Gateway of India
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The Grand Gateway of India in Mumbai

Some places are etched in your memory, heart and soul forever!

The Grand Gateway of India

The Grand Gateway of India

The Gateway of India in Mumbai – on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area of South Mumbai overlooking the Arabian Sea is one such place for me. It has memories that will last a lifetime and more. My love for monuments and grandiose structures is not a hidden story at all. But I will come to the history of the structure in a while. First let me talk about the reason why that place holds so much meaning for me.

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The Arch of Gateway of India

The Arch of Gateway of India

What Gateway of India means to me

When we were kids and there were hardly any places to go to as a family, the Gateway was one of our saviors. And what a savior it was! My father used to take us there for a walk around the monument and a boat-ride. There were steamboats and motor boats that took us out into the sea and they operate even now. It was a fascinating thing to do. The steamboat would take you on a half an hour long boat ride on the sea. I guess my love for water really started then. I was always a water baby, what with being born in a city like Mumbai, surrounded by water everywhere. But the boat rides were what made me love the ocean because they gave me a sense of life and how beautiful it is. The calmness, tranquility and serenity (perhaps they all mean the same thing, but I am just trying to emphasize on it) that those boat rides got me were out of this world!

The boat used to be very crowded and I always preferred to be on the open upper deck, literally hanging on to the railing there. But the crowds and the noise meant nothing, nor made any difference to me. Because in my mind I was always alone, enjoying the water, the waves and the soothing feeling that it brought me. I can’t really describe my feelings. Some things I guess are better left unsaid. Sometimes, some elements give so much joy and pleasure that the feeling is best left as is.

I remember whenever dad used to be in the mood to take us out, which most probably happened on the weekends, I would jump at the idea of going for a boat ride at the Gateway. That also helped us all connect in many ways as a family. There were times when we also clicked pictures, but I guess all those pictures are left behind in my home in Mumbai. What I am carrying with me and in the deepest and happiest corner of my heart is the memory of that lovely place.

When I got married, I was ecstatic about showing off the Gateway of India to my husband He is a Delhi-ite and had obviously seen India Gate. But then is there any comparison at all? The Delhi-Mumbai war can go on. But since both of us were in India and in Mumbai, we took a BEST bus (public bus in Mumbai) to the Gateway. It was a beautiful and romantic evening and yes, I do have photos of that evening.

Desh and I at the Gateway

Desh and I at the Gateway

History of Gateway of India

Synonymous with Mumbai, the Gateway of India is an 85 feet high yellow basalt and indissoluble concrete arch at the water’s edge in the Mumbai Harbour. This monument was built during the British rule in India, to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary in Mumbai. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the foundation stone for the Gateway of India was laid on 31 March 1911, by Sir George Sydenham Clarke, who was then the Governor of Bombay (now Mumbai). The architectural design of Gateway of India was fashioned by the British architect, George Wittet. Although, the final plan was approved only in 1914, the reclamations at Apollo Bunder were completed only in 1919.

Commemoration of the Gateway of India

Commemoration of the Gateway of India

One can also find traces of Gujarati and Muslim architectural styles incorporated in the structure of the grandiose edifice. The central dome of the monument is about 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet in height. Designed with intricate latticework, the 4 turrets are the prominent features of the entire structure of the Gateway of India.

Inside arch of the Gateway

Inside arch of the Gateway

The structure itself is quite majestic and a hybrid of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, if you take a closer look. There are steps constructed behind the arch of the Gateway that lead to the Arabian Sea. The monument is structured in such a beautiful way that one can witness the large expanse of the ‘blue blanket’ right ahead, welcoming and sending off ships and visitors. Initially, it used to be a crude jetty that was used by the fishing community and then later it was renovated and used as a ceremonial entrance and landing place for Viceroys, British governors and other prominent people. Years later when the British rule ended in 1947, the last horde of British troops left India through this Gateway. Ironic isn’t it? This colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph thanks to the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway.

Also read:   Exotic & Erotic: The Mesmerizing Temples of Khajuraho

The Gateway of India, also referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai is one of India’s most unique landmarks situated in Mumbai city. The construction of the colossal structure was finally completed in 1924. 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 (though for me it holds life-time attraction value). There was a time when the monument represented the grandeur of the British rule in India. The total construction cost of the Gateway was approximately 2.1 Million INR and the whole expense was borne by the Indian government.

While the monument is always open and people can visit at any time of the day, the best time to visit the Gateway of India is from November to March. Post the well known Mumbai monsoons, the climate becomes very pleasant with less chances for downpours.

Attractions close to the Gateway of India

The Gateway of India faces the vast Arabian Sea, flanked by Mumbai’s other scenic attraction, Marine Drive which is a road running parallel to the sea. The Elephanta Caves are also located very close to the Gateway of India. One can travel on motor boats to reach the Elephanta Islands. The statues of the great Maratha leader Shivaji and Swami Vivekananda are seen at the entrance of the Elephanta Caves. The Taj Mahal Hotel – India’s most prestigious and luxurious hotel owned by the Tata Group is situated exactly opposite the Gateway of India.

The Taj Mahal opposite the Gateway

The Taj Mahal opposite the Gateway

Important events around the Gateway of India

The passing of the ‘First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry’ was 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. Unfortunately, the monument has also been witness to three terror attacks from the beginning of the 21st Century, twice in 2003 itself The one incident that shook the entire nation was the disembarkation point of Pakistani terrorists in 2008, when four gunmen attacked the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower.

Gateway of India

Gateway of India

Poser at the Gateway

Poser at the Gateway

The majestic Gateway of India is a must-visit monument by the night, in its pristine glory against the backdrop of the thunderous Arabian sea. It is visited by millions of people across the world every year. Just like me, it holds a very significant place in the hearts and lives of Mumbai-kars, as the Gateway defines the opulence of an amazing city that is a culmination of both, historic and modern cultural environment.

Have you ever visited the Gateway of India?

Love, Archie

Getting clicked while clicking at the Gateway of India

Getting clicked while clicking at the Gateway of India

Featured Image: Flickr

One who is born with wings has many stories to tell. I was a born wayfaring story-teller! But then, how does a chirpy story-teller who also has wings on her back and wheels on her feet find a colossal audience to recount those sometimes awe-inspiring, sometimes eccentric encounters. I realised there was no other way I could narrate my tales to the world unless i started penning them down in black and white. That's how TravelwithArchie was born. I love calling myself a vagabond! One who dreams about places and then travels there to see how they look in the real world. Come, borrow my wings for a while and see the world with my lens!

  • Interesting and profound post, Archana! The Gateway holds a special place in my heart too, I wrote anout it over here http://www.indiapalette.com/the-gateway-of-india-a-place-loved-by-many-and-im-no-exception/

  • Great info. Awesome pics.

  • Brilliant post Archana! A nice tribute to the Gateway of India 🙂
    I liked the way you have given a detailed info regarding its history.
    I remember visiting this every time we visited Mumbai and have some beautiful memories associated with this place.

  • Vishal Bheeroo

    Aha! So many memories there and love perching to the wall like you did in the picture to admire the Taj. Loved strolling alone there after a drink at cheap Gokul or Sports Express Bar or Leopold and food at Baghdadi..loove this place. First time was fooled by a photographer in 2003. Wasn’t aware of the history though. Now, stop tempting me to write about it, Archana!!

  • Puspanjalee DasDutta

    Excellant post, Archana! Made me fall in love with you!

  • I have been to Mumbai just twice and both the times din’t miss to visit gateway of India. lovely post Archana

  • Gabi Ancarola

    I adore posts that both share a memory and teach us something of a place, leaving us dreaming of it, wanting to learn more and also give us a desire to get to the place. You are a great story-teller, and this piece shows. I loved it very much.

  • Vyjay Rao

    Mumbai’s Gateway of India is indeed iconic.

  • Mumbai, Gateway, Colaba!!! ^_^ My favourite place in the sity to walk around aimlessly and to go on photowalks! Lovely pics 🙂

  • Beautiful! I’ve never been to India. But this Gataway looks so great!!

  • HARDIK AHMEDABAD

    Dear Sir,

    Charansparsh.
    Thanks for sharing 2 pics.
    Pl take care.
    Love you

  • Awesome picture with information. More than sufficient information about the Gateway of India mentioned.

  • The Gateway of India is one of the important places in India. Great pictures and great info.

  • U K

    Beautifully written after detailed research. The gateway is the pride of the nation.

  • Sneh

    Cool Photographs Archie 🙂

  • Gowthama Rajavelu

    You always have this knack to make even history sound interesting Archana. Wonderfully narrated with some attractive snaps.

  • I have been to the gateway so many times but never to Elephanta caves. This time I gotta do that 😀 Lovely account of the history.

  • What a amazing photos @archan….

  • Amazing post Archie! A great tribute to the Gateway of India 🙂

  • brilliantly narrated post…with beautiful pics…

  • Lovely post Archie 🙂 The Beauty of Taj Hotel and Gateway of India in Mumbai is beyond any comparison. The way you narrated your childhood love is brilliant. Thanks for sharing your insights and those amazing pictures.

  • Arun Prasadh

    Nice info about the place. Taj pic is beautiful.

  • This was to be visited by me last year, but you know that the trip never happened 🙁

  • Chaitali Patel

    Could feel your happiness and joy as you described your visits to the Gateway! It truly is a remarkable structure!

  • sreedhar Bhattaram

    Very nice Post Archana.. It takes me back to yr 1971 when as a student at IIT, POWAI the place was one of my favorite visits in the then Bombay along with a stroll on Marine Drive.. Thanks for sharing the Post!

  • Nice pictures and details. I don’t like this Disqus commenting system much- it won’t take users back to my blog

  • Great account on Gateway of India. A complete info touching almost all aspects with beautiful pics

  • Vishakha Sethi

    Brilliant write-up Archana! You just refreshed memories of my Mumbai visit!

  • Purba Chakraborty

    Awesome post dear. Loved watching the Gateway of India from your eyes 🙂

  • Jyotirmoy Sarkar

    You have covered all most all the angles to describe The Gateway of India—from its history to its Architect etc. Very beautiful and Informative post,

  • Kavita Baluni

    Such an informative post, have read and heard a lot about this but never knew the history behind it.

  • Rajesh

    Majestic.

  • Its a very vibrant place. You have captured the vibrancy very well through your post.

  • The gateway is so spectacular. Great post Archie. (hope you don’t mind me calling you that)
    lovely pics.
    xx
    http://www.aparnamudi.com

  • Seema Kotian Gopal

    wonderful post Archana and Gateway of India captured beautifully.

  • Jyothi D’mello

    There is something about this place isn’t it?! I love Gateway of India too. Excellent post x

  • Melody Pittman

    That is so sweet that the gateway is etched in your memory like that. Funny how small things that we encounter as children turn into such huge things in our adult life. My family has some traditions like that, too, places we visit from mine and my husband’s childhood that we want the fond memories savored.

  • This post makes me nostalgic. I visited Gateway of India for the first time with my husband just after being married.(29 years back). Since then, it is my most loved place to reminiscing those memories, so we visit there frequently. Great post Archana. 🙂 <3

  • No one really cares about what is there in their backyard! Being a Mumbai-ite this post made me wonder how beautifully you have described a monument that we have visited time and again.
    Wonderfully written Archana 🙂

  • Lili’s travel plans

    I love how you look back at your childhood memories in this post, the place seems to mean a lot to you!

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