The structure, unveiled 143 years after Patel was born, cost 29.8 billion rupees ($403 million), and has proved controversial with locals in Vadodara, Gujarat.
Thousands of police officers were deployed to the area, and have clashed with local protesters, who feel the money could have been better spent elsewhere.
People are also angry that the huge construction project disrupted local people’s lives — 185 families were moved and some have been compensated, although demonstrators have demanded more. Tribal activists with special status who call the area home signed a letter asking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stay away from the inauguration. Modi was present on Wednesday and called the statue “an answer to all those who question the existence of India.”