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India's Statue of Unity may be the world's tallest, but its remote location makes it hard to get to

India's Statue of Unity may be the world's tallest, but its remote location makes it hard to get to
The Statue of Unity is silhouetted against the setting sun in the Narmada district of Gujarat state, India. (Ajit Solanki / Associated Press)

When Indian prime minister Narendra Modi unveiled the tallest statue in the world Wednesday, he traveled to a small spot called Sadhu Bet on the Narmada River in the state of Gujarat.

And that’s a problem.

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Indian workers at the construction site of the Statue of Unity a week before the unveiling Wednesday.
Indian workers at the construction site of the Statue of Unity a week before the unveiling Wednesday. (Divyakant Solank / EPA/Shutterstock)

The remote location in northwestern India isn’t easy to get to, which will make it tough for tourists to visit the statue of independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, whose 597-foot-tall bronze body is almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty.

The nearest town to the newly minted statue of independence leader is Kevadia, a place with no airport and no public transit, according to the Indian news website The Print.

“The biggest problem right now for tourists will be to get from Kevadia to the statue itself, because there are no taxi or bus services,” a story posted on the website said. “Tourists will have to rely on auto-rickshaw drivers, who may charge exorbitant prices. Language could also prove to be a barrier, given the tribal-dominated nature of the region.”

The nearest airports are in the towns of Vadodara, Surat and Ahmedabad; the closest one (Vadodara) is 60 miles away, and connections by bus or train take a long time.

Still, plans call for developing the area around the newly minted landmark with a three-star hotel, boat rides on the Narmada River and a highway linking Kevadia to the site. Officials are expecting 15,000 tourists will visit each day.

The installation of the Statue of Unity, which portrays Sardar Vallabhbhai Pate.
The installation of the Statue of Unity, which portrays Sardar Vallabhbhai Pate. (Divyakant Solank / EPA/Shutterstock)

The statue features two high-speed elevators inside that will whisk visitors to a viewing area (roughly around the statue’s chest) of the river, nearby hills and the dam.

There’s also a museum inside, and a designated selfie spot planned outside.

By the numbers, the statue was cast from about 1,700 tons of bronze and cost $430 million. It beat out the 420-foot Spring Temple Buddha in China, which took more than a decade to build starting in 1997.

Tickets cost less than $5 (350 Indian rupees) to visit the statue, which is open daily.

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