The Statue of Unity is the tallest statue in the world. At 182 metres, it is 23 metres taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty (93 metres tall) in US.
The statue will be able to withstand wind velocity up to 60 m/s, vibration and earthquakes.
It was built within three-and-a-half years by an army of over 3,000 workers, including 300 engineers from infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
As Gujarat chief minister, Modi had announced the project in 2010 ahead of civic elections in Ahmedabad. The project, which cost Rs 3,050 crore, was fully funded by the Gujarat government.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle set up by Modi in 2011, arranged some 129 tonnes of iron implements from nearly 100 million farmers in 169,000 villages across all states to construct the base of the statue in the ‘Loha’ campaign.
The Statue of Unity was built by Padma Bhushan recipient sculptor Ram V Sutar and intricate bronze cladding work was done by a Chinese foundry, the Jiangxi Toqine Company (JTQ).
The viewing gallery for the statue, at 153 metres, can accommodate 200 people at a time and offer an expansive view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
The Statue of Unity will comprise 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 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.