Visit the Statue of Unity in India, the largest statue in the world

India is about to inaugurate the Statue of Unity, the largest statue in the world. What do we know about its effigy, Sadar Vallabhbhai Patel? How can we visit it?

The Statue of Unity, inaugurated on October 31, 2018, in the Gujarat region of India, is the world’s largest statue at 182 meters high. It took 4 years to build, using more than 22,500 tonnes of cement at a total cost of 25 million euros (for a total project cost of 272 million euros). Spread over 19,700 square metres, it is surrounded by an artificial lake 12 km in diameter.

Where is it located? What does it represent? And what can you do on site? Here’s some information on how to visit the Statue of Unity, which promises to be a major tourist attraction in the coming years, with 15,000 visitors expected every year.

Who is the man on the Statue of Unity?

Vallabhbhai-Patel-statue-unité-inde

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Margaret Bourke-White

The world’s largest statue represents Vallabhbhai Patel, a nationalist leader who, among other things, brought about India’s independence. If the man was known for being rather discreet, the statue in his image will not match this character trait. Born in 1875 and died in 1950, Vallabhbai Patel led numerous actions for independence alongside Mahatma Gandhi, joining the civil disobedience movement. In particular, he regularly and peacefully asserted himself against the oppressive police forces of the British regime in several Gujarat towns. Considered a social leader, his actions earned him the name « Sardar », meaning « chief », as a mark of respect.

This lawman went on to become Home Minister in the first government of independent India. He played a major role in establishing peace in the country. His leadership and diplomacy led to the complete independence of almost all the semi-autonomous states. Often referred to as India’s « Iron Man », he was also instrumental in improving certain social rights for the country’s inhabitants.

And so, a few decades after his death, on his birthday, a statue in the image of Vallabhbai Patel, symbol of the country’s unity and harmony, was erected in the region of his birth.

Statue de l'Unité, Inde

Photo credit: Statue of Unity

Where is the Statue of Unity in India?

carte-statue-unite-inde

The Unity statue has taken up residence in Gujarat Province, northwest India. Dominating the Sadhu Bet hill near the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river, the Hindu statue did not arrive quietly. And with good reason: in order to lay the foundations for the monument, Sadhu Bet had to be razed to the ground, reducing its height from 70 to 55 metres! Up until now, the surrounding area has been little visited by tourists, but it’s likely that the area will be revitalized over time.

What can you see at the Statue of Unity?

The Indian government wanted to pay tribute to its great men, but above all to their values. That’s why the Statue of Unity site is made up of numerous structures for commemorations and a look back at history. The intention is also to continue the country’s progress. The site also features a research center dedicated to environmental protection.

As soon as the site opens, your visit can be organized in three ways: inside the statue, nearby and in the surrounding area.

The interior of the statue is divided into three levels, accessible by elevator. A museum dedicated to the effigy of Vallabhbai Patel, sound and light shows, a garden… A host of surprises await you during your visit. Good to know, however: for safety reasons and due to strong gusts of wind, the tour stops at the statue’s chest. A final high point overlooking a flower garden created especially for the occasion.

Intérieur de la Statue de l'Unité, Inde

Photo credit: Turnerconstruction

Close to the Statue of Unity, a 120-metre-high observation point offers a panoramic experience. With views of the statue, the Sardar Sarovar dam and the surrounding mountains, the platform promises to take your breath away! Logistically, access is limited to 200 visitors.

Point de vue Statue de l'Unité, Inde

Photo credit: Turnerconstruction

Around the monument, on a large square overlooking the river, stores and restaurants energize a large tourist zone: an ambition that is specific to the Statue of Unity project. As for accommodation, a 3-star hotel, the Shrestha Bharat Bhavan, welcomes you with its 52 rooms for a complete stay around the imposing monument. And there’s more to come: an airstrip to access the site is currently under discussion!

Zone touristique Statue de l'Unité, Inde

Photo credit: Turnerconstruction

How do you visit the world’s largest statue?

If you decide to visit the Statue of Unity during your stay in India, you have several options: go directly to the site or include the visit in one of your sightseeing tours. Rajhastan, the country’s most visited region and bordering Gujarat, offers tours from one region to the other to discover north-western India: the white city of Udaipur is almost 400 kilometers from the Statue of Unity, so don’t hesitate to kill two birds with one stone!

As this is a very recent project, and with only a few days to go before its inauguration, little official information has been released on how to get there, opening times or the various prices on offer for the visit. Don’t panic though: the Generation Voyage team will be on hand to tell you all about it in due course!