Of iron and steel: what it took to create Statue of Unity, the world’s largest statue


Standing at a height of 182m, twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, the Statue of Unity was built over a period of 34 months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the towering 182-meter statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel on islet Sadhu Bet near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat's Narmada district. The imposing 'Statue of Unity' is the tallest statue in the world.

The foundation was laid five years ago, on October 31, 2013, by Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

It encloses an area of 20,000 square metres and is also surrounded by an artificial lake of an area of 12 square metres, reports NDTV.

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. Further, he also sowed the seed for the All India Service which houses the Civil Service comprising Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Forest Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS).

Statue of Unity at the banks of Narmada river, source India Today

With the inauguration of the engineering marvel that is the Statue of Unity, let’s look at some facts about the world’s tallest statue,

  • Built at an estimated cost of Rs 2,989 crore by Larsen & Toubro, it is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty (93m) in New York.
  • The man behind the iconic sculpture is a 93-year-old Padma Bhushan sculptor Ram V. Sutar, who has made around 200 monumental sculptures for India.
  • The construction began on December 19, 2015, and took 34 months to finish, reports The Hindu.
  • The statue has been built with 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforcement steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 metric tonnes of bronze, which was used for outer cladding of the structure.
  • The statue comprises five zones. As per the design, the first zone scales up to the statue’s shin, comprising an exhibit floor, mezzanine, and roof. It will also house the memorial garden. Zone 2 will extend till the thigh of the statue at 149m, while at the height of 153m will be Zone 3 for housing viewing gallery. The Zone 4 will be the maintenance area and Zone 5 will be up to the head and shoulder of the statue.
  • At a time around 200 people can be accommodated in the viewing gallery.

Adding to the pride of the nation, the construction wasn’t an easy task. Figuring out the perfect posture to honour the Iron Man of India L&T engineers scanned 2,000 photographs, and consulted with several historians to narrow down the final picture. Later, the 2D photograph was turned into a 3D model by the engineers.

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