The Gateway of India is a monument built during the British Raj in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. It is located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai and overlooks the Arabian Sea. The structure is a basalt arch, 26 metres (85 feet) high. It lies at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg at the water's edge in Mumbai Harbour. It was 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, it would have been the first structure that visitors arriving by boat in Mumbai would have seen. The Gateway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai, and is the city's top tourist attraction.
The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai, prior to the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911. However, they only got to see 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 at Apollo Bundar (Port) to reclaim 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.
Design and structure
The architect George Wittet combined the elements of the Roman triumphal arch and the 16th-century architecture of Gujarat. Its design is a combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles; the arch is of Muslim style while the decorations are of 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.
It is the place where the viceroys and governors used to land upon their arrival in India. Though built as a welcome to King George V for his visit of 1911, then an event of grand significance for British India and the British empire, today serves as a "monumental memento" of colonialisation and subjugation by the British over the people of India. Built right next to the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, for British arriving for the first time to India, the gateway was a symbol of the "power and majesty" of the British empire.
Opposite the gateway stands the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the king who used guerilla warfare to establish the Maratha empire in the Sahyadri mountain range in the 17th century, as a symbol of Maratha "pride and courage". The statue was unveiled on 26 January 1961 on the occasion of India's Republic Day. The other statue in the area is that of Swami Vivekananda. There are five jetties at the gateway. The first jetty is exclusive to the Atomic Research Centre, the second and third are used for commercial ferry operations, the fourth is closed and the fifth is exclusive to the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.