Goa, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar, Matheran and Saputara are now passé as India has now got a new tourist attraction in the form of the Statue of Unity, the world's tallest statue which is located 420 kilometres away from Mumbai in Kevadiya, Narmada district, Gujarat. Kevadiya is no longer a small place in a remote area in Gujarat. It has now emerged as one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. More than 50 lakh visitors have come to see the Statue of Unity after it was dedicated to the nation.
As of February 2, more than 3,000 passengers from Mumbai have travelled to Kevadiya since the train started on January 17.
On January 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a new station building in Kevadiya which is the first green station. He also flagged off eight special trains leaving Kevadiya from Varanasi, Dadar, Ahmedabad, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Rewa, Chennai and Pratapnagar.
The Statue of Unity —dedicated to Sardar Vallabhai Patel— is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres. Besides the Sardar Sarovar Dam and the Zarwani waterfalls, several tourist attractions have been built in the seven kilometre area around the statue, such as valley of flowers, the cactus garden, dinosaur park, the jungle safari, tribal museum, Ekta cruise and India’s first commercial seaplane service.
Out of the eight trains, the Janshatabdi Express from Ahmedabad has a Vistadome coach, which is gaining a lot of attention. Sumit Thakur, chief public relation officer, Western Railway said the Vistadome coach in the Janshatabdi Express has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is for the first time that the Vistadome coach has been made on the Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) platform, made for passenger coaches for trains in India.
“Some of the features of the Vistadome coach are an observation lounge with a large window for passengers to experience the scenic route to Kevadia. The 44 recliners with 180 degree rotatable seats ensure people can enjoy the view from both windows to their right and left. There are automatic sliding doors at both gates of the coach. Glass rooftops offer a panoramic view and there are five large windows on each side,” he said.
Equipped with modern facilities
Kevadia station, located just five kilometres from the 'Statue of Unity, is being equipped for the convenience of tourism. Modern facilities have been made available at the station for all children, old and young people with disabilities. Moreover, in front of the station, there is a Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabhai Patel, which is 12 meters tall and built by the same sculptor Ram Sutar. Passengers can also get a panoramic view of the Statue of Unity from the viewing gallery built at the station. “Rail connectivity to Kevadia station has become available for travellers and tourists coming from different parts of the country to visit important places. Moreover, it will not only boost the economy, but also create new tourism and employment opportunities in Kevadia and its surrounding areas,” said Thakur.