located in what is already a favored tourist spot, especially in the monsoons when the Sardar Sarovar Dam overflows in all its magnanimity, the Statue of Unity promises to be one of the most visited tourist spots not only of the nation but also the world.