The Gateway of India

The Gateway of India is undoubtedly the most popular monument of Mumbai, India. Situated at Apollo Bandar with a view to the Arabian sea, the Gateway of India is intended to immortalize in the history the visit of king George V and queen Marry in 1911, who passed by this place during their journey for a festival in Delhi on the occasion of their crowning for king and queen of India. The Gateway of India is popular also with the fact that it is the place, from which the last British troops withdrew from India on 28 February 1947. This event transformed the Gateway of India in an epitaph of the empire. Nowadays the Gateway of India arranges among the biggest and most famous landmarks of India.

Gateway of India

Source: By David Brossard – Gateway of India, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia

The massive arch, resembling very much the Triumphal arch, is located at the place, where once passengers and visitors have got off on the shore. The project for this graceful arch was entrusted to George Wittet. The Gateway of India was built in 1911, and officially was opened in 1924. As it has already been said, the monument is built in order to celebrate the visit of king George V and queen Marry in Mumbai, before they went in Delhi. Despite this, they have seen only a model of the monument, since the construction did not start until 1915.

For the building of the Gateway of India is used basalt with colour of copper. The design of the arch represents a combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. While the arch is built completely in Muslim style, the decorations are subordinated to the Hindu style. The whole arch is built out of yellow basalt and reinforced-concrete mixture. The stone, used for the construction of the monument, is Indian, and the perforated planes are delivered from Gwalior. The monument is with height 26 meters, its central cupola is with dimension 15 meters in dimeter and is 26 meters high in its highest point.

The arch is decorated with elements, which are borrowed from the Muslim architecture of Gujarat from ХVI century. The monument is built in such a way so to reflect itself in the sea. Reflecting the beams of the rising and setting sun, the Gateway of India changes its colour from golden through orange to pink.

The main stone of the Gateway of India was laid on 31 March 1913 by the governor of Bombai (today’s Mumbai) sir George Sydenham Clarke. The plans for the arch, assigned to George Wittet, were approved not until August 1914. In the period between 1915 and 1919 there was conquered a strip of land along the port, which was intended for the building of the Gateway of India. The land, on which the Gateway of India is built, was a quay, used by the fishing society, which later was renovated and used as a place for arrival of the British governors and other famous persons. The construction of this original symbol finished in year 1924. The Gateway of India was officially opened for the public on 4 December 1924 by the vice-king of India Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading.

Gateway of India inscriptions

Source: By Bornav27may – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

The sucking in of Mongolian influences is intentionally sought, since it is aimed to be inspired the connection with the earlier rulers and the legality of the British colonial government.

The walls and the four towers in the architecture of the monument, which comprise the impressive cupola, are decorated with a complex bars.

The monument is a main tourist destination in Mumbai and a popular place for gathering of local residents, street traders and photographers.

The Gateway of India is a monument, which marks the main ports of India and is a basic tourist attraction for the visitors, who arrive in India for the first time.

In year 2012 the corporation for development of the tourism moved “Festival of music and dance Elephanta” from its initial place in Elephanta Caves (where it used to take place in the course of 23 years) to the Gateway of India, because of the big capacity, offered by the place. The portal can be a host of approximately 2500 people, while in the Elephanta caves can be placed only around 800 people.

There are several events, tightly connected with the Gateway of India. The monument became a witness of a terrorist attack on 25 August 2003, when an explosion by a bomb stained with blood the place in front of the Gateway of India. The taxi, in which the bomb was put, was parked in front of Taj Mahal hotel, one of the oldest luxurious hotels in the city. It is deemed that the power of the explosion has thrown several people in the sea. A mentally disturbed man stabbed two little girls from Manipur in front of the Gateway of India on 13 August 2005.

People can visit the Gateway of India at any time of the day. The best time for a visit of India is during the period from November until March, since then the climate is very pleasant and there are much less chances for rains.