Built during the British Raj, mainly to commemorate the visit of their majesties King George V and Queen Mary in 1911 ; Gateway of India is rightly termed as Taj Mahal of Mumbai as well. The monument in Mumbai is 16 meters high and was renovated as a landing place for British Governors and other important people. Gateway of India also served as an entry point to India. This is one of the most popular attractions of Mumbai and India; myriad of tourist, vendor and photographers are found around this monument. The popular Elephanta Festival of Music and Dance is celebrated at Gateway of India. The festival’s former venue was in Elephanta Caves but as the amount of visitors increased it had to be shifted to a bigger place.
Why is it named as Gateway of India?
Located at the Apollo Bunder, the Gateway of India in Mumbai is situated on the waterfront at a foothold. The monument acted as an entrance to India for British Viceroys and they came to India through the sea, and hence, the name Gateway of India came into existence.
Who built Gateway of India?
The British architect George Wittet designed the Gateway of India in 1911. After the initial designs, the construction of the monument did not begin for 3 years. In 1914, the foundation was laid by the then Governor of Bombay, Sir George Sydenham Clarke. Gammon India Limited undertook the construction process. The Gateway of India was finished in 1924, and the Viceroy of India did the inauguration.
Design and Architecture of Gateway of India
Gateway of India is built with yellow basalt stones. The design of the monument is an amalgamation of the Gothic, Victorian, Hindu, and Islamic architectural styles, and is also known as the Indo-Saracenic style.
The structure of Gateway of India consists of a 26 meters high arch. These arches are connected with a dome of 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet in height. There are halls on each side of the arches decorated with carved stone screens. The four turrets designed with intricate latticework are prominent features of the edifice. The steps laid out behind the Gateway lead to the Arabian Sea. It is designed in such a way that the visitor can witness the meeting of the blue sea with the sky. The structure is illuminated at night, which makes the whole area alive.
Events at Gateway of India
A major event that takes place at the Gateway of India is the Annual Festival of Sails Regatta. During the event, numerous sailboat races are held. Different programs are designed for kids from 8 to 16 years of age. Sailing is also taught at the annual Regatta.
The landmark of Mumbai gets lit up on different occasions. Fireworks, lasers, and cultural programs are organized during the new year. Also, every year on December 4, a ceremony of Beating Retreat is held to celebrate the Indian Navy Day. The Navy's Western Command performs fantastic drills during the event. A lot of fun and fervor can be observed on the day. Independence Day and many other festivals of India are celebrated here.
Gateway of India Timings
Visitors can come to the monument at 7:00 AM. The Gateway of India closes at 5:00 PM. The perfect time to visit the monument is early morning or late evening to see sunrise and sunset. Visitors can enter the premises free of cost.
Boating at Gateway of India
Gateway of India Short Ride
Tourists can enjoy a boat ride in the sea. A ferry from Gateway of India will take you to the Arabian Sea at a short distance. It is perfect to capture the beautiful views of the sea, Taj Palace Hotel, docks, and harbor. The boat ride begins and ends at Gateway of India.
Timings: Rides start at 9:00 AM
Ticket Fare: INR 70 for 30 minutes.
Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves
Longer boat rides are also available to the Elephanta Caves. They are a group of 7 caves with religious carvings. The boat ride begins from Gateway of India, passes from Elephanta Caves, and returns to the starting point. The scenic beauty of the sea is unparalleled witnessed from a cruise. People hire a luxury cruise to celebrate their special occasions as well.
From Gateway of India - Boating begins at 9:00 AM. Boats leave at 30 minutes of interval. The last boat departs at 2:30 PM.
From Elephanta Caves - First return boat leaves at noon and last departs at 5:30 PM.
Economy boat - INR 120 per adult, INR 85 per child
Luxury boat - INR 150 per adult, INR 100 per child
Note: Boating to Elephanta caves is closed on Monday. During monsoons, all boating services get closed. Only short boat rides are available from Gateway of India.
Places for shopping near Gateway of India
Colaba causeway is the one-stop destination for shoppers in Mumbai. The old colonial vibe of the place attracts a lot of tourists and is perfect for understanding the culture. The charming market in Colaba is famous for clothes, antiques, jewelry, electronics, furniture, perfumes, accessories, and decor. It is a bargainer’s heaven. Get your favorite outfits at throw-away prices.
The Bombay Store
People who wish to shop exquisite artifacts, authentic pashminas, and souvenirs should visit the Bombay Paperie. The store has a wide range of products that reflect India’s freedom struggle.
Interesting Facts about Gateway of India
- The present-day structure was constructed by the Government of India.
- The structure of Gateway of India resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
- The last ship of the Britishers left from the Gateway of India in 1947.
- Gateway of India is close to India’s most luxurious hotel - The Taj Palace.
- The building’s construction finished in 1924, and the cost of completion was about INR 24 lakh.
Where to Eat near Gateway of India
The best way to know about a place is to try its food. If you feel hungry after the tour of Gateway of India, then go for local street food. It is available at every nook and corner of Mumbai. The city is famous for its local chaat, Vada Pav and Misal Pao. Several vendors around the monument offer delicious snacks like Chana Jorgaram. People looking for a fine dining experience can find multiple restaurants and food outlets in Mumbai. Wasabi by Morimoto, Masala Kraft, Souk, Sea Lounge, and Pizza Express are a few places to try.
Where to stay near Gateway of India
There are a lot of accommodation options for people for every kind of budget. People who wish to stay in luxury hotels can visit the Taj Palace or The Oberoi. The Backpacker Panda Colaba is a great option for backpackers and travelers under a budget. There are plenty of accommodation options around the Gateway of India.
Other Places of Interest near Gateway of India
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Formerly known as Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is an art and history museum. The building of this museum was also designed by the architect of Gateway of India, George Wittet. It has collections of Tibetan art, Chinese porcelain, Mughal and Rajput miniatures, and a collection of gorgeous jewelry.
Also known as Banganga Temple, Walkeshwar Temple is situated near Malabar Hill in South Mumbai. People believe that Hindu God Ram passed through this spot on his way to Lanka. He also built a Shiva Lingam out of the sand.
Nehru Science Centre
The building of the National Science Centre houses more than 500 interactive science exhibitions. It is a destination for people who are eager and curious about the world. People can take their kids for some fun learning experience.
Indian Museum Ship (Vikrant)
One of the unique attractions near Gateway of India is the Indian Museum Ship. The ship has fought the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971. It harbors antiques of various battles, arms, and ammunition used by the Army. Tourists can take a ferry from the Gateway of India to reach the museum.
About 26 minutes away from Gateway of India, Nariman Point is a perfect place to relax with your loved ones. It is located at the south of Marine Drive offering fascinating views of the Arabian Sea. One can take long walks, eat at the Seaview restaurants, or enjoy the nightlife of Mumbai in the pubs.