The Gateway of India is one of the distinguishing landmarks of Mumbai. Set at the tip of the reclaimed land of the Apollo Bunder, it adjoins the Mumbai Harbour and the Arabian Sea in the Colaba area of the city. The Gateway of India is a monument built during the British Raj in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. Located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai, overlooking the Arabian Sea. The gateway is a basalt arch, 26 metres (85 feet) high. It lies at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg at the water’s edge in the harbor of Bombay. It used to be a crude jetty used by the fishing community which was later renovated and used as a landing place for British governors and other prominent people. In earlier times, the gateway was the monument that visitors arriving by boat would have first seen in Mumbai. The gateway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai, and is the city’s top tourist attraction.
The monument was erected to commemorate the landing on the Apollo Bunder of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary when they visited India in 1911. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the foundation stone for the Gateway of India was laid on 31 March 1911. The final design of George Wittet was sanctioned in 1914 and the construction of the monument was completed in 1924. The gateway was latterly the ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay. It served as allow entry and access to India.
The monument has been a target of three terror attacks from the beginning of the 21st century; twice in 2003 and it was also the disembarkation point in 2008 when four gunmen attacked the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower.
The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911. However, they only got to see only a cardboard model of the structure since the construction did not begin till 1915. The foundation stone was laid on 31 March 1911, by the Governor of Bombay Sir George Sydenham Clarke, with the final design of George Wittet sanctioned on 31 March 1913. The gateway was built from yellow basalt and concrete.Between 1915 and 1919, work proceeded on reclamations at Apollo Bundar (Port) for the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920, and construction was finished in 1924. The gateway was opened on 4 December 1924, by the Viceroy, the Earl of Reading.
The last British troops to leave India following India’s independence, the first Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the gateway on their way out in a ceremony on 28 February 1948.
Design and structure
The architect combined the elements of the Roman triumphal arch and the 16th century architecture of Gujarat. Its design is a combination of both Hindu and Muslim architectural styles, the arch is in Muslim style while the decorations are in Hindu style. The gateway is built from yellow basalt and reinforced concrete. The stone was locally obtained, and the perforated screens were brought from Gwalior.The gateway faces out to Mumbai Harbour from the tip of Apollo Bunder.
The central dome is 48 feet (15 metres) in diameter and 83 feet (25 metres) above the ground at its highest point. The whole harbour front was realigned in order to come in line with a planned esplanade which would sweep down to the centre of the town. On each side of the arch, there are large halls that can hold six hundred people. The cost of the construction was 21 lakhs (2,100,000), borne mainly by the Government of India. For lack of funds, the approach road was never built, and so the gateway stands at an angle to the road leading up to it. Gammon India claims that it did India’s first pre-cast reinforced concrete job for the foundation of the Gateway of India.