In Gujarat’s Kevadia town, we have the world’s tallest statue (height of 182 metres) – the Statue of Unity. It is a gigantic structure of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Iron Man of India) who was also the first deputy Prime Minister and first Home minister of Independent India. The statue honors and commemorates his contributions in uniting India. The massive statue is built on the banks of River Narmada and Satpura and Vindhyachal hills make for its picture perfect background. I had been excited about the making since its inception. The engineer in me was curious to know about its design and engineering. Thus, during my Gujarat trip last month, I visited Kevadia (now known as Ekta Nagar) to experience the magnanimity of the ‘World’s Tallest Monument’ and to learn more about it. The month of May was not very conducive for the day visit. It was hot but the unexpected rains came to my rescue. The excitement and curiosity was such that I did not restrict my visiting hours but chose to spend a night at Ramada Encore By Wyndham Statue of Unity. To begin with, the location of the hotel was the major drawing factor. One set of its rooms have great views of the Narmada river. The USP of the hotel is that all the attractions of Statue of Unity are easily accessible from the premises. Children Nutrition Park and Ekta Mall are located half kilometers from the hotel and Statue of Unity is hardly 6 kilometers. All the pick up points for bus, taxi and ferry are available beside the hotel. And when it comes to waking up to the picturesque sights of River Narmada, it is located at a vantage point.
Road trip from Ahmedabad to Kevadia
The quickest way to travel to Kevadia, now Ekta Nagar is via road. Ekta Nagar is within driving distance of Ahmedabad. 200 Kms are covered in 4-4.30 hours and it makes for a very smooth drive on the Golden Quadrilateral. We started from our hotel in Ahmedabad at 10.30 a.m. in the morning and reached our hotel in Kevadia at 2:45 p.m. We did not stop for any kind of break. We had pre-booked the tickets for Statue of Unity and all we had to do was to check-in at the hotel, grab a quick bite and head to the statue.
All the hotels are located outside the area of six kilometers from Statue of Unity. Personal cars and hired taxis are not allowed beyond a certain point. One can reach the statue via three ways- pink autos driven by women only, free buses and Ekta cruise (ferry). It was good to see ladies driving the e-Rickshaws.
We did not know about the Ekta cruise (recent addition) but I am glad that the hotel manager at Ramada Encore by Wyndham informed us about it and arranged two seats for us at the last moment. The ferry was scheduled to start its trip at 3:15 p.m. and we arrived at the hotel at 2.45 p.m. We ate, changed quickly and made our way to the Ekta cruise terminal, conveniently located next to the hotel premises. Hotel’s golf cart dropped us to close to the vessel.
Ramada Encore By Wyndham
As we crossed the tent city and other hotels, we noticed that Ramada Encore by Wyndham is the closest hotel to the statue and is preferred due to it strategic location. The check-in was smooth and hassle-free. And the hotel has a very happy vibe about it. Also, before we walked towards the room, we could hear the excitement and buzz in the lobby area. There were several groups of families and lots of kids looking forward to their visit to the Statue of Unity. A vibrant and freshly made room welcomed me. Unlike other Ramada hotels and resorts which have lavish rooms, this one is more like a room with a purpose. Guests usually come here for 1 or 2 nights. It is a government property managed by Ramada group. One must not be surprised to see smaller rooms and compact bathrooms here. But there is no slack in the amenities and hospitality. The staff is courteous and helpful. And there is no compromise on the cleanliness.
My room was prim and proper. And the moment I walked towards the balcony and opened the door, I was in love with the fabulous view of the open area, separate play area for kids, swimming pool and the river. The view of the Narmada river was very refreshing. The staff at the hotel was very prompt. We asked them a couple of questions about Statue of Unity before heading out and they quickly helped us with the details.
Ekta Cruise to Statue of Unity
The fun of sailing on the water and having an uninterrupted view of the statue of unity is the USP of the Ekta Cruise. I am sure the auto ride and bus ride would have their own share of fun but the experience of approaching the mammoth structure via the water route had a special vibe about it. The vessel looked new and spacious. As soon as everyone was settled on their chairs, a small cultural dance program welcomed everyone on the cruise and set the mood. Soon, everyone was free to go to the open deck on the first floor. We all went up stairs. In the next five minutes, the statue came into view from far and everyone on-board was thrilled at the sight of it. As the ferry moved closer to the entry point, one could feel the impact of its height. It is indeed HUGEEEE!
You just can’t be without admiring it. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s contribution in the fight for freedom of India and in the unification of the divided princely states was immense. This statue attracts people from around the world to come to India and know more about him.
The ferry ride was approximately half and hour and I enjoyed it. I am sure this experience beats all experiences of approaching the statue and seeing it closely. Once the ferry came to a halt, we were picked by a shuttle and driven to the nearest entrance. And from there we began our walk towards the ‘Viewing gallery‘ and the ‘Statue of Unity’ above it.
We were also informed that dinner is also served on the night cruise and one can book that experience separately. The catering on the cruise is done by the restaurant at Ramada Encore.
Let us know more about Statue of Unity
Constructed by Larsen and Toubro and inaugurated by India’s current Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, the statue is indeed a marvelous work of engineering. More than 250 engineers and 3500 workers made this statue. The construction of the statue began on 31st October 2014 and was completed in mid-October 2018. It took almost 4 years to complete this one-of-its-kind project.
A series of travellators guided us towards the statue. To know about the facts and history of Sardar Patel and the making of the statue, one must spend some time in the museum. It has several pictures, videos and structures to give an insight into the project. There is lot of information about the local tribes, wildlife, festival, culture, etc of Gujarat. Next, one must head to the viewing gallery. We took the lift and were told to second button on the jacket of the statue, at the height of 153 m. The gallery offers panoramic views of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges and helps to gain some valuable insights about the making of the statue. To take a trip inside the statue is nothing less than a thrilling journey. There, at the top, we met supervisors who explained the making of the statue, the type of metals used, etc.
From here we took the escalators and went to see the statue. Once again, it leaves you mesmerized. When you go to the top, absolutely close to the feet of the statue of Unity, only then you realize how huge it is. A normal size human doesn’t even match up to the footwear. The view of Narmada river and the sunset is worth a wait here. By 6-6:30, the guards ask you to start returning. Those who have seats for Light and Sound show make way towards the seating arrangement. But if you have time, you can also visit Valley of flowers for better view of the dam. we chose to see the sunset and stayed near the statue.
Projection mapping (Light and Sound Show)
To create beautiful projections and an impactful light and sound show on the tallest statue is an achievement in itself. The projection mapping explains the story of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and all his self-less contributions for the country. The show is very entertaining and some of the projections gave me goosebumps. The story can be made more interesting. We felt almost the same information was being repeated what we had already read in the museum. The light and sound show should tell some unknown facts as well, which will make it an unmissable experience.
As soon as the show ended, we were picked by hotel vehicle. On the way, we noticed that the whole city was fully decked up like it was a ‘choti Diwali’ night. The roads were smooth like butter and in no time, we reached the hotel.
Had a good stay at Ramada encore By Wyndham Statue of Unity
I am glad that I chose to stay at Ramada Encore, to save myself from a hectic road trip Also, I wanted to soak in the vibes of the area and know more about it. A lot of visitors make it a one day trip, visit SoU, eat dinner at the restaurant and head back to their city of origination. We were back to the hotel by 8:10 in the evening. We walked around, checked-out the swimming pool area, and relished the views of the Narmada river. The lights from the temple on the opposite bank where evening aarti takes place were adding to the whole ambiance. The breeze was smelling of rians and soon it poured. The continuity and intensity was such that later even the final of IPL 2023 at Ahmedabad was cancelled and postponed for the next day.
It was the best night to enjoy the balcony view. The rain was adding to the beauty of the landscape. Later we went to the restaurant to enjoy our dinner. The buffet spread was inviting, especially the dessert, MohanThal, an unmissable Gujarati treat. The staff was very prompt and helped us with everything that we needed. Due to the rains there was no internet. And the only issue we faced in the room was that there was no Airtel network as well. We had to go to the balcony every time.
The bed in the room was one of the most comfortable and we slept happily. Next morning, I woke up to a bright day. The sun was already up and harsh. And the balcony views were already attracting me. The water on the river was glistening and the greenery around was soothing to the eyes. I sipped my morning lemon water at the balcony, while my eyes searched for the local birds and flora/fauna.
In a few hours, we had to pack and leave for Ahmedabad. But before that we indulged in a hearty breakfast. The spread had a good combination of North, South and local delicacies. The staff diligently helped us with piping hot dosas, theplas, omelettes, tea, etc. The restaurant Saffron serves good food during breakfast, lunch and dinner.
With 54 garden and river-facing rooms, the hotel has two restaurants – Sankalp and Saffron, with a gym and a huge lawn with a capacity to accommodate 800 people.
Things to Know
- One must book online tickets beforehand. Also, last minute is not a great idea because you will miss the confirmed seat for the light and sound show.
- The Statue of Unity is open to public from 9 am. The gates remain open till 6 pm every day.
- The Laser Light and Sound Show can be viewed from 7:30 PM onwards daily, except on Mondays. The Statue of Unity is closed on Mondays for maintenance work.
- You must pick some souvenirs from EKTA Mall and SOU Souvenir shop.
- Valley of flowers is full of flowers.
- Children Nutrition Park and Dino Trail is good fun for children.
- Those who have special interest in botany must explore Cactus Garden and Ekta Nursery.
- The property is very strategically located as it is one of the stop points of the SoU free shuttle.
- Hotel Ramada Encore, Statue of Unity by Wyndham, has been awarded the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award 2022 and Best 3-star hotel in other city by Tourism Awards Gujarat 2022.
Do share your experience in the comments below!
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