An icon for the sea farers : -
Just half a century ago the majority travel amongst continents was done by sea. The sea vessels connected Europe with Americas similarly people used to sail between India and Europe. India Gate an iconic landmark on the Apollo Bandar sea face of Bombay was visible to the passengers coming to India from a distance, thus they knew that they have arrived in India.
A “Grand welcome to the British Queen and the King” This iconic gate was constructed to welcome the Emperor George V and Queen Empress Mary when they visited India in December 1911.They were the first British Monarch to visit India a jewel in the crown of British Monarchy. At the time of the visit the gate of welcome was not fully constructed and a dummy gate was constructed to welcome the king and the queen. The gateway was finally completed in 1924.
History and Architecture of Gateway of India
Architect George Wittet conceptualized the architectural design of the Gateway of India, The structure has been crafted from the basalt rocks as are the other period structures of Bombay. The welcome gate is a classical design in Indo Saracenic style of architecture. The gateway symbolized the British imperial India and was used as a welcome gate for the high placed dignitaries of the Raj.
The structure rises 24 meter in height and has a façade with three arches, the central arch which is the main stay of the gate is the highest and has the small minarets on either sides. The gateway has two faces both identical in appearance, The final good bye to the last departing British troops after India Independence was given at the Gateway of India thus symbolizing the end of the colonial rule in India.
Gateway now symbol of Mumbai
The gateway today stands as a Victorian era structure very well preserved right on the sea face of Mumbai, It symbolizes the city of Mumbai which today is a global destination. The gateway itself is a tourist attraction where hundreds of tourists come and enjoy the great architecture and cool sea breeze, The view of the Taj Mahal hotel adds to the visual appeal.
Things to do at Gateway of India
Gateway is an excellent tourist spot you can certainly spend hours at this place specially in the evening time as the shimmering lights on the sea face present a real picturesque panoramic view. The cool sea breeze along with a plethora of tourists all busy in various activities.
• Do get professional picture in front of the gateway clicked by professional photographer.
• There are ferry cruises to Elephanta caves starting from the Gateway of India, remember the ferry services to Elephanta operate only till afternoon.
• Enjoy a ferry cruise right up to the huge ships docked in the high sea. This cruise is available even in the night and you can enjoy the sight of the Gateway and the sea face lit up with lights. Its an amazing view.
• Enjoy the Mumbaiya street food at the Gateway of India food corners/outlets at the Gateway of India.
• Take a picture and feed the pigeons at the Gateway of India.
• Enjoy a short Victoria ride (buggy) Horse ride in front of the Taj Mahal hotel Mumbai.
Things to do at Elephanta islands
Remember no tourists are allowed to stay overnight at the Elephanta island the last ferry leaves at 6:30 pm for Mumbai. There are multifarious activities you can indulge in while you tour the Elephanta island.
1. Trek on the cannon hill:- you can go trekking on the cannon hill which is around 150 metre high, there is a variety of flora growing on this hill if you are a nature enthusiast then this trek is for you. There are two cannons situated at the top of the western hill this is the reason for the name Cannon hill.
2. Go shopping:- While you climb up to the caves, the way is lined by small shanties selling various small items, sun hats, souvenir etc are on sale if you love street shopping you can indulge in the shopping spree while you tour the Elephanta caves.
3. Street Food:- There is a variety of street food available at the Elephanta caves. If you love street food then this place is for you get going and enjoy the food.
Other attractions near Gateway of India
Marine Drive: -Take a taxi from the Gateway of India and Hardly it will take a 15 minute drive to reach the popular marine drive from the Gateway of India. Marine drive is a crescent shape sea front where major corporate offices are situated.
Colaba Market: -Enjoy shopping at the Colaba market famous for souvenir and antique stores.
Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal and BMC Building: - Enjoy sightseeing of Chhatrapati Shivaji terminal, famous earlier as (Victoria terminal) along with the Mumbai municipal corporation building tour ( popularly known as BMC building).