PM Modi inaugurates OYO Ekta barge near Unity Statue and marks Sardar Patel’s birthday


Gujarat’s first houseboat is an attempt to support the vision of Prime Minister Modi and the Government of Gujarat to establish the Statue of Unity as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the OYO Ekta houseboat near the Statue of Unity in Ekta Nagar district of Gujarat on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Gujarat’s first houseboat is an attempt to support Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat Government’s vision to establish the Statue of Unity as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. True to its name, the barge offers a rich and culturally diverse confluence of craftsmanship. The exteriors are inspired by Kashmiri culture with carvings and wood finish, while the interior of the boat is inspired by the rich and diverse Gujarati culture and art. The boat’s main entrance door has an exterior face inspired by the Moroccan motif and an interior face inspired by the Ahmedabadi Deli design. It took over 90 days and a team of over 30 carpenters and painters to perfectly execute the intricate carvings of the barge.

Explaining the intention behind the launch of the barge, Ritesh Agarwal, Group Managing Director, OYO, said, “We are honored to be part of this unique initiative by the Honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the Government of Gujarat to boost tourist activities around the tallest statue in the world – Statue of Unity. This statue symbolizes unity in diversity which is the hallmark of Indian culture. Our houseboat, too, represents the same thing. Its design is inspired by the houseboats of Srinagar, known worldwide for their unique experience. There are visible signs of Moroccan and Gujarati cultures in the design of the houseboats. With Rajwadi & Sankheda furnishings and lots of delicious food, the houseboat creates a true Gujarati experience.”

OYO has also displayed its commitment to the voice of government for local initiative. All logistics, including groceries and basic necessities, are sourced from various villages around Ekta Nagar. The existing supplier network has been established for linen and other hotel supplies, ensuring business growth and socio-economic development for the people of the region.

Over 10,000 tourists visit the Statue of Unity on weekdays and on weekends the figure exceeds 18,000. The houseboat is set to become a major attraction for those tourists who visit Ekta Nagar for multiple travel experiences such as Jungle Safari, Rafting, Cruise, Dinosaur Trail, Cactus Garden, Valley of Flowers, and Laser Light and Sound Show, among others. Online reservations can be made through the OYO app or their website

The hull of the houseboat is made of marine grade steel to ensure that it is able to withstand any pressure or load. The houseboat overlooks the Sardar Sarovar Dam seaplane runway with a view of the Sardar Patel statue in the distance.

The houseboat is 90 feet long and 20 feet wide with two well-appointed bedrooms, dining room, living room, kitchen, foredeck and upper viewing deck. There are huge windows on both sides of the houseboat offering mesmerizing views of the natural beauty around the Statue of Unity.

Special arrangements are made on the houseboat for corporate events. The dining area is outfitted with a 50″ TV, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth-enabled microphones and pedestal speakers for hosting MICE events such as Conference-In-Boat. On top of that, the drawing and dining area are separated by a folding partition that can be opened and the whole space used for a party, event or corporate function.

The upper deck of the houseboat is over 700 square feet and offers stunning sunrise views and a glimpse of the Statue of Unity. In order to make the experience more convenient and memorable, there is a traditional Sankheda Jhula (swing) with tables and chairs. The boat is fitted with a DRDO approved biodigester fitted with aero waste disposal technology which is used for sewage waste.

A team of OYO officials had traveled to Srinagar to study the design of houseboats on Dal Lake. They also received important advice from Tariq Ahmed Patloo, owner of a houseboat in Srinagar, who was praised by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi for transforming his houseboat into a floating ambulance.

The houseboat is part of OYO’s attempt to encourage Indigenous tourism experiences in the area. It also offers a homestay program in Ekta Nagar, formerly known as Kevadia, to create micro-entrepreneurship opportunities and bring local art and culture to tourists. There are over 30 host families currently operating in the area. Previously, it also partnered with the government of Jammu and Kashmir to launch a homestay program in offbeat destinations in the state. There are over 70 homestays offering a unique experience for tourists.

Also read: Morbi bridge tragedy: Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Morbi tomorrow

OYO is a global platform that aims to empower entrepreneurs and small businesses with hotels and homes by providing comprehensive technology products and services that aim to increase revenue and facilitate operations; providing easy to book, affordable and reliable accommodation to customers worldwide.

OYO offers more than 40 integrated products and solutions to customers operating more than 157,000 hotel and home storefronts in more than 35 countries, including India, Europe and Southeast Asia, as of March 31 2021.
For more information, visit

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(Except for the title, this story has no editing by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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