The world’s largest, Statue of Unity is set to reopen for tourists from today (17th October 2020). This comes nearly six months after it was closed for tourists due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Interestingly, the opening day also falls on the day when the festival of Navratri starts.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s statue better known as the Statue of Unity is situated in Gujarat.
It is located at the shore of Narmada River in Kevadia Colony facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam. It was closed in March this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sardar Ekta Trust which manages the monument has released the Standard Operating Procedures which will have to be followed once the Statue of Unity opens.
Special arrangements have been made to re-open the Statue of Unity to ensure strict adherence to the coronavirus guidelines.
- Only 2,500 tourists will be allowed per day. The regular footfall before lockdown was 15,000 per day.
- Only 500 will be allowed to visit the viewer’s gallery located at a height of 153 metres.
- Tickets will be provided in two-hour slots through the website www.soutickets.in
- Entry will be allowed to tourists only in the slot for which the tickets have been purchased.
- No tickets will be issued physically from any ticket window.
- Social distancing to be maintained everywhere including the hop-on, hop-off busses.
Monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India reopened since August with restricted number of tourists. On September 21, the Taj Mahal was reopened for tourists after a hiatus of six months.
The Statue of Unity was inaugurated in 2018 and within 2019 it surpassed the footfall at the 133-year-old Statue of Liberty in the US, with an average of over 15,000 tourists visiting the monument daily.
The Time magazine has mentioned the statue as among the 100 places to visit in 2019. It is built on an island in the Narmada river and overlooks the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has included the Statue of Unity in its list of eight wonders.