Anyone with even a little knowledge of patriotic stories surrounding Indian Independence would have surely heard of Sardar Patel. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was often called as the Iron Man of India and was credited with uniting the various provinces under British rule and hundreds of independent princely states into one nation. He was tough with the princes and rulers when they would not join the republic as they could not see the benefits of a united independent India. Hence the name. This and other stories flitted by in my mind’s eye even as my physical eye absorbed the fact that we were just 12 KM from the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world!
The Gateway to the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity Complex.
The parking lot for private vehicles
Presently we discerned the shadowy form of the statue of unity making its benign appearance in the distance, when we passed a hill. We were still a good 5 Kilometers from our destination when the driver of our coach pulled into a parking lot and said this was where we got off! My initial thoughts were that the driver must be joking. Surely Sardar Patel does not want us to trudge 5 KM to meet him, even though he was a tough task master. 🙂
The clouds in my mind cleared when we found that from this point on we would travel in designated air conditioned buses to the main entrance of the Statue of Unity Complex. Visitors to the SOU (Statue of unity) complex, were not allowed to take their vehicles beyond this point as there were parking facilities and a couple of helipads, at SOU for VIPS only.
Pro Tip: leave eatables, cigarettes and stuff not required at the Statue of Unity Complex in the car itself. It is possible you may be stopped and asked to discard these at the main entrance by the security personnel. You may also leave your stuff at the locker room situated at this point.
The parking lot, in Kevadiya village, was huge. Looked like it could hold some 1000 cars!
We were informed that we would be ferried in one of the 60 buses shuttling between the SOU , the parking lot and also other attractions in the vicinity like the Valley of Flowers and the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the River Narmada. This is a free and frequent service. However you would need to show your tickets.
We flashed our tickets (I reiterate that those were all we flashed, hahaha) and got into one of the buses showing its readiness for departure with its rhythmic roar of engine while courteous guides called out “Stechu of unity, please get in.”.
The Main Entrance
The bus dropped us off at the main entrance and we joined queues segregated by gender and passed through a layer of security check and eventually reached a beautifully manicured lawn lined with flowering plants. . All the while the statue seemed to grow in size. All too soon we had to join another queue for another security check and we were inside at last.
There was this beautiful bridge disguised as a walkway, whose central lane was open to sky, leading upto the Statue of Unity which was still a few hundred meters away. This was when the beauty and the height of the statue really made me stop. Nisha and I were overawed and we stopped to imbibe the view in front of us. The sheer magnificence bore a thumping testimony as to what humans can achieve. This bridge connects the mainland with the river island upon which the Statue was built.
Sardar Patel Statue of Unity
Eventually we dragged ourselves towards the statue keeping our unblinking eyes fixed on the statue till we could hardly see the statue anymore, since we were too close to the 58 Metres high base.
The Statue itself is divided into 5 areas. The Garden & Museum, Middle level and the observation gallery. The top 2 areas are not open to the public and is for maintenance only.
We spent some time in the museum, which had artifacts and documents on the life of Sardar Patel, his prominent participation in the Indian freedom struggle, his contribution after the Indian independence etc.
There was also an audio visual treat which we had to miss for paucity of time. There was a huge head of Sardar Patel , which looked similar to the one on the Statue. This was a favorite place with people and was perhaps the most popular selfie point. My request to visitors is , please do not stand on or touch or deface this exquisite piece of art.
There are lifts to take us to the foot of the statue level and also to the observation gallery level.
These high speed lifts take less than a minute to reach the viewing gallery at 153 metres.
The Design Features
The Sardar Patel Statue of Unity is 182 metres tall, which makes it the world’s tallest statue. Desgned by the famous sculptor and artist, Ram Vanji Sutar, it is located on the top of the Island rock on the River Narmada, called Sadhu Bet. The statue appears to be looking at the Sardar Sarovar dam on the River Narmada, a project that was close to Sardar Patels’ heart but which saw the light of day much after his death.
The river flows through the valley created by Vindhya Mountain Range in the North and Satpura Range in the South. Further down, the river marks the natural border with the state of Maharashtra.
Tip : Read about our trip to another border town called Saputara.
Surely, a memorial befitting this tall leader. The statue stands on 58 metres pedestal making the total 240 Metres. In comparison the Statue of Liberty with its base is about 93 Metres high.
The number 182 depicts the number of assembly constituencies in Gujarat.
The outside shell of the statue is made of bronze panels of 8mm thickness.
We stood at the base of the statue and I found that even the toes were bigger than me!
What also grabbed my attention was the attention to details. The pair of sandals has been modeled after typical Indian footwear.
Imagine what would be the shoe size? 🙂 🙂
The viewing gallery
The viewing gallery is at a height of 153 metres. The idea is that this gallery is at chest level. Symbolic of the people being in his heart.
The viewing gallery can accommodate 200 visitors at a time. The mesh of the shirt through we can view the Narmada Sardar Sarovar Dam is almost 4 cm thick.
Now we can say that the heart of Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel touched us!
It is said that much of steel that went into the concrete came from various farmers who donated their tools to be melted and used in the two huge concrete towers inside the statue.
The Laser show start once it becomes dark However we did not see it as we had a flight to catch from Vadodara.
Useful Information for visiting Sardar Patel Statue of Unity.
Opening times :
08:00AM to 06:00PM , Tuesday to Sunday. SOU complex is closed on Monday.
The Laser Light and Sound Show start at 7:30 PM onwards daily.
Tickets may be purchased in situ at SOU ticketing centre from 7:30AM to 5:30PM.
Ticket prices are
Adults – INR 150 , Child (3 to 15 Years) – INR 90
Viewing Gallery Ticket (includes entry ticket)
Adults – INR 380 , Child (3 to 15 Years) – INR 230
If you want to avoid the queues then then buy Express tickets
Adults – INR 1030 , Child (3 to 15 Years) – INR 1030
One may purchase the tickets online at https://soutickets.in or by using the mobile app soutickets.
The entry ticket is cheaper, at
Adults – INR 120 , Child (3 to 15 Years) – INR 60
Adults – INR 350 , Child (3 to 15 Years) – INR 200
Adults – INR 1000 , Child (3 to 15 Years) – INR 1000
The ticket prices for foreign nationals are a bit more expensive at Adults – INR 1500 , Child (3 to 15 Years) – INR 800 (looks a a bit steep, but quite inline with Statue of Liberty ferry + crown at USD 21.50)
Pro tip: The tickets include entry to Sardar Sarovar Dam.
There is a Locker room to store items which may not be allowed inside the Statue of Unity Complex .
Golf cart facility is available for those who may need it .
Food court has enough options for those feeling hungry and thirsty after all the excitement.
A small but well stocked souvenir shop to buy T Shirts, hats, key chains, Fridge magnets, Statue replicas etc.
There is a plan for boating jetty, but it is not clear when it would be opened for public.
Washrooms are there but not enough, according to me, for the number of visitors expected.
Other FAQs, facts, figures and tidbits
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