Home Daily Blitz If a Giant Statue Rises in the Indian Jungle…

If a Giant Statue Rises in the Indian Jungle…


wsj articleThe following is an excerpt from GABRIELE PARUSSINI | October 13, 2015 | WSJ.com |

BARODA, India—When the ancient inhabitants of the Greek island of Rhodes built the Colossus, their giant tribute to the sun god Helios, they started a long-lasting trend. More than 2,000 years later, Asia is dotted with towering Buddhas; massive statues of Jesus stand in Poland, Colombia and Brazil.

But a huge new monument set to rise on a rocky island in a river surrounded by jungle in western India will dwarf them all. When the planned 590-foot-high tribute is done, it will stand roughly twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The subject of this soaring veneration: the late Indian independence leader Vallabhbhai Patel.

Elevators will whisk up to 10,000 visitors a day to an observation deck in the statue’s chest, builders say. There are also plans for what local leaders call “icon-based development”—including helipads, research facilities for fish farming and educational institutions.

The project, designers say, would be bigger than the 502-foot-tall Zhongyuan Buddha in Henan, China—now the world’s tallest statue—which is part of a tourism complex that includes a spa and golf course. It would also outstrip a 394-foot-tall Buddha in Japan.

By comparison, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, including its pedestal, stands about 130 feet tall, as does a similar-sized monument to Genghis Khan in Mongolia.

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