How can the Statue of Unity become a tourist spot when tourists can’t even get there?

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the unveiling of a 182-meter-high statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel | PTI

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The Sardar Patel Unity Statue is located on the Narmada River, near the town of Rajpipla and the town of Kevadia. The nearest airport is approximately 100 km away.

New Delhi: India is now home to the tallest statue in the world, a 182-meter-tall tribute to the country’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The statue, built in Patel’s home state of Gujarat, was unveiled on Wednesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As well as paying homage to the late leader, the statue is also intended to boost tourism. But do you know where it is and how to get there?

The Statue of Unity was built on the Narmada River near the Sardar Sarovar Dam, also named after the late leader. The nearest town is Kevadia and the nearest town is Rajpipla, approximately 25 kilometers away.

Rajpipla, seat of an eponymous former princely state, is popular for its temples and waterfalls. Kevadia is a tribal dominated town that is a favorite spot for bird watchers and nature lovers.


Read also : Even if the Statue of Unity becomes as famous as the Taj Mahal, it may take us 120 years to break even


No easy way

There are three ways to reach the Statue of Unity by air – via Vadodara, Surat and Ahmedabad. None of them are particularly close, however – Vadodara Airport is around 95 kilometers, Surat 164 kilometers, and Ahmedabad around 200 kilometers.

The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation operates buses from Ahmedabad to Rajpipla, and you can find four options for online reservations. The journey takes about three hours by car, and more than double by bus. There are many public transport options from Rajpipla to Kevadia, as well as direct options from Ahmedabad to Kevadia, as it is a popular weekend destination for Gujaratis.

If you choose to go through Vadodara, the journey time is reduced by about two hours each.

From Surat there is an additional option of train travel – the Navjeevan Express takes five hours and 20 minutes to reach Rajpipla.

The biggest problem right now for tourists will be getting from Kevadia to the statue itself, as there is no taxi or bus service. Tourists will have to rely on auto rickshaw drivers, who can charge exorbitant prices. Language could also prove to be a barrier, given the tribal-dominated nature of the region.

Nita Mahadev, a resident of Rajpipla, says: “Taking a personal vehicle is the only option as there is no taxi service available. “

The Statue of Unity website mentions a bus service costing Rs 30, but the pick-up and drop-off points are not mentioned. A parking option is also mentioned, but details on the facility are still sketchy.


Read also : The inner story of how “Statue of Unity” helped make Narendra Modi Prime Minister in 2014


Limited options for the stay

The government of Gujarat last year built restaurants, golf courses and hotels in Kevadia to accommodate tourists, while another ongoing project calls for the construction of 250 tents and a three-star hotel.

Rajpipla has very few hotels, the only one listed online being Rajvanth Palace Resort, a heritage hotel. Better options are only available in the towns of Surat and Vadodara.

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