Tag Archives: the US

Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity: The Tallest, The Grandest!

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Sardar Patel Statue TODAY   (31st October 2018) – The Statue of Unity, the one to have laid the foundation stone for the project on 31 October 2013 as Gujarat CM. Besides PM Modi, Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states are expected to attend the gala event. Gujarat has the rare honour of possessing the competitor to Global Icon (The Statue of Liberty) – The Statue of Unity! This will attract reverse tourism as Gujaratis based in the U.S. will visit as tourists whereas till now Gujaratis loved to visit the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. – their favourite. Owing to its unique features, it is certain to attract tourist from all over the world.

Sardar Patel is renowned as the architect of independent India, as he united all diverse 562 princely states to build the one great Republic of India. Shri Narendra Modi decided to pay the honourable tribute which will be cherished for centuries by the whole world and it will become a matter of pride for every Indian for this great man. Built in less than five years, it is the world’s tallest, grandest and giant statue. It is a tribute to the man who united India, Sardar Patel.

The Statue of Unity is a monument dedicated to Indian independence movement leader Vallabhbhai Patel located in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is located facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km (2.0 mi) away on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla in Gujarat. The monument along with its surroundings occupies over 20,000 square metres and is surrounded by a 12 square km artificial lake. It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres (597 ft).  Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Government of Gujarat for its construction and the outreach programme was carried out across India starting December 2013.

Initially, the total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹3,001 crore (US$420 million) by the Government of India. Later Larsen & Toubro won the contract in October 2014 for its lowest bid of ₹2,989 crore (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. The construction was started on 31 October 2013 and completed in mid-October 2018. It will be inaugurated on 31 October 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The monument statue represents the Indian independence movement leader and the first Deputy Prime Minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which is constructed facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet. The total height of the statue from its base will be 240-metre consisting base level of 58 metres and statue of 182 metres. It is constructed with steel framing, reinforced cement concrete and bronze cladding.  The statue needed 75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 tonnes of steel structure, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel rods, 22,500 tonnes of bronze sheets for construction. In the first phase, a bridge connecting the memorial to the mainland, a memorial, visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a hotel, a convention centre, an amusement park, research centres and institutes is being constructed.

The Statue of Unity is designed as a naturalistic and historically accurate representation of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, wearing characteristic garments, in a walking stance.

The project includes:

  • Bronze cladding on the Statue.
  • Fast elevators to reduce transit time for visitors.
  • The three-level base of the Statue: exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof – will contain a Memorial Garden and a large continuous museum/exhibition hall, comprising exhibits that focus on the life and contributions of Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The observation deck, situated at a height of around 500 ft from the river bed, will accommodate up to 200 people at a time. It will provide visitors with a panoramic view, enabling them to see the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges, the 212 km long Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the 12 km long Garudeshwar Reservoir.
  • Access to the Statue via a 5 km boat ride.
  • A large canopied public plaza, overlooking the Narmada River and the Statue, comprising food stalls, gift shops, retail kiosks and other amenities.
  • The Gujarat government has plans to build a Shreshtha Bharat Complex near the Statue of Unity which will house Bhavans of different states. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has approached all state governments for setting up their respective Bhavans at the site.

Indeed Statue of Unity has much more to offer than meets the eye. The closest station and airport would be Vadodara which is some 90 Km away and travel time by road would be 2.5 hours followed by a boat ride of 5 Kms.

I am all set to visit, are you?

I would be visiting both most loved statues – The Statue of Liberty & The Statue of Unity in the same year – 2019! Isn’t it something unique!!

India’s Travel mobility score rises from 32 (2008) to 50 (2014)

In the fight for global travelers tourists from India are getting noticed, with more countries making special efforts to ease Visa formalities for its citizens. The Visa operations Report 2014 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization says India has improved on its mobility score…the extent to which tourists can travel around the world without visa hassles.

When comparing data between 2014 and 2008 for the promising outbound markets of Brazil, Russian Federation, China, India and South Africa (BRICS), it becomes clear that the destinations are making special efforts to facilitate visa formalities for tourists originating from these prospering economies.  India’s mobility score rose to 50 in 2014, marginally higher than that of China at 48 where outbound travel is growing by leaps and bounds. However Indians still has a long way to go become most mobile travelers. That privilege is for citizens of Finland, the US, Sweden and Germany, which are least impacted by VISA restrictions and have mobility score of 159.

France recently decided to provide visas in less than 48 hours to Indians. Britain and Ireland have launched a single visa scheme for Indian tourists. Last year Canada allowed Indians who have traveled to Canada or the US in the past 10 years and with no adverse security or criminal history to get visa without submitting proof of economic solvency. The Philippines tourism ministry has proposed to lift entry visa requirements for Indians.  The US has also eased procedures to attract one Million Indian tourists by 2015. The country offers a 10-year multiple entry B1/ B2 visa that can be used for business and personal trips of short duration. Indians holding valid Visa also have the advantage of getting visa waivers or applying for e visas to visit some countries, including Mexico and Turkey.

Visa on arrival to Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Maldives, Laos, Cambodia, Jordan, Kenya, Philippines and Thailand has seen significant surge, inspiring transactions in India for both tourism – short stays, weekend gateways as well as ad-hoc group of celebrations.

Currently Indians get visa – free access or visas on arrival in 52 countries.

Mobility Score: Mobility indicates to what extent the citizens of a country are affected by visa policies of destination nations – the higher the score, the better. It is calculated by assigning weights to the visa policies required of each country’s citizens, with ‘no visa’ weighted by 1, ‘visa on arrival’ by 0.7, ‘e-visa’ by 0.5 and ‘visa required’ weighted by 0.

Source: The Economic Times


White Christmas dreams dashed…well almost in the U.S. !

A large storm system packing high winds and heavy rain is on track to sweep through the eastern half of the U.S. just in time to disrupt Christmas Eve travel plans, grounding flights and tying up traffic, meteorologists warn.


“It’s really a wide-ranging storm system with several weather phenomena that could cause delays across the eastern portion of the country,” Mike Musher, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told FoxNews.com. “Unfortunately, it’s happening at one of the most-traveled days of the year.”
In New York, light to moderate rainfall will give way into a soaking storm Christmas Eve, and rain was expected through the day in some New England states as well, Musher said.

The National Weather Service predicts Christmas Eve snow from Missouri to Michigan. Three inches of snow could fall in Chicago, where O’Hare and Midway airports are projecting around 4.2 million travelers throughout the holiday season, MyFoxChicago reported.
By Tuesday afternoon, FlightAware.com reported more than 3,600 flight delays in the U.S., with more than 600 flights canceled. Many of the affected flights were reported in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore airports.


AAA expects 98.6 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of 4 percent from last year.

Musher said the storm system will begin clearing out on Christmas, though some areas of New England and the Great Lakes region may still suffer from rainfall. By the weekend, however, temperatures in the eastern part of the country will rise to five to 10 degrees above normal, and conditions will be sunny by Saturday, he said.

By Tuesday afternoon, heavy rain, accompanied by frequent lightning and damaging winds, was already falling in Atlanta, and MyFoxAtlanta.com reported that a tornado later in the day was “not out of the question.” Severe thunderstorms with the potential of tornadoes had also developed in Georgia and Louisiana.
Meanwhile, severe storms have killed at least four people in Mississippi and damaged homes and businesses throughout the state, leading Gov. Phil Bryant to declare a state of emergency for two counties.
Bryant’s office said thousands were without power Tuesday night around Columbia, which is about 80 miles southeast of Jackson.
Jones County Emergency Management director Marda Tullos said a man and woman were killed Tuesday inside a mobile home in the storm’s path.

About 50 miles southwest, Marion County coroner Norma Williamson tells WDAM that two people were killed in Columbia.
Watches and warnings were out for a swath of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama with the storms moving toward Georgia, including Atlanta, and Florida late Tuesday into Christmas Eve.
Snow from another system fell in some Midwestern states Tuesday, including nearly 2 feet in South Dakota’s Black Hills. Wind and blowing snow shut down eastern Colorado’s Interstate 70 into Kansas.

Source: Fox News

Freebies galore for Indian tourists to foreign locales…

Just don’t ignore them…Summer Vacations are here!

Planning to cool your heals in some exotic foreign locale? Now it will offer more on your plate!

Book US trip, get cruise fee! This news item in today’s Times of India (May 12) could not escape my attention with my Sunday
morning cup of tea!

Esplanade in Singapore

I became more curious and this is what I read:

1. Spend on a 16-day trip to the US and get a seven day Alaska cruise free

2. A four city Europe tour for just Rs. 85,000

3. 50% discount on South East Asian destinations like Thailand & Singapore

4. Take your child free

5. Upgarde to a five star hotel

Travel trends of Indian travellers:

1. Burgeoning population of 12 million Indians travelling overseas last year, Indian are lapping up the offers this year

2. 15-18% growth in Indians travelling overseas this year

3. A significant percentage of these travellers say 30% are from non metros.

Indian tourists are largely in search of place where they could visit exotic destinations and reasonable pricing, icing on the cake would be freebie!

So what are you thinking? Pack your bags for Malaysia, Singapore, Bangkok, US, Europe…whereever!