Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the world’s tallest statue after nearly five years of construction. The 597ft tall statue of late Indian leader Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, named ‘Statue of Unity’, has been constructed on the bank of the Narmada river in Kevadia, Gujarat.
Patel was also referred to as the “Iron Man of India” for integrating various states in the post-independence era. He was India’s first home minister after the country got independence from Britain back in 1947.
The $400 million statue is nearly 100 feet higher than the current record holder, China’s 153-meter (501-foot) Spring Temple Buddha, almost twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, which stands at 93 meters (305 feet) and five times the height of Rio De Janeiro’s famous statue of Christ The Redeemer. It weighs about 67,000 tonnes and has been built to withstand major earthquakes as well as heavy winds.
The construction work on the statue began in 2013 with 250 engineers and 3,000 workers. It took 42 long months to complete the statue. The monument will have a research center dedicated to Patel’s life and work and a museum with 40,000 documents and 2,000 photographs. There is a three-star 128-room hotel being built adjacent to the attraction.
The statue was designed by decorated Indian sculptor Ram V Sutar, 93, who is among history’s most prolific monumental sculptors.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, promised the statue “is going to become a worldwide tourist attraction.” He said it is a symbol of India’s integrity and resolve.
“See our height, measure this nation’s height. This is what we want,” he added.
But the Statue of Unity won’t remain the world’s tallest statue for long. It will be topped by the 212-meter (696-foot) Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial which is set to open in Mumbai in 2021. The statue will commemorate a 17th-century Indian warrior king.