Hello Friends! Its my pleasure to take you around a virtual tour of Mumbai. Over the next seven days I hope to show you this vast metropolitan city. I hope to show you its nooks and corners, it’s glossy areas and also its slums, its glittering queens necklace of lights and also its shocking street life. I hope to bring Mumbai to you from the perspective of all the five senses. Mumbai is a bursting metropolis and its real estate values are in top seven list worldwide. But it also has a dark, disturbing side to it. Thousands of poor live in abject poverty on the streets with only playing tents for shelter. As we go along we will explore this painful contrast too.
Lets begin our tour with a historical perspective of one of Mumbai’s great monuments – The Gateway of India!
Location: Colaba, South Mumbai
Highlights/Famous For: Indo-Saracenic style of architecture
Nearby Tourist Attractions: Elephanta Caves and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
How to Reach: 2.5 km from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal
and 2.4 km from Churchgate.
The Gateway of India is one of India’s most unique landmarks situated in the city of Mumbai. The colossal structure was constructed in 1924. Located at the tip of Apollo Bunder, the gateway overlooks the Mumbai Harbor, bordered by the Arabian Sea in the Colaba district. The Gateway of India is a monument that marks India’s chief ports and is a major tourist attraction for visitors who arrive in India for the first time. At one point of time, this monument represented the grandeur of the British Raj in India.
The total construction cost of this monument was approximately 21 lakhs and the whole expense was borne by the Indian government. A favourite spot for tourists, nowadays, this monument attracts vendors, food stalls and photographers. The passing of the ‘First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry’ was recorded as the first main event that took place at the Gateway of India. This ceremony was conducted on February 28, 1948, when the last set of British troops and divisions left India, post-independence.
In March 1911, Sir George Sydenham Clarke, who was then the Governor of Bombay, laid down the monument’s first foundation. Although, this plan was approved only in 1914, the reclamations at Apollo Bunder were completed only in 1919. The architectural design of Gateway of India was fashioned by architect, George Wittet. It took 4 years to complete this monument’s construction.
The structural design of the Gateway of India is constituted of a large arch, with a height of 26m. The monument is built in yellow basalt and indissoluble concrete. The structural plan of Gateway of India is designed in the Indo-Saracenic style. One can also find traces of Muslim architectural styles incorporated in the structure of the grandiose edifice.
The central dome of the monument is about 48 feet in diameter, with a total height of 83 feet. Designed with intricate latticework, the 4 turrets are the prominent features of the entire structure of the Gateway of India. There are steps constructed behind the arch of the Gateway that leads to the Arabian Sea. The monument is structured in such a way that one can witness the large expanse of the ‘blue blanket’ right ahead, welcoming and sending off ships and visitors.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
The Elephanta Caves are located very close to the Gateway of India, and tourists can travel on motor boats to reach the Elephanta Islands. Statues of the Maratha leader Shivaji and spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda are installed at the entrance of the Elephanta Caves.
The Taj Mahal Hotel is India’s most prestigious and luxurious hotel and is situated close to the Gateway of India.
People can visit the monument at any time of the day. The best time to visit the Gateway of India is during the period of November to March, as the post-monsoon climate is very pleasant and there are very less chances for downpours at this time.
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Poet Guide: Vinita Agrawal
Source: Mumbai: Gateway of India