Gateway of India: A Monument from the Colonial Times
The Gateway of India is synonymic with Mumbai. The grand arch monument stands guard facing the Arabian Sea at Apollo Bunder, a popular meeting place in Mumbai. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Mumbai and is the starting point for millions of tourists who want to explore the city. With its rich colonial history of over 100 years, the monumental structure stands overlooking the magnificent Arabian Sea, making it a sight to behold. Gateway is the first monument structure to welcome travelers entering the city by the Arabian Sea, it is also popularly known as ‘Taj Mahal of Mumbai’. Be it summer, winter, spring, or monsoon, it is one of the best hangout spots for Mumbaikars and travelers coming to the city. Needless to say, your visit to Mumbai cannot be deemed to be completed without taking a glimpse of this heritage monument, The Gateway of India.
History of Gateway of India
The Gateway of India was constructed in the year 1911 to commemorate the visit of Queen Mary and King George V at Apollo Bundar, Bombay (Mumbai). The architectural design of the magnificent arch monument was designed by George Wittet, who was a Scottish architect and the construction work was carried out by a construction company named Gammon India Limited. On 31 March 1911, Sir George Sydenham Clarke, who was then the Governor of the Bombay Presidency, laid down the foundation stone of the monument. Construction of the monument structure began in 1915 and continued for almost 10 years. The monument was inaugurated on 4th December 1924 by Rufus Daniel Isaacs, who was the then Viceroy of India. The Gateway was later used as a symbolic ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys, new governors of Bombay Presidency, and other high-ranking officials.
Gateway of India Architecture
The Gateway of India is an excellent example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. One can also find a vestige of Muslim architectural styles assimilated in the structure of the magnificent monument. The structure of the monument was built with yellow basalt stones enmeshed with indissoluble concrete at the foundation. The rectangular monument structure comprises of three sections. The central arches of the monument are 85 feet high. The dome at the central block is 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet in height. There are large halls with arches on each side of the arch, which are covered with intricately carved stone screens and can hold 600 people each. The central dome is connected by four turrets and is designed with intricate latticework, which is the most spectacular feature of the structure. There are steps built behind the arch of the Gateway that leads directly into the Arabian Sea.
Gateway of India: A Spectacular View
There’s no doubt that the Gateway of India is one of the top tourist places to visit in Mumbai. Because of the popularity among the tourists the Gateway of India is also called ‘The Taj Mahal of Mumbai’. The arch frame is structured in such a way that one can witness an impressive view of an expanse of the Arabian Sea, hosting millions of visitors. The monument is illuminated after nightfall displays a breathtaking view in combination with the adjacent Taj Mahal Palace. The majestic monument is a must-visit at night, in its pristine glory against the backdrop of the sea.
Facts about Gateway of India
In the past, the Gateway of India used to be the arrival point for British viceroys, governors, and high profile dignitaries from the west. Ironically, it is also the site of the symbolic exit of the British from India. When the British Empire ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph: the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway of India.
– The main objective behind constructing the monument was to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, the construction of Gateway was started only in 1915. A cardboard replica of the Gateway of India was all that King George V and Queen Mary got to see at the time of their visit.
– The structure itself is quite majestic and a hybrid of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
– The magnificent structure was constructed at a cost of ₹ 2 million in 1911. The approach road to the Gateway of India was never built due to a lack of funds.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
- Elephanta Caves, one of the UNESCO
- World Heritage Sites in Mumbai (10 Km)
- Marine Drive (3.2 km)
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ( 3 km)
- Colaba Causeway Market (950 m)
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu
- Sangrahalaya (900 m)
- Jehangir Art Gallery (900 m)
- The Taj Mahal Palace and Hotel (77 m)
- Statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (70 m)
Gateway of India : Visiting Time
Travelers can visit this magnificent monument at any time of the day. The best time to visit is during the months of November to March, as there are very few chances of rain at this time and the post-monsoon weather is very pleasant.
Today this symbol of colonialism has got Indianised, drawing millions of tourists across the globe. It is visited by millions of people across the globe every year and is a very significant figure in the lives of the people of Mumbai, as the Gateway defines the grandeur of the city that is a culmination of both, historic and modern cultural environment. This fabulous landmark of Mumbai is a must-visit of the city.