It’s not often that one gets to be experience the making of history. So excitement was but natural for visitors at the gallery of the Statue of Unity on the day of its inauguration. The 182-metre statue of SardarVallabhbhai Patel, touted as world’s tallest, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
The viewing gallery, at a height of 500 feet (153 metres) inside the statue, is among the attractions of the statue. It is not just the height that makes the gallery special, but its location as well—the gallery is at the level of the Sardar’s ‘heart’. Most visitors said they felt lucky to have got a chance to visit the statue on the day of its inauguration.
They did not mind the wait outside the lift that would take them to the gallery.Ahmedabad resident Nirav Raval, a government employee, had gone to Kevadiya with his family. “It was a memorable experience for us to reach Sardar’s heart on the very first day of the statue’s inauguration.
We reached the gallery within seconds in a superfast lift. I was excited to see the view around the statue from that height. On one side was the dam and on the other Kevadia and Narmada river. I believe the scenery will be mesmerising during monsoon.” Approximately 200 persons can be accommodated in the gallery at one time.
On a few aspects where he would have liked some change, Raval said there should have been some open space in the gallery to enable visitors to make the most of the experience of standing at such a height. “The gallery space can be inadequate if there are more visitors.
Also, visits could be made free or discounted on certain days. Students should get some rebate,” he suggested.
Naitik Desai, a resident of Vadodara, too had come with his family. “Initially we are not very happy with the Sardar’s face as it was not visible from beneath. The statue seemed cross.
But after coming to the viewing gallery at 50-floor height, we could understand the reason. The statue faces the dam; hence it is positioned that way. My kids are very excited on seeing people appear tiny from such a height. Even the lift moved very fast.”
Hasmukh Kotak had come to see the statue all the way from Erode in Tamil Nadu. “This is a great project and I think will be a grand success. It felt great to visit the gallery in Sardar’s heart.