The 369-foot-tall Viswas Swaroopam statue of Lord Shiva at Ganesh Tekri in Nathdwara, nearly 45 km from Udaipur city famous for the Shrinathji Temple in Rajasthan, is today the tallest Shiva statue in the world. Till now 143 feet high Kailashnath Mahadev Statue in Nepal and the 123-metre-high Marudeshwara Statue, 500 km away from Bangalore in Karnataka used to compete with each other to rank among the tallest Shiva statues in the world.
The Viswas Swaroopam statue also known as the statue of belief is made out of 2,500 tonnes of refined steel and depicts Lord Shiva in a seated position with crossed legs — holding a Trishul in his hand. The statue appears to be in a meditative posture. It is coated with zinc and painted with copper to protect it from rain and sunlight.
Some of the other distinctive features of the statue are:
- It is one of the five tallest Shiva statues in the world including Kailashnath Mahadev Temple, Nepal – 143 meters, Marudeshwara Temple, Karnataka – 123 metres, Adiyoga Temple, Tamil Nadu – 112 metres, and Mangal Mahadev, Mauritius – 108 metres
- It is built over a 51-bigha area on a hilltop
- It is said to be visible from as far as 20 km away even at night due to special lighting arrangements
- It took 10 years to construct the statue which is among the tallest Hindu statues in the World
- It is made out of over 3,000 tons of steel, iron and sand as well as 2.5 lakh cubic tonnes of concrete
- The statue has been designed to last at least 250 years and can withstand wind speeds up to 250 km and earthquakes of Zone IV intensity, even though Nathdwara is in Zone II
- The only one of its kind structure in the world has 4 lifts and 3 stairs which can be used to reach the top and halls which can accommodate up to 10,000 people at a time
- The complex spread over 16-acre includes a 25 feet tall and 37 feet long statue of Nandi (the celestial bull and vehicle of Lord Shiva) facing Lord Shiva
- The venue around the statue will have facilities like bungee jumping, zip line, Go-Kart, food court, adventure park, amphitheatre, and amusement park for children
- A musical fountain and platform have been provided to enable people to take selfies
- The complex includes a meditation room, a visitors’ room, an administration office, and a VIP lounge.
The ‘Statue of Belief’ was conceived by Madan Paliwal, Chairman, Miraj Group, Udaipur. The concept was further developed by Studio Maturam Art designed the statue, which was built by Shapoorji Pallonji. The structural design was provided by Skeleton Consultants. The Wind tunnel test of the design was done in Australia and work began in early 2016.
The structure consists of reinforced cement concrete walls surrounded by a structural steel framework and moulded ultra-high-performance concrete exterior. The outer surface was sprayed with liquefied zinc, and then coated with copper
The project has received many awards such as Excellence in Concrete Structures by the American Concrete Institute, Outstanding Structure by the Indian Concrete Institute, and the Golden Peacock National Quality Award from the Institute of Directors (2020).