India prepares to inaugurate the world's tallest statue

India inaugurated the world's tallest statue on Wednesday with fireworks, folk dances and floral tributes, deploying tight security amid an outcry by local groups over the soaring cost of the 182-metre (600-feet) sculpture of an independence hero.

Paying tributes to Sardar Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary, she said he was a true nationalist and became a symbol of Indian culture but giving the statue a foreign name - the Statue of Unity - "clearly shows the scant respect of the BJP leadership toward the great leader".

Had Sardar Patel not united the country, we would need visas to see lions or pay homage at Somnath or view the Charminar in Hyderabad, the prime minister said. He had promised the project despite criticism that India couldn't afford to spend so much money on a statue. Later Modi unveiled the Wall of Unity in the backdrop of fly past of Jaguar aircrafts and showering rose petals on Statue of Unity by Mi-17 choppers of Indian Air Force. Around 3,000 workers and 250 engineers worked together to create this statue.


The "Statue of Unity" is double the size of the Statue of Liberty in NY standing 240 metres high. Modi initially commissioned the Statue of Unity back in 2010 when he was Gujarat's chief minister. Farmers and members of India's tribal communities protested the statue before it was unveiled.

The statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a key independence leader in India's history, stands at 182m.

"Though Patel was from Gujarat state, all Indians were proud of him because of his stature", said Rashesh Patel, a 42-year-old businessman among the crowd gathered for the inauguration ceremony.


The exterior of statue is coated with 1,850 tonne of bronze.

In an ironic twist, Patel is reported to have said during his lifetime that he was against the concept of buildings and statues being built to glorify individuals.

The government is expected that the new tourist spot will attract almost 15,000 visitors on a daily basis.


India is also working on a giant statue of 17th-century warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, riding a horse and brandishing a sword, which should dominate the Mumbai shoreline from 2021.

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