A couple of years ago, Gujarat opened one of the biggest touristic getaways ever made in our country – the Statue of Unity! Yes, the world’s tallest Statue – that of the great Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel situated on the banks of the river Narmada opened itself for visitors. But since the Statue of Unity is located in a relatively remote area in Gujarat, to lure Indian and foreign tourists, the tourism ministry went above and beyond. It developed a vast number of tourist attractions near the Statue of Unity.
Thus, today the area is full of attractions that meet the tastes of all types of tourists. In fact, tourists can easily spend 2-3 days in that area to give full justice to all the tourist attractions.
But what should those that only want to spend a day at the Statue of Unity do? Does it make sense to visit the Statue of Unity on a day trip? Which tourist attractions to visit and which ones to avoid when spending just a day at the Statue of Unity? The burning question is essentially – how to spend a day at the Statue of Unity!
A day at the Statue of Unity should ideally be spent visiting the Statue of Unity and its museum during one half of the day and a nearby attraction in the other half of the day. If you can stay at the Statue of Unity a bit longer, you should also watch the light and sound show and check out the Unity Glow Garden at night.
So in this article, I will give you complete information on spending a day at the Statue of Unity, a sample itinerary and lots of useful information that will empower you to plan a perfect day trip to the SoU!
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Statue of Unity: Essential Visitor Information
By road: Statue of Unity is just 2 hours away from Vadodara and 3.5 hours away from Ahmedabad. You can easily plan a day trip from either of these popular Gujarat cities. In fact, I strongly recommend you to add a trip to the Statue of Unity when you visit Gujarat instead of planning a standalone trip to the Statue of Unity.
By train: The closest station to the Statue of Unity is Kevadiya. It is just 5 minutes away from the Statue of Unity.
There are four types of tickets for the Statue of Unity:
Basic SoU Entry Ticket (Rs. 150), SoU Viewing Gallery Ticket (Rs. 380), SoU Express Entry (Rs. 1030) and SoU Foreigner VG (Rs. 1530).
I recommend you to buy the Basic SoU Entry Ticket. To know why I recommend buying this ticket and the inclusions and exclusions of each type of SoU ticket, check out my detailed guide on planning a Statue of Unity trip here. (Don’t worry, it opens in a new tab, and it’s okay if you read it after you are done reading this post!)
Remember that you must book your tickets online or using the app only. (Again, you should check out my post on SoU trip planning to avoid making any basic mistakes)
The Statue of Unity is open on all days except Monday between 8 am and 6 pm. The timings of most of the other attractions are also the same as that of the Statue of Unity.
However, the light and sound show takes place after sunset; therefore, the timings of the show vary depending on the season. i.e. in summers, it takes place a bit later than in winters due to late sunsets.
A day at the Statue of Unity: A Perfect Itinerary
Book the first or the last slot for visiting the SoU.
How you spend your day at the Statue of Unity depends entirely on what slot you book for your visit to the actual Statue and its museum.
If you can reach the SoU area super early (by 7:30 am), book the first slot of the day, i.e. the 8 am to 10 am slot.
If you can’t reach by 7:30 am, book the last slot of the day, i.e. the 4 pm to 6 pm slot.
Let me reiterate, book your tickets online or on the app well in advance. You will disappoint yourself big time if you forget this part. So, let me highlight it once more for those skimming through this post – Book your tickets in advance.
Park your vehicle near the Statue of Unity Ticket Counter
(Approx time: 10 minutes)
Park your vehicle or let your driver park your vehicle in the parking lot close to the ticket counter. The walk from the parking lot to the ticket counter and then from the ticket counter to the bus depot can take up to 10-15 minutes depending on where you get a parking slot, how fast you walk and how much rush there is. Therefore, it is important to factor in this time.
Leave large bags inside the car. Avoid carrying food, water and other prohibited items along. (Baby food carried in a small bag is allowed)
Have a sumptuous breakfast
(Approx time: 30 minutes)
Now that you’ve parked your car or asked your driver to park the car for you don’t rush to the bus stop. Have a hearty breakfast at one of the food joints near the Ticket counter. I recommend you to eat at the Amul Food Plaza. It is usually less crowded, and the food is quite delicious.
Do not skip this step. You are not allowed to carry food inside the SoU Complex and unless you want to see the majestic Statue and the museum underneath the Statue feeling hangry or utterly exhausted, make sure your belly feels wonderfully full before you make your way towards the bus stand.
After your breakfast, climb onto a bus and reach the Statue of Unity complex.
Visit the Statue of Unity
Now it’s time to explore your primary tourist attraction- the Statue of Unity and its museum. Make sure you spend enough time here. Go through the exhibits at the museum as thoroughly as possible. Check out the audio-video footage shown in its mini-theatres. You will love the engaging experience.
Click enough pictures of the Statue of Unity. If you have the time and the energy, take the escalators all the way up to the foot of the Statue and enjoy panoramic views of the River Narmada and the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
This is your time not only to leave yourself awe-inspired by the sheer size of the Statue but also touched by the message of unity that the great Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel strived hard to spread all his life. Do not mindlessly rush through the complex area.
Note for those visiting the Statue at 4 pm: The general instructions concerning the Statue visit also apply to you. It’s just that you will have to visit other attractions before visiting the Statue.
Visit 1-2 nearby tourist attractions
As I stated at the very outset, you need to spend one half of your day visiting the Statue and the other half at a nearby attraction.
But if you visit the official website of the Statue of Unity, you won’t be able to determine which attractions to visit in your limited time in Kevadiya. So let me help you there. I am listing down a few attractions below with brief details about them. In my opinion, these are the best attractions amongst all the attractions in Kevadiya. You can pick 1-2 attractions from the ones listed below, depending on who you visit Kevadiya with.
(Approximate time required: 2 hours)
The Jungle Safari is not a jungle nor a safari. In fact, it is a zoo spread out over a vast land area. Yes, the land area is so vast that you need to use golf carts to commute from one area to another. But even if it is essentially just a zoo, it houses giraffes and zebras that aren’t housed in other Indian zoos. Its Indian aviary is spectacular. Overall, if you are travelling with kids, the Jungle Safari should be a must-visit attraction in your itinerary.
(Approximate time required: 1 hour)
The Pets area is situated right opposite the Jungle Safari and has many pet animals like rabbits, cats, etc. Kids and adults alike can enthral themselves by spending some quality time petting these animals and getting to know them a bit better. Again, a great choice for those travelling with kids.
Children’s Nutrition Park
(Approximate time required: 2 hours)
Children’s Nutrition Park is one of the weirdest yet one of the nicest concept-based parks in India. The park is designed with the primary objective of encouraging young kids to eat healthy food. It hosts a lovely mini-train that’s a hit among young kids. If you want to add an educative angle to your trip or experience a unique tourist attraction, this park deserves your time and attention.
(Approximate time required: 1.5 hours)
The Khalwani Eco-tourism area is situated near the river Narmada. This area is full of lush green grass and plants that bless its visitors with abundant shade. If you want to transport yourself to the woods, you should definitely check out this place.
The area also features a few tents for VVIPs and local tourists and has a lovely indoor restaurant.
(Approximate time required: 1 hour)
Right next to the Khalwani Eco-tourism, on the banks of the river Narmada, you will find the starting point for river rafting. If you are an adventure-lover or want to immerse yourself in the beauty of the gushing river Narmada, don’t miss out on this experience.
I know that you would still be pretty confused about what to pick. So here are my quick recommendations based on whom you are travelling with:
|Those travelling with||Attractions to visit|
|Toddlers and young kids||Jungle Safari+ Pets Zone|
|Older kids||Children’s Nutrition Park|
|a partner, friends or adult family members||Khalwani Eco-Tourism + River Rafting|
Watch the light and sound show
After you are done spending the day out exploring the Statue and nearby attractions, it’s time for you to end your day with the spectacular light and sound show. The show can be watched from the SoU complex or the helipad. But what you must remember is that while buying the SoU ticket, you must select ‘Projection Mapping’ (the official name for the light and sound show).
This is your official ticket to attend the light and sound show. It doesn’t cost any extra amount, but if you don’t select it while booking your ticket, you can’t purchase the ticket for it later, and you won’t be able to witness the majestic light and sound show.
As I said earlier, the show’s timing depends largely on the season in which you visit the SoU. In summers, when the sun sets later, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for the show to start. The show goes on for about 25 enthralling minutes. Keep your cameras ready because the entire area glows in the lights of this show.
Visit the Glow Garden
(Approx. time required: 30-60 mins)
The show ends at around 8.00-8.30 pm depending on the season in which you visit the Statue of Unity. But if you can manage to give yourself an extra hour in Kevadiya, visiting the Glow Garden will feel well worth your time. This garden is one of a kind. It contains many statues or figures of animals, birds, plants and more that illuminate and glow in different colours. The garden opens at 8 pm, so you will only be able to visit it after the Light and Sound show. Kids, especially toddlers and babies, can’t get enough of this wonderfully lit theme park.
After you have clicked pictures of the beautiful glowing night in Kevadiya, it’s time to bid adieu to the world of the Statue of Unity and commence your return journey with a promise to visit the place again for a slightly longer vacation.
Useful Insights for your day at the Statue of Unity
Alrighty! So that was your jam-packed one-day Statue of Unity itinerary. But just a one-day itinerary is not enough to guide you through the day. To make the most of your day trip to the Statue of Unity, you need a few more insights. So here they are:
Food at the Statue of Unity
There are a few restaurants near the Ticket counter. In addition to this, there is a lovely food court inside the Statue of Unity complex as well. All the other attractions have a small cafeteria or an in-house restaurant. But if you are on a day trip, it is best to eat a hearty breakfast and then treat yourself to delightful snacks along the way and at nearby attractions.
Internal commute at the Statue of Unity
I have to admit that I wasn’t pleased with the whole concept of exclusively using the SoU shuttle services to visit nearby attractions. Using the shuttles involves waiting in long queues or, at times, just standing amidst large disorganized crowds trying to cram ourselves inside a bus. The shuttles easily eat up 1-1.5 hours of your total travel time and prove extremely tiring. So brace yourself for the commute and plan your attractions accordingly.
Facilities for those travelling with kids and senior citizens
The area has several cafes, restaurants and washrooms. The SoU complex is also wheelchair accessible. But the compulsion to use internal shuttles is a huge pain point for those travelling with babies, toddlers and senior citizens. Waiting in queues can easily irritate impatient toddlers. Those with babies will find it hard to stand in long queues waiting for the bus. Senior citizens may also find it hard to get inside buses where the crowds are not organized and may eventually lose interest. But the only way of moving past this inconvenience is by preparing yourself for it:
- Either plan on a longer visit to the Statue of Unity so that if you get tired, you can always head back to your hotel or tent and rest it out or
- Avoid visiting nearby attractions and only visit the Statue of Unity. For this, it will be ideal to book an evening 4-6 pm slot, watch the light and sound show and head back.
So there you go! I have shared all the information I had on visiting the Statue of Unity in 1 day. I hope you find it useful. Let me know which attractions you visited on your day out at the Statue of Unity, and if you have any more tips and insights for us, please share them in the comments below.
Suggested Additional Resources:
Also, check out our posts on other Indian destinations here
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