The Gateway of India in MumbaiThe Gateway of India is one of the most important monuments in the city of Mumbai. What Red Fort is for Delhi, Victoria Memorial is for Kolkata, so the Gateway of India is for Mumbai. This marvelously massive structure lies on the seashore in the Apollo Bunder area of South Mumbai. The nearby areas include the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg at the Mumbai Harbour in Colaba district. This massive structure was established by the British Government in order to honour the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai (then Bombay) for the just prior to the December Durbar in Delhi in 1911.
History of Gateway of IndiaOriginally the foundation of the Gateway of India was laid to mark and honour the visit of the then King George V and Queen Mary in India in 1911. They came to attend the Durbar in Delhi in December that year and landed in India through Mumbai (then Bombay). Though the foundation stone was laid on 31st March, 1911 by the then Governor of Bombay Sir George Sydenham Clarke, the King got to see the cardboard model only as the foolproof design of the monument was sanctioned only in 31st March, 1913 and finally the construction was commenced in 1915. The grand design of the Gateway of India was done by the Bombay-based Scottish architecture George Wittet. The foundations of the monument were finished in 1920 and the final construction work was completed in 1924. It was inaugurated by the then Viceroy, the Earl of Reading.
The Structure of Gateway of IndiaThe grand structure of the Gateway of India was built by the yellow coloured Kharodi Basalt stone and reinforced concrete. The stones were available locally where as the perforated screens were obtained from Gwalior. The structure was designed in the Indo-Gothic/Saracenic style. Architect Wittet used the elements of the 16th century Gujarati royal architecture combined with the Roman Triumphal arch to give the Gateway of India it’s impressively massive look.
Both the Hindu and Muslim traditional architectural styles could be seen in this neo-Classical architectural marvel. The central dome of this monument is 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet in height. There are four turrets situated on the four corners of the Gateway. Four halls are also there at the four sides of the gateway each of which has a holding capacity of 600 people. The total cost of the Gateway of India was Rs. 20 lakhs. But with the lack of funds a pre-approached road in front of the gateway was never built.
Important Facts about the Gateway of India:
- The Gateway of India is also known as the ‘Taj Mahal’ of Mumbai.
- The Gateway of India was to be built to commemorate the then the Emperor of India, King George V and Queen Mary’s visit in India in 1911 for the first time and to show them the grandeur and ‘Power and majesty’ of the British Empire. But the plan was not even sanctioned at the time of their visit; so, the King got to see the monument as a cupboard model only.
- There are five jetties at the Gateway of India. But after the heinous terrorist attack in Mumbai on the 26th of November in 2008, the jetties were proposed to be closed and replaced by two new jetties for the security purpose.
- In 2003, a bomb exploded in a taxi standing near the Gateway of India.
- The Gateway of India is the maximum crow-puller destination in Mumbai. This is also the place from where the trip to the Elephanta Caves commences.
The Gateway of India also bed farewell to the last hoard of the British troops on 28th February, 1948 as the First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry passed through the Gateway in a farewell ceremony. This was the end of British rule in India.