The ‘Statue of Unity’, the world’s largest statue dedicated to the Iron Man of India, SardarVallabhbhai Patel, was inaugurated on October 31 this year to commemorate the 143rd birth anniversary of India’s first Home minister. The statue located near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in the Narmada river, is the tallest statue in the world. Modi had on October 31, 2015, laid the foundation stone of the statue as the CM of Gujarat. However, the work on the project started in December 2015.The Sardar Patel’s statue is completed in a record time of 33 months.
Points to be noted in regard to the design alignment and accessibility
A separate memorial is also being set up near the structure where one can get glimpses Patel’s works. The bridge which connects the monument, located on Sadhu Bet island, to the river bed, enabling visitors reach the statue is also near its completion. The core wall will have facilities like lifts and stairs which will take visitors to the upper portion to the statue.
The Statue of Unity was built by Larsen & Toubro Ltd at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore. It is is made up of 1,700 tonnes of bronze and 1,850 tonnes of bronze on the exterior and is filled with concrete cement (180,000 cubic metres), reinforced steel (18,500 tonnes) and structured steel (6,500 tonnes) in the interior. If a person is 5.6 feet tall, the giant State of Unity is 100 times larger than them.
To take you up to the chest of the statue to a viewing gallery, two high-speed passenger elevators are installed in the statue’s core which which can accommodate 200 tourists at a time. The government has tried to build an entire ecosystem of tourism infrastructure centered on the statue, with a three-star hotel, museum and audio visual gallery in the vicinity.
The statue of Unity construction of the Sardar Patel statue has had its own engineering challenges, not just due to its height but also because of its location in the middle of the Narmada river and the walking pose of SardarVallabhai Patel. The statue is designed to withstand winds of almost 180km/hour and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.
The statue will be able to withstand wind velocity up to 60 m/s, vibration and earthquakes.
Noida-based sculptor Ram V. Sutar, who designed the statue, took special care to ensure that the statue’s face resembles Patel’s facial features. For the process, around 2,000 photographs from archives were studied. Historians and people who had seen the “Iron Man” were also consulted. From a distance, it appears as if Sardar Patel is walking on water towards the SardarSarovar dam.
The Gujarat government is also building a 3.5km long highway for tourists to reach the statue from Kevadia town.
A 320-metre-long designer bridge connects Sadhu island to the mainland. You can also take a boat ride.
Around 135 metric tonnes of iron were crowdsourced from lakhs of villages all over India for use in the project.
The Statue of Unity comprises of two semi-joined, composite concrete cylindrical cores, surrounded by a structural steel space frame to support the exterior cladding. 5700 Mton of structural steel and reinforcement bars of 18500Mton were used to build the statue.
The core of the statue is made up of reinforced concrete, but its surface that gives it a distinct design, has been created using 553 bronze panels – each panel has 10 to 15 micro panels.
The statue has a viewing gallery which can accommodate 200 visitors at a time. This gallery offers a view of the SardarSarovar Dam, its reservoir, and the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges.
Prime Minister NarendraModi unveiled the Statue of Unity, which at 182 metres is the tallest in the world, as a tribute to freedom icon SardarVallabhbhai Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary. Air jets flow over the statue, helicopters showered flowers on it with fireworks in the green, orange and white colours as PM Modi dedicated it to the nation. The Sardar Patel statue, twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, has been built at a cost of Rs. 2,989 crore and is located in Gujarat, 3.2 km downstream of the Narmada dam. “Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India,” said PM Modi, paying glowing tribute to Sardar Patel. He said the Statue of Unity is “a symbol of our engineering and technical prowess.” Anticipating protests by locals who demand compensation for the land used for the enormous figure, thousands of police personnel were deployed ahead of the inauguration.
Not void of Challenges
As the BJP governments, both at the Centre and the state, were geared up for the unveiling of the Statue of Unity – dedicated to independence movement leader SardarVallabbhai Patel — by Prime Minister NarendraModi on October 31, thousands of tribals in villages near the site are bracing for a major showdown against the project. Their biggest grudge is the government’s approach to taking away the lands that belonged to them.
Local tribal organisations said as many as 75,000 tribals adversely affected by the Statue of Unity project would oppose the Prime Minister and the unveiling of the statue at Kevadia in Narmada district. “No food will be cooked in 72 villages affected by the entire project, as we will be mourning on that day, for the project is being carried out for our destruction,” DrPrafulVasava, a tribal leader was quoted by IANS. The tribals are complaining that their lands were taken away for the SardarSarovar Narmada Project, near which is the statue site, as well as for the statue and all other tourism activities which have been planned in the area.
Conceptualised as Sardar Patel walking on the Narmada river towards the SardarSarovar dam, the design of the statue took a lot of brainstorming among experts due to various challenges related to its location, height and pose. The bronze statue now is nothing less than an engineering marvel. The Statue of Unity is so towering that even if you are 6 feet tall, the statue will still be 100 times than you. On the outside, the Sardar Patel statue is plated with 1,700 tonnes of bronze and 1,850 tonnes of bronze cladding made up of 565 macro and 6,000 micro panels. The core of the statue is made up of 210,000 cubic metres of cement concrete, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel and 6,500 tonnes of structural steel.
Larsen & Toubro Ltd, which designed and executed the project after winning a tender, deployed a team of over 3,000 workers and 250 engineers. Although the statue was designed and made in India, the bronze panels had to be cast in a foundry in China, since no such facility to handle such a huge project is available in India.
One of the biggest challenges for L&T was to ensure that the statue looks as similar as possible to Sardar Patel. For this purpose, they hired well-known sculptor Ram V. Sutar from Noida, who went through over 2,000 archival photographs of the “Iron Man” and spoke to several historians and those had seen him to come up with the design matching Patel’s bodily and facial features.
For the construction of the statue, the engineers had to be extra cautious in ensuring that the monument had the capability to withstand heavy winds of up to 130km/hour and earthquakes measuring up to 6.5 on Richter scale. They also used two tuned mass dampers of 250 tonnes each to ensure that in any given situation the base of the structure always remains rooted.
The statue is a three-layered structure. The innermost layer is made of reinforced cement concrete (RCC), comprising two towers 127 metres high that rise till the statue’s chest. The second layer is a steel structure and the third an 8 mm bronze cladding on the surface. The RCC towers, which at the bottom form Patel’s dhoti-clad legs, have two lifts each. Each lift can carry 26 people to the top in just above half a minute.
The engineers adopted sophisticated state of the art technologies like light detection and ranging technology and telescopic logging to assess rock joints. The development of the Statue of Unity went through several stages of mock-up, 3D scanning and computer numerical control production to ensure accurate reproduction of minute details.
Natural factors like wind and earthquakes posed stiff challenges. Situated right in the middle of the river Narmada, the statue is exposed to the tunnel effect of winds blowing down the river. Studies of wind patterns over the years revealed wind speeds of 39 m per second (roughly translated into 130 km/hr.) could buffet the statue in a worst-case scenario. The statue has been engineered to withstand wind speeds of up to 50 m per second (almost 180 km/hr.). The challenge is not only of the wind blowing against the statue but the succession effect it creates at the back of the statue that had to considered in the structural design.
To arrest any sway of such a tall structure, two Tuned Mass Dampers of 250 tonnes each have been used. In any given situation, all the four corners of the base raft remain rooted to the ground.
The SoU can also survive earthquakes measuring up to 6.5 on the Richter Scale, at a depth of 10 km and within a radius of 12 km of the statue.
Walking pose of the Sardar
The Sardar’s legs are clad in a dhoti, his feet in chappals and in a walking pose that means that the statue is most slender at the base. This goes against the norms of what other tall statues have followed. The walking pose also opened up a gap of 6.4 meters between the two feet which then had to be tested to withstand wind velocity.
Another challenge came in the form of the look of the statue. Since Patel’s face was an important aspect, special care was taken in casting the facial features that had to be as close as possible to the Sardar’s face. As per the sculptor Ram Sutar’s original design, the statue was to have a poised countenance, with Patel’s head held high and arms by his sides emitting a feeling of power as well as warmth. The statue is also supposed to appear as if it is walking on water, towards the SardarSarovar dam, with its left leg slightly forward.
The actual features of the Sardar were decided through a participative exercise involving thousands of people. A mock-up was created and exhibited for people to see and comment on it.
Movement of Men and Material
The statue is located amidst remote, mountainous terrain, which posed enormous difficulties in delivery of materials. A temporary Bailey’s bridge connected the hill to the mainland.
The statue base also stands above the highest flood level recorded over a 100-year period of the nearby Narmada dam. A detailed hydrological study was conducted by a specialist consultant to ascertain the river level and flow during various conditions.
Altogether, the statue is divided into five zones. Up to its shin is the first zone, comprising three levels, including an exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof. It will contain a Memorial Garden and a large museum.
Zone 2 extends up to the statue’s thighs at 149 metres, while Zone 3 goes up to the viewing gallery at 153 metres. Zone 4 and Zone 5 would be out of reach of visitors, with Zone 4 comprising the maintenance area and Zone 5 the head and shoulders.
The viewing gallery will be accessible through two elevators located in the statue’s core, with a carrying capacity of 40 people each. The gallery, with space to accommodate up to 200 people at a time, will have a view of the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges, which also form the point where Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra meet. Visitors can also get a distant view of the SardarSarovar Reservoir, and the 12-km-long Garudeshwar Reservoir – the latter will help ensure there is always water around the statue, which is located downstream from the Narmada dam.
In the lobby area at the entrance of the statue, a Museum and Audio Visual Gallery will feature 15-minute presentations on the life of Patel and the tribal culture of Gujarat, to entertain tourists awaiting their turn to go up.
The ‘loha’ and earth campaigns
On December 15, 2013, the then Gujarat CM NarendraModi had flagged off the campaign to 1,69,000 villages, carrying about three lakh empty kit boxes, to collect soil and scrap-iron farm implements. Subsequently, by 2016, 135 metric tonnes of iron were collected in various forms that have been used in the making of the statue. The collected earth from all parts of the country has been used in the making of the symbolic Unity Wall, and the Suraj Petitions received from this campaign are presented in digital, graphical form in the exhibition hall.
Ram V Sutar, 93, has already created more than 200 distinct statues, many of them massive.Sutar was born in 1925 in a village in northern Maharashtra, the son of a carpenter and blacksmith.
Some of his first works were murals painted with cow dung on the mud walls of his family home.He carved a relief of a Hindu goddess on a school writing slate, a likeness that won a prize in an art competition in Mumbai. With the financial help of friends, he graduated from one of India’s most prestigious art schools and got a job restoring ancient Hindu statues in the Ellora and Ajanta caves.
His breakthrough came when he agreed to create a 45-foot statue of a Hindu river goddess beside a dam in northern India for just Rs10,000, or about $166 now. Few thought he would complete the commission. He moved his wife and young son to that remote site and spent 18 months in the early 1960s chiseling a huge block of concrete. His most successful piece is a contemplative bust of Mohandas K Gandhi, bronze copies of which the Indian government has sent as gifts to hundreds of cities around the world.
Other statues adorn the Indian Parliament and state capitols throughout India. All of his sculptures start as clay models, which he usually takes about two months to complete.
Incoming Profits: Over 1.28 Lakh Tourists Visit Statue of Unity in 11 Days in Gujarat
Since opening for the public on November 1, the 182-metre tall Statue of Unity in Narmada district of Gujarat has attracted more than 1.28 lakh tourists, officials said. A huge rush of tourists was seen during the weekend, with over 50,000 people visiting the world’s tallest statue at Kevadiya village on Saturday and Sunday alone (November 10-11), they said.
“Since November 1, when the statue opened for the public, we have recieved around 1.28 lakh tourists (till Sunday),” Superintending Engineer of SardarSarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) R G Kanungo said.
Over 24,000 tourists visited the site Sunday and more than 27,000 Saturday, he said. The statue, dedicated to ‘Iron Man of India’ SardarVallabhbhai Patel, is situated on an islet near the SardarSarovar Dam in Kevadiya. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister NarendraModi on October 31.
Talking to PTI, Principal Secretary (Tourism) S J Haider said more than 10,000 tourists had visited the statue on the very first day of its opening. “The number of tourists kept on increasing since November 1,” he said.
Along with the Statue of Unity, Gujarat Tourism has added many attractions nearby for sight-seeing. Two tent cities have been created along the backwater lakes of the Narmada dam reservoir for tourists who want to stay there.
Among the prime attractions at the site is a viewers gallery inside the statue located at a height of 135 metres with a capacity to accommodate 200 persons at a time. High-speed lifts installed there are capable of taking 5,000 people per day to the viewing gallery, which offers a panoramic glimpse of the surrounding areas.
Info And Sources