Architecture

World's tallest statue opens to the public in India

World's tallest statue opens t...
The Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, has officially opened to the public
The Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, has officially opened to the public
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The Statue of Unity overlooks the Narmada river
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The Statue of Unity overlooks the Narmada river
The Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, has officially opened to the public
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The Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, has officially opened to the public
The Statue of Unity stands 597 ft (182 m) tall, almost twice the size of the Statue of Liberty
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The Statue of Unity stands 597 ft (182 m) tall, almost twice the size of the Statue of Liberty
Indian Air Force aircraft performed flyovers of the Statue of Unity during the opening ceremony
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Indian Air Force aircraft performed flyovers of the Statue of Unity during the opening ceremony
India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi (second from left) dedicated the statue of Unity at an event on October 31
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India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi (second from left) dedicated the statue of Unity at an event on October 31
The unveiling ceremony of the Statue of Unity was marked by traditional dancers and other celebrations
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The unveiling ceremony of the Statue of Unity was marked by traditional dancers and other celebrations

Right on schedule, the world's tallest statue has officially opened in India. Standing almost 600 ft (182 m) tall, the new Statue of Unity depicts Indian freedom fighter Vallabhbhai Patel, and was dedicated by India's Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at a ceremony on October 31.

Popularly known as Sardar Patel, and even the "Iron Man of India," Patel is remembered as a key player in India's fight for independence from Britain during the early-to-mid 20th century. The Statue of Unity stands not only as a memorial to this important historical figure, but as a monumental feat of engineering.

Not including the base, the statue stands 597 ft (182 m) tall, beating the previous record-holder – the Spring Temple Buddha in China, at 502 ft (153 m) – by a fair margin. At around half the height, even the Statue of Liberty doesn't hold a torch to the newcomer.

The unveiling ceremony of the Statue of Unity was marked by traditional dancers and other celebrations
The unveiling ceremony of the Statue of Unity was marked by traditional dancers and other celebrations

At the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Modi gave a speech and offered a prayer, before pouring soil and water from the Narmada river, which the statue overlooks, into a metal container known as a kalash. The occasion was also celebrated with traditional dancers and a flyover by Indian Air Force aircraft.

The Prime Minister also dedicated the on-site Museum and Exhibition, and the Viewer's Gallery built into the statue's chest, providing views of the surrounding landscape from a vantage point 502 ft (153 m) high.

Construction took a little under four years to complete, and the date of the official unveiling was chosen to coincide with what would have been Patel's 143rd birthday.

Source: Press Information Bureau Government of India

15 comments
Rustin Lee Haase
When you look at the pictures there is little to go by for the scale of things, just the river in the valley and the statue. (and alot of tiny unrecognizable stuff) The effect is it just looks like a picture of a gentleman standing peacefully next to a small stream. Maybe that was the desired effect.
ljaques
He's twice the size of Liberty. It's too bad all that money didn't go to feeding the starving unwashed, or into reviving the dying rail system. A dozen extra cars would ensure that the normal 20% of passengers weren't riding on the roof or hanging off the side. (Luckily, only 15k people die on those each year.) Governments sure have weird priorities.
Venetian
What a fantastic pissing contest to establish who is a better Indian, Nehru or Patel. This ego trip cost $430 million in a country with an average annual wage of $600 where half of more than a billion citizens don't even have a toilet. Another example of a third world country's order of priorities. Showing the rest of the planet that they are just as corrupt and fiscally incompetent as the best of other banana republics.
owlbeyou
India may not be as rich (by our standards), but it's good that the country wants to commemorate this freedom fighter who helped get the Brits out, but as a Westerner, I find his pose and dress unflattering or even uninspiring. To each their own culture. We're not exactly the paragon of good taste either.
Joshua Tulberg
Very impressive. @Rustin: I like the effect of the scale (or lack there of). As you pointed out, it just looks like a guy standing next to a stream. Too cool. But also controversial as @Ijaques points out. Hopefully it brings a lot of tourism (and thus $) to India.
Marco McClean
The Wikipedia article has the cool details of construction (tons of this and that). Here's a photo showing scale: https://tinyurl.com/ScaleOfPatelStatue As for the money-better-spent-on-important-things objection, Americans spend more on lipstick and hair gel. Or pet food. Or Halloween. Beer. Weed. Health-care corporations spend more on lobbying against Medicare For All. And I think fossil fuel companies spend more on simply lying about climate change. And we just spent many times as much putting out a line of instantly obsolete bug-ridden war planes, and ridiculous sitting-duck war ships that dwarf that statue and that will be burning treasure and resources for decades. It's art. It's big. At least Pakistan and India aren't nuking each other.
Reece Agland
Awful, reminds me of those giant statues in Lord of the Rings statues. Wonder what else could be done with the money. Vanity projects suit no one.
toyhouse
There's something disquieting about the scale of a human figure or other things when they reach a certain size. Even though it's the representation of a gentle figure, at that scale, it reminds me of Talos somehow, ( the giant automaton from the tales of Jason),. Good thing they didn't build it to turn it's head or move in some way. I'd have nightmares. In some of the images, it almost looks cgi,ed-in. That aside, it is an amazing work of engineering, I'll give it that.
Derek Howe
Was it pricey, yes, especially in a pretty poor country. But, can you put a price on pride? I have no problem with a country building a statue to celebrate their independence.
AL1108
@ljaques it's a stupid argument to say the money didn't go to feeding the starved. Same can be said of any expenditure a country makes, there is no price on celebrating pride and freedom. Patel was not just a freedom fighter, he united small countries to make what is India today. The picture of an overcrowded train with people on the roof and assume that's business as usual for Indian Railways, sorry to burst your bubble but the picture is from Bangladesh and Indian trains don't have people sitting on roofs.