4 Sep 2018

World's tallest statue nears completion

6:32 pm on 4 September 2018

The world's tallest statue is nearing completion in India.

The under-construction "Statue Of Unity", a monument dedicated to Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, overlooking the Sardar Sarovar Dam near Vadodara in India's western Gujarat state.

The under-construction Statue Of Unity monument depicts Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Photo: AFP

It is designed to be a 182m (600ft) high tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a hero in India's independence struggle, in Gujarat state.

The Spring Temple Buddha in China is currently the world's biggest statue at 128m.

India's statue has cost 29.9bn rupees ($NZ640 million) and is seen as a pet project of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The "Statue of Unity", as it is known, will be inaugurated by the Indian leader on 31 October.

Mr Patel was a deputy to India's prime minister after independence in 1947.

The nationalist was known as the "Iron Man of India" after he persuaded feuding states to unite and become part of the Indian state after independence.

Many Hindu nationalists feel his place in history was overlooked in favour of the Nehru dynasty, which came to dominate Indian politics.

Chinese workers walk near the Statue Of Unity on August 25, 2018, the world's tallest sculpture depicting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who was known as 'Iron Man Of India' at Kevadiya Colony region near Narmada Dam, some 200kms. from Ahmedabad. / AFP PHOTO / SAM PANTHAKY

Chinese workers walk near the Statue Of Unity at Kevadiya Colony region near Narmada Dam. Photo: AFP

Once completed, the bronze-clad statue - which was begun in 2013 - will be nearly twice as tall as New York's Statue of Liberty.

It is hoped the site will become a significant tourist attraction for the country's western-most state.

More than 2500 workers are working to get the statue ready in time, with several hundred migrant labourers from China also contributing to the efforts.