After the Statue of Unity of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel built in the tribal-dominated Narmada district, another tribal-dominated district of Tapi will get an 81-foot Shiva statue one foot short of another Shiva statute, which is the state’s tallest statue in Dwarka.
The statue is expected to cost around Rs 1 crore. Digvijaysinh Valvi, a tribal community member who runs an NGO, Nisarg Foundation, says the cost will be borne by his NGO. The statue, being built at Nasarpur village of Nizar taluka will be thrown open to public in the next couple of months, he said. Son of retired police inspector Pruthvisinh Valvi, Digvijaysinh (39), said, “Our village has a population of 700 people and all are tribal Hindus. In Tapi district, there are no big temples so I decided to do something big… A 21-foot Nandi statue is also getting ready and the entire project will be completed in the next couple of months.”
The land on which the statue is being built is owned by Pruthvisinh Valvi. Work on the concrete structure began one-and-a-half years ago and uses nearly one tonne of iron, said Digvijaysinh, who dropped out of an engineering degree course and runs a petrol pump at Sagbara in Nizar taluka.
He said he was inspired by a Shiva statue he saw in Manjalpur area on one of his travels to Vadodara, and decided to build a similar one.
Tapi district has a sizeable number of Christians in talukas such as Songadh, Vyara, Dolvan and Uchhal. The numbers are fewer in Nizar, Valod and Kukarmunda talukas. There are over 500 churches and prayer halls in the district that shares a border with Maharashtra, adjoining Dang district, which also has a large number of Christians who are mostly converted Hindus.