The 597-ft tall ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat and Mumbai’s Soho House have been featured by the Time magazine in its second annual list of the 2019 World’s greatest places, a compilation of 100 new and newly “noteworthy destinations to experience right now”.
The ‘Statue of Unity’, the world’s tallest statue, is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India’s first home minister as well as deputy prime minister. One of the prominent leaders of the Indian freedom movement, Patel, who is popularly known as the ‘Iron man of India’, was responsible for the integration of several princely states into modern India.
Standing tall at 597 ft on an island in the Narmada River, the statue towers over the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, “offering visitors the chance to see views of nearby mountain ranges from its chest”.
“The tourist attraction pays homage to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who became India’s first Deputy Prime Minister in 1947,” the Time said.
According to the website of the ‘Statue of Unity’, the structure is aimed to inspire generations and showcases Patel’s vision on unity, patriotism, inclusive growth and good governance. Till now 2.06 million people have visited the statue, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31, 2018.
Mumbai’s chic Soho House is located in an 11-storey building overlooking the Arabian Sea. It houses a library, a cinema with 34 seats and a rooftop bar and pool.
“The unique feel comes in the shape of block-printed fabrics from Rajasthan; handwoven cane furniture; environmentally sustainable, sari-coated lampshades; and some 200 art pieces by mostly South Asian artists,” Time said.
Soho House Mumbai is Asia’s first Soho House that puts a local spin on the “formula that has allowed Nick Jones’ members-only clubs to blossom across the US and Europe”.
The Time list also includes Zakouma National Park in Chad, Red Sea Mountain Trail in Egypt, Newseum in Washington, The Shed in New York City, the Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths in Iceland, Six Senses Hotel in Bhutan that offer guests the opportunity to take guided journeys through the mountains of the Himalayan kingdom, Leopard Hill in Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya and the Pohoiki in Isaac Hale Beach Park in Hawaii.
In deciding on which place to feature in the list, Time said it solicited nominations across a variety of categories — including museums, parks, restaurants, and hotels — from its editors and correspondents around the world as well as industry experts.
It then evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, sustainability, innovation and influence.
“How does one measure the greatness of a place — in miles covered, dollars spent, or visitors captivated? Such metrics can play a part, but also important is something that many travellers aspire to experience: the sense that one has stumbled upon the extraordinary,” the Time said.