India: Standing Tall
India inaugurated the world’s tallest statue — 182 meters high — in late October 2018. It’s a reproduction of an Indian independence hero.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially opened the tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with an Air Force jet flyover, helicopters showering flowers on the statue, and fireworks in the green, orange and white national colors.
“Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India,” said Modi, who hailed Sardar Patel’s “strategic thinking” in bringing together the disparate country after independence in 1947 and the Statue of Unity as “a symbol of our engineering and technical prowess.”
The statue, which cost 29.9 billion rupees (U.S. $400 million) and took nearly four years to complete, is made of nearly 100,000 tons of concrete and steel.
Sardar Patel’s name had been largely overshadowed by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has dominated Indian politics since 1947. Modi-inspired nationalists have sought to put their hero back in the forefront.
The statue dwarfs the 128-meter-high Spring Temple Buddha in China, the world’s next-biggest statue.
Indian authorities hope the statue will attract 15,000 visitors a day to the remote corner of Gujarat, which is about 100 kilometers from the nearest city of Vadodora.