We visited the majestic Statue of Unity during our car trip to Gujarat in January 2020.
The overall arrangement at the Statue is of course excellent. However, we found that very less information was available about the bus service and parking areas. So we thought we should try to provide some basic but crucial information.
Apart from the statue itself, there are many more places nearby, which are worth visiting. However, private vehicles have restricted access here –
- Restricted Area – You CANNOT drive private vehicles to Sardar Sarovar dam (view point 3, dam view point), Vadgam lake, Tent city Narmada, Godbole gate (very nice!), Statue of unity Tent City-1, Narmada main canal gate. (you can locate all these places on google maps)
- Non-restricted area – You CAN drive your vehicle to the Cactus garden, Valley of flowers, Children’s Nutrition park, Ekta mall. The Cactus garden is located on the other side of the river. On the way you can visit Shoolpaneshwar Mahadev temple.
Our car was parked at the official parking called “Valley of flowers parking” around 1.2 km from the statue entrance. There was another parking called “Helipad parking” very near to statue entrance. But parking was not allowed there. We found that there were two more parking areas – one near Amul Foodland and one near Ekta mall.
Statue Bus Services
We wanted to visit the Sardar sarovar dam and a few nearby areas. Since private cars are not allowed there, we left our car at the ‘valley of flowers parking area’ and started looking for some bus service.
We found that there are 3 types of bus services at the Statue:
1. Free service: Parking to Statue and back –
It took us from our “Valley of flowers Parking” to the Statue entrance. (1.2 km). [I think this bus can take you from any parking site to the statue entrance and back.] This bus is free with the Statue ticket (any ticket – entry/ elevator/ express- does not matter). This bus does not travel on the restricted-area route (Narmada tent city – Godbole gate – etc).
2. Eco tourism circuit bus (no getting off) – Rs 50 per head:
This bus takes a circular route – it travels both inside the restricted area and outside. You cannot get down from this bus. But you can have a beautiful view of the points from inside the bus.
It took us from our ‘valley of flowers’ parking and dropped us back there. We saw Sardar Sarovar dam, Vadgam lake, both tent cities (partial view), Panchmuli lake, Godbole gate (this was beautiful), Narmada main canal gate. ALL from outside only. Then the bus came out of the restricted area. We came to BRG Budget Stay entrance. Then it went to the other side of the river and took us to the Cactus garden, which we saw from outside. And then it dropped us back to our Valley of Flowers parking.
3. Eco tourism circuit bus (hop on – hop off) – Rs 250 per head:
This bus takes the same route as the 50-rs one above. But with this ticket, you can get off the bus at any point and walk around. Then you can catch a similar bus at that point with the same ticket. This ticket is valid for the whole day.
If you want to spend time at the dam view point, panchmuli lake, Godbole gate, narmada canal view, or if you plan to do cycling or river rafting or boating at Khalvani or Zarvani or simply walk along those roads, this bus ticket is useful to you.
Or if you want to spend time at the valley of flowers, children’s nutrition park, cactus garden, etc and don’t have a private vehicle, you can surely take the rs.250 ticket. (Vishva-Van is right next to the statue.)
However if you have limited time and want to just travel along this path, then the Rs 50 bus ticket is good enough. (View of godbole gate and dam is quite good even from this bus.)
- At our parking, statue tickets were also available. But we had booked them online from their official site – www.soutickets.in
- The eco tourism bus tickets (point no 2 and 3 above) were not available at the valley of flowers parking. We had to take the free bus (point no 1) and come to ‘helipad parking’ near the statue entrance. Here we could get both types of eco tourism bus tickets (rs 50 and 250). We chose the first one and got the bus within 15 minutes.
- While going to the statue, the free bus dropped us from Valley of flowers parking to Helipad parking (around 300m from Statue entrance). However, while returning from the statue, we did not have to walk back to the helipad parking. We had to exit through Gate No. 4 at the Statue and wait just outside this gate to catch the required bus – both the free bus and the eco-tourism bus halt here.
(We made the mistake of travelling back and forth once due to lack of this above information!)
- We got very good sandwiches and french fries at Amul Foodland. We could not locate any food court near valley of flowers parking as we were told.
- BRG budget stay is an excellent place to stay, quite close to the statue, at reasonable rates (single person Rs.490 per head – triple sharing rooms for around 1500).
- Cycling and river rafting might be very good. (Check out ‘Khalvani and Zarvani Eco-Tourism’ on Google). We could not try it because of time constraint.
- With an exception of small bad patches, the roads connecting the statue from Ankaleshwar side and from Baroda side are very very good! It is a fantastic drive!
- Elevator arrangement in the Statue is very good, it takes you to the viewing gallery high inside the statue. You can get a view from the front as well as back side of the statue. You can also see the construction inside the statue. However I found nothing special about this view.
(My advice: If there is less crowd and you can easily get the ticket, or if you can book online, think of going. Otherwise it is not that worth. Express ticket may not be worth at all!)
- Even without the elevator ticket, you can go very close to the statue (touching distance). And the escalators and other arrangement here is extremely good.
All in all, the Statue of Unity has totally ‘created’ a multi-crore tourism business. Hats off to our great PM Shri Modiji for this!
The Narmada canal
With the Sardar Sarovar dam, Narmada water is diverted through the Narmada main canal. This canal starts from Statue of unity area. And it goes all the way to Kutchh!
The water is cool, clean and green and beautiful. The Narmada canal is a man-made river!
Due to this, Narmada water is available even at the great white Rann! (Earlier, only well water was available which was very salty and muddy.)
At one place near Modhera Surya Mandir, the Narmada canal crosses a river! We purposely went to see this area. The canal water goes through an underground tunnel below the natural river!
The dam would have stopped the waterflow through the Narmada river. To avoid this, there is a small gate called Godbole gate near statue of unity area. This gate is built in such a way, that some water continuously overflows over it and it is again taken to join the main Narmada River. Due to this, Narmada keeps on flowing! It gets a lot of water in rainy season, when the dam overflows.
This water going back from Godbole gate to Narmada creates a tiny man-made river which flows through small mountains. A scenic place for river rafting!
The Sardar Sarovar dam and, perhaps more so, the Narmada Canal is another great work by Shri Modiji!! My respects for such tremendous work!