Shiva Statue at Nathdwara, Rajasthan

How Shapoorji Pallonji E&C applied its engineering genius to create an awe-inspiring statue

Subodh C Dixit, Executive Director, Shapoorji Pallonji E&C
Subodh C Dixit, Executive Director, Shapoorji Pallonji E&C
Nathdwara near Udaipur in Rajasthan is famous for the Shrinathji Temple. This holy town now boasts a 351 feet (107m) tall statue of the trident-wielding, stoic, and compassionate Lord Shiva - the largest Shiva statue in the world and amongst the five largest statues in the world. With the recent completion of its construction, devotees now have yet another reason to visit Nathdwara.

Envisioning the Statue
The Shiva Statue, also known as the ‘Statue of Belief’, was envisioned by Madan Paliwal, Chairman of Miraj Group, Udaipur. He conceptualised a giant statue of Lord Shiva built on Ganesh Tekri, a hillock in Nathdwara. His vision also included putting Nathdwara on the tourist map of the world. The concept was further developed by renowned studio Maturam Art that designed the 351 feet high statue, while the structural design was rendered by Skeleton Consultants. The construction contract for the statue and other amenities in the complex was awarded to Shapoorji Pallonji E&C, and the work started in early 2016.

Design Attractions
The Shiva Statue (seated over a pedestal that resembles a hillock), is designed as a three-layered structure. The innermost layer comprises of four RCC core walls that rise from the base of the hillock and form the structural core of the statue. The second layer is a structural steel framework. The third layer is a concrete shell built using ultra high-performance concrete and moulded to the statue’s profile. All three layers are structurally connected. The statue has been designed to have all the details, expressions, features, and emotions of Shiva cast in shell concrete. The surface of the statue has been coated with zinc and finished with copper to increase its longevity, with a lifespan of 250 years. It can withstand wind speeds up to 250 kmph and earthquakes of Zone IV intensity, even though Nathdwara is in Zone II.

Facilities within the project include a Meditation Room, Visitors’ Room, Administration Office, and a VIP Lounge. The hollow space within the shell skin has slabs at various levels to enable horizontal and vertical access inside the statue. Two viewing galleries have been provided at 270 ft and 280 ft levels.

Based on a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study of the statue, the required number of ventilators and shafts have been provided for natural ventilation, and LED lighting inside the Statue and in the allied buildings, to reduce power consumption.

A water jet at the apex of the Statue represents the Holy River Ganga, flowing from Shiva’s Jata (matted hair). A 25-ft high Nandi Statue (the celestial bull and vehicle of Lord Shiva) has been built facing Shiva, beholding his divine form with reverence and love.

Nandi Statue at Nathdwara, RajasthanThe 25 feet high Nandi Statue (Nandi - the celestial bull, the vehicle of Lord Shiva) has been built facing Shiva, beholding his divine form in reverence and love.

The area surrounding the Statue includes facilities for parking, pavements, a water body, bridge, landscaping, an amphitheatre, food court, handicraft shops, and an amusement park for children.

Construction Methodology
The SP E&C team that had built many buildings and factories in the past was confounded with the challenge of creating this one-of-a-kind statue. Unlike modern day statues that are generally built using profiled metal claddings or with metal pieces assembled together, the Shiva Statue was built using monolithic concrete moulded to get the required features. Owing to the organic form and shape of the proposed construction, the engineering skills, and the conventional methods of construction (which are more suitable for geometric designs and structures), were useful - but only to a certain degree. Hence, a customised and flexible approach was adopted for the construction.

Nandi Statue at Nathdwara, RajasthanThe 351 feet tall Statue is built using RCC corewalls, structural steel framework and an outer monolithic shell of ultra high-performance concrete.
Considering the risks in constructing such a tall structure, SP E&C set up the site infrastructure and temporary facilities to enable a safe working environment for the employees and construction workers. In addition, a dedicated team of HSE personnel from SP managed and monitored the company’s HSE programs and initiatives to ensure compliance. SP also encouraged the workers to improve their working environment as a safeguard against accidents.

The four RCC cores that rise from the base of the hillock, together accommodate three stairwells and four elevators to access the floors. Shiva’s trident is built using an RCC core wall from the base of the hillock and is free standing from the top of the hillock. All the RCC cores were built using dedicated slipform moulds. The heights of the four RCC cores inside the statue vary, with the tallest being 340 ft. The trident head is fabricated from structural steel framework covered with a 10-mm thick cover plate to the required profile.

The hillock is built with 300-mm thick RCC peripheral walls, while the skin of the statue is built using 200-mm thick RCC walls. The exterior surface of the hillock was finished to resemble a snow-clad mountain.

Single use FRP moulds were specially designed and made by the sculptor to obtain the required exterior profile and features of the statue. The inner profile was obtained by using custom-made plywood moulds to suit the profile. The construction involved 2,650 MT structural steel fabrication and erection; 2,700 MT of reinforcement steel; and 8,500 Cum of ultra-high-performance self-compacting concrete.

Initially, two tower cranes were provided. Once the hillock was built, only one tower crane was retained for the statue portion. The peak labour strength was 1,000. Post erection, the structural steel was painted with epoxy paint and vermiculite coating was applied for fireproofing.

The most difficult portion to construct was the folded left leg which is 60-ft cantilever from the thigh portion to the knee and resting on the other thigh which is of 60 ft unsupported length. The entire portion was temporarily supported over a sturdy scaffold frame till the concrete attained its strength. The concreting of the right arm resting on the left leg was equally challenging. It was cast from the left leg portion moving in upwards and then joining the shoulder. The structural framing comprising of various elements was carefully assembled by means of the tower crane prior to the final welding. Most of the work was carried out in during the daylight hours owing to the safety risks associated with structural steel erection and working at heights.

After completion of the structural works, the metallizing work was taken up. The surface of the statue was cleaned, sand blasted and then sprayed with liquified 99.9% pure zinc with the help of a metallizing machine to form a protective coating. The entire surface was then finished with a coating of copper. These works were executed by a specialist agency.

Shiva Statue at Nathdwara, RajasthanThe collage shows the various stages of construction of the Shiva statue

Focus on Quality Control
Ultra-high-performance self-compacting concrete of M-50 grade was used for the Lord Shiva Statue and Nandi. The concrete mix was designed using locally available good-quality coarse aggregate and fine aggregate with Alccofine-1203 as pozzolanic material and performance enhancer for meeting the durability parameters.

Concrete mix-designs were finalized locally with guidance from subject experts of Rajasthan Technical University, Kota. The sources of concrete ingredients were carefully selected to ensure uniform properties throughout the project lifecycle and to ensure high durability throughout the design life of the structure. The concrete mix for the skin of the statue was designed as ultra-high performance self-compacting concrete taking into consideration the durability parameters along with the requirements of SCC viz., low yield stress, high deformability, good segregation resistance and moderate viscosity.

All the lab tests for ingredients and the concrete mix were conducted in a well-equipped quality control laboratory established at the project site. All grades of concrete were produced under controlled conditions from an on-site batching plant.

The thickness of skin concrete is 300-mm with double layered corrosion-resistant steel. Concrete in formwork was poured through funnels from four designated locations to enable the concrete to flow in either directions in the formwork. Concreting height was restricted to 1-m in the entire perimeter of the statue per day to ensure formwork safety for lateral concrete pressures. Special precautions were taken for concreting during hot weather conditions to prevent formation of thermal and shrinkage cracks in concrete. Proper curing of skin concrete was carried out for a period of 28 days by frequent sprinkling of water to keep the concrete surface moist. The curing for the core walls was done through sprinklers installed in a slip form set-up.

As important as it was to pay attention to the concrete ingredients and the mix design, the quality control while achieving the dimensional accuracies, proportions, profile, features, and expressions of the statue, deserved equal attention and care. The task was pretty challenging considering the organic form of the construction. The final result is a testimony to the SP E&C team’s ability to manage complexity and attention to detail.

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).

Safety Measures
The organic form of the statue coupled with the high-rise nature of this construction posed many challenges during construction. The workers had to execute many high-risk activities in hot weather and high wind speeds at scaffold heights of up to 370 feet.

Shapoorji Pallonji had prioritised hygiene, health and safety of the construction crew and workmen at the site. In addition, the company’s construction management team had established a robust HSSE monitoring system and the right work processes to ensure that the standards were adhered to on a continual basis. Moreover, the senior management was committed to provide the necessary support for successful completion of this prestigious project.

The safety measures at the construction site added to the smooth progress of the construction work and motivated the construction crew towards successful completion of the project. The hard work of the project team has been recognised by the National Safety Council of India and the Construction Industry Development Council. The project won the NSCI safety awards in 2017, 2018 and in 2019, and the CIDC Vishwakarma Award in 2018.

Despite several technical challenges, the Shapoorji Pallonji E&C team successfully delivered the Shiva Statue project along with the amenities in June 2020. It was indeed an enlightening and uplifting experience for the project team, which had developed a strong collaborative relationship with the client’s team to realize the project’s completion.

Says Rajesh Mehta, Managing Director, Miraj Developers, “This Statue of Belief is symbolic of the firm belief our Chairman has in the infinite power of the universe. The monumental scale of the Shiva Statue made it a unique and challenging project. The highly committed Shapoorji Pallonji team has transformed the grand vision of the Miraj Group into a concrete reality.”

The Shiva Statue is an awe-inspiring marvel in the holy town of Nathdwara and a symbol of India’s engineering prowess. The Statue will be unveiled formally to the general public very soon and is expected to draw large crowds of pilgrims.
Incorporating Laser Tech for Creation of Heavy-Duty Warehouse Flooring
India is fast becoming a digital economy with smartphones and the internet reaching even the most remote areas. There is a boom in online shopping, which is driving the need for upscaling the logistics industry and increasing the need

Read more ...

Tackling Challenging Strata in Building Sardar Sarovar Dam One of the Largest Dams in the World
Deep Foundations Institute of India (DFI of India) held a webinar under its Groundwork program on “Foundation Treatment for Concrete Gravity Dam: A Case Study of Sardar Sarovar Dam” on 18 January 2022. It covered topics like

Read more ...

CONTAKT Smart Solution for Planning, Monitoring and Documentation
With the sensor-based CONTAKT construction site software, Doka offers a digital solution that brings the construction project planned in BIM to life on the construction site. The new Fröschl office building is an

Read more ...

Exposed Reckli Finish Retaining Wall
The Reckli Finish Exposed Retaining Wall at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, using a 9m high Exposed Retaining Wall with a textured finish, and outer face using Formliner Formwork (known as Reckli), has grabbed the eyes of the world. Besides

Read more ...

Delhi Metro Terminal 1 IGI Airport Terminal
One of the great benefits of Delhi Metro Phase 3 is that the domestic terminals of the Indira Gandhi Intl’ Airport have got Metro connectivity - a boon to the city’s domestic air passengers. While the Airport Express Link provides

Read more ...

Simulating oversize and heavy vehicle manoeuvres using AutoTURN® from Transoft Solutions
Narrow mountain roads, steep hills and challenging ‘S’ curves are just part of the landscape in the ‘toe’ of Southern Italy, where wind farms are becoming a common part of the countryside. With green technology like wind

Read more ...

Atlas Copco XA316 and XAT266 portable air compressors for Mumbai underground metro line
Atlas Copco portable air compressors have been deployed for the first underground metro line in Mumbai, and they are not just under the supervision of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) but also under

Read more ...

Cranes in Full Force at - India's Major Road Project
The 135-km, 11,000 crores Eastern Peripheral Expressway-2 which was inaugurated recently by the Prime Minister, connects towns of UP and Haryana and act as an outer ring road for the capital. It is the country's

Read more ...

Indira Paryavaran Bhawan - First On-site Zero Net Energy Building of India
A zero-energy or a net zero building is a building with zero net energy consumption from outside source, which means that the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is almost equal to

Read more ...

Making of a Green Data Centre
Data centres make up 3% of global energy consumption. The main reason behind data centres being major energy guzzlers is the IT processing power, which has increased substantially to meet the growing

Read more ...

Apollo ValueTec Plant Gives Competitive Edge to Rana Builders
Dhaka-based Rana Builders (Pvt.) Ltd. specialises in construction of roads, bridges and buildings. When purchasing a new asphalt-mixing plant, it wanted a product that would help meet its objective of on-time delivery

Read more ...

BHAI concrete batch mix plant working at Asia’s largest waste-water treatment plant
Delhi Jal Board is setting up a 318 MLD (70 MGD) wastewater treatment plant at GT Karnal Road on the outskirts of Delhi. The ₹414.78 crore project, said to be the largest in Asia, is being constructed by EPC contractor-Larsen & Toubro

Read more ...

The Fast Lane to Growth
When the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) last widened the Vijayawada-Chilakaluripet Highway in the early 2000s, the country was at the beginning of its exponential economic growth. Since then, the nation’s GDP

Read more ...

Sany cranes deployed at Suzlon India's wind power project
Project developers are deploying new cranes and advanced transportation to enable faster and safer completion of their projects. Suzlon India's wind power project at Agar in Madhya Pradesh, is one such site

Read more ...

Insitu Investigation of Cinder Mound For Building Construction - A Case Study
Cinder is a waste generated as coal residues from the blast furnace of thermal power plant. It was accumulated over a long periods near railway station, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India. This dumping

Read more ...

SoilTech Mk. III - 3rd Generation nano-polymer stabilization
Golfshire is a super-premium residential project in Bangalore, comprising luxury villas, a 18-hole PGA standard golf course, a large convention centre with seating capacity of 5000, and a 5-star hotel. The project is

Read more ...

Especially Designed Rope Suspended Platform for Dam & Silo Projects
New Age Construction Equipment Engineering Company is one of the leading manufacturers of construction equipment like Rope Suspended Working Platforms (Gondolas/ Cradles), Bar Bending Machines

Read more ...

New Age Offers Customized Solutions with Higher Productivity & Safety
As a leading manufacturer of construction equipment, we believe in superior performance, higher productivity & safety, faster execution and timely completion of projects,” says Mr. Jayesh Vadukiya

Read more ...

Rehabilitation of National Highway at Tripura-Assam
The National Highway NH-44 is a major road artery for the North-East. The stretch of this highway leading to the border of Assam and Tripura (two states in the north-east of India), is the only land-link between

Read more ...