Gateway Of India, Mumbai – India’s Pride
Surrounded by people all the time, the Gateway of India in Mumbai emanates a feeling of pride. It stands as the crowning glory amidst water and other historical structures. It faces the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel and these two structures seem inseparable. Numerous photographers scatter around the entire area, harassing everyone with pleas to get clicked. The back walls serve as haven for couples at night and during the day the ship operators occupy most of the walls. A statue of Swami Vivekananda adds to the historical value of the monument. Placed towards the extreme left of the entrance, the statue is not visible to most of the tourists. The other statue right opposite the monument is that of Shivaji, who established the Maratha Empire and personified pride and courage.
The entrance to Gateway of India is significant because of the multiple booking counters there. Ship operators have a designated place there to sell their tickets and open their help office. They offer travel services to places like Alibaug and the Elephanta Caves. From normal ferry coaches to air conditioned coaches, these operators cater to every whim of their customers. The ferries run at different times and about seven or eight boats go to a particular place every day. Apart from this, some operators offer a miniature half an hour ferry ride too. After braving a long queue, you can enjoy the cool breeze grazing your face while sitting in a boat and enjoying the trip.
There are five jetties here with one of them being exclusive to the Atomic Research Centre. Two of the ferries are used for commercial operations like the ones mentioned above. One of them is closed and the other belongs to the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.
The monument was built in 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay in 1911. Years later, the last bunch of British troops left India via the Gateway. George Wittet designed the structure. It took about four years for Gateway to stand as it is now and approximately 21 lakhs. The entire expense was borne by the Indian government. It served as an entrance to the country for Viceroys and the governors of Mumbai. Technically, it faces the Mumbai harbour and is bordered by the Arabian Sea. It is just a ten minute walk from the famous Colaba Causeway market, where tourists flock often.
The architectural structure of Gateway of India resembles Indo-Saracenic style, some say. Others claim that it is a synthesis of the Roman Arch and the ancient architecture of Gujarat. The monument is built in yellow basalt and reinforced concrete. The perforated screens that grace the monument were brought from Gwalior. The arch is a representation of Muslim architectural design and decorations are a replica of the Hindu styles. The dome is about 15 metres in diameter and 25 metres above the ground.
The colossal structure symbolised royalty and majesty for the British. Therefore, even the last set of troops departed from the harbour of Gateway.
The magnificence of the Gateway of India is such that even the bomb blast could not tarnish it. The monument witnessed a bomb explosion on August 25, 2003 as part of the twin car bombings. Around 50 people died and 300 were injured in this twin attack. The other case involved the disembarkation of terrorists, who attacked the iconic Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, at the Gateway in 2008.