The world’s tallest statue- Statue of Unity- in Gujarat, has entered the highly esteemed World Architecture News (WAN) Awards for this year in the Mixed Use category.
This statue, honouring India’s freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, stands proud at 182 meters (excluding the 58-meter base). In comparison, the 2nd highest- Spring Temple Buddha in China- is 153 meters and USA’s Statue of Liberty only 93 meters.
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This marvel of engineering faces the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River. It was constructed from 2013 to 2018 by Larson & Toubro (L&T) at an estimated cost of Rs. 3,000 Cr. The statue was inaugurated on 31st October 2018, on the 143rd birth anniversary of the freedom fighter.
1-In order to reach here from Vadodara, which is the nearest big city, one needs to travel approximately 100 kilometres to Kevadiya Colony. From Kevadiya, there are hop on-hop off AC buses to the site of the statue and to other nearby attractions such as the Valley of Flowers and the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Surat, the other big city, is about 150 kilometres away.
2-Suggest a full day off your itinerary for the statue if arriving from either Vadodara or Surat. Site timings are from 9 am to 5 pm on all days except Monday, when it’s closed.
3-Tickets to the site, the memorial centre & museum, valley of flowers, dam & the hop on-hop off buses, can be purchased either online or from Kevadiya Colony visitor centre directly. Your private vehicle needs to be parked at the visitors’ centre itself from where only buses are allowed to go.
4-Note that while the entry ticket is Rs 120, there is another Rs 30 ticket for the bus (unlimited rides to all sites) and a further Rs 230 ticket for going in a lift upto chest height of the statue for views of the Narmada valley.
5-If one does not want to stand in the line for going up (which can be very long on weekends), there is an option to take an express ticket for Rs 1000. On weekends be prepared to stand for minimum 1 hour in queue, hence factor that time in.
6-There are 4 time slots for taking the lift for the valley views – 9 to 11 am, 11 am to 1 pm, 1 to 3 pm and 3 to 5 pm. The best way to avoid crowds are the 9 am or the 3 pm slots.
7-Note that Valley of Flowers, while very colourful and beautiful, is still a work in progress. The bus drop off entrance area is dusty and some parts are not open to public yet.
8-There is an option to take an expensive helicopter ride for aerial views, priced at Rs 2800 per person.
9-No food is allowed inside the statue area which includes the memorial and the museum.
There is a free locker facility available, in case you want to keep your belongings.
10-Basic snacks and water can be purchased at the site but no wholesome meals.
With this information, you are good to go and view something so grand that it can make you a bit dizzy, not to mention give you some neck pain as you gaze in amazement at this gigantic statue.
Entries to the World Architecture News Awards are open till 13th June.
All images have been provided by Nitin Gairola.