The world’s largest statue was inaugurated on Wednesday. The statue depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who together with Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru lead India to independence from the U.K. in 1947. He served as the newly independent country’s first Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, plus he helped unite the hundreds of different districts and states into a coherent, functioning India before his death in 1950.
Now, Patel can enjoy not just a towering reputation, but also a literally towering memorial. The $400 million statue overlooks the Sardar Sarovar Dam near Vadodara, a city of 2 million people in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
At 600 feet, the statue is taller than five Statues of Liberty, each one standing atop the last. His toes are taller than the average person.
It is the work of 93-year-old sculptor Ram V. Sutar and it took five years, 70,000 tons of cement, 18,500 tons of reinforcement steel, 6,000 tons of structural steel and 1,700 metric tons of bronze.
The statute dwarfs its nearest competition, the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China. That copper behemoth stands 420 feet tall on a 66-foot pedestal containing a monastery.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue, whose formal name is the “Statue of Unity”. Modi is a native of Gujarat. He performed a special prayer at the feet of the statue and delivered a dedication speech before an Indian air force flyover.