The Gateway of India is a monument built during the British Raj in Mumbai, India. Located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai, the monument overlooks 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. Previously, 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, 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 to allow entry and access to India.
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 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 INR 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 carried out the construction of India's first pre-cast reinforced concrete job for the foundation of the Gateway of India. The construction of the monument was supervised by the government engineers of the Bombay Province and completed in record time under the charge of Late Deewan Bahadur Kikkeri Ramaswamy (Bombay Ramaswamy) who has an honorary mention on the monument.
It is the place where the Viceroys and Governors used to land upon their arrival in India. The Gateway of 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 imposing and prestigious Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, for Britishers arriving for the first time to India, the gateway was a symbol of the power and majesty of the British empire.