Gateway of India

The Gateway of India (Marathi: गेटवे ऑफ इंडिया) is a monument in Mumbai, (formerly Bombay) India. Located on the waterfront in Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai, the Gateway is a basalt arch 26 metres (85 feet) high. It was a crude jetty used by fisher folks and was later renovated and used as a landing place for British governors and other distinguished personages. In earlier times, the Gateway was the monument that visitors arriving by boat would have first seen in the city of Bombay.

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 central dome is 15 metres (49 feet) in diameter and is 26 metres (85 feet) above 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. The cost of the construction was Rs. 21 lakhs (2,100,000), borne mainly by the Government of India. Due to lack of funds, the approach road was never built, and so the Gateway stands at an angle to the road leading up to it.

History

The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911. 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 in August 1914. Between 1915 and 1919 work proceeded on reclamations at Apollo Bundar (Port) for 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. The well-known Jewish business family, the Sassoon's, were one of the great contributors to Mumbai, and offered the largest donation for the construction effort, contributing 10 Lakhs of Rupees for the construction. Out of the total expenses, Gammon India claims that it did India's first pre-cast reinforced concrete job for the foundation of the Gateway of India.

The last British troops to leave India, the First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the Gateway in a ceremony on 28 February 1948.

From here people can visit Elephanta Caves by ferry boats. There are luxury boats which take visitors around the harbour for a couple of hours. Opposite the Gateway stands the Royal Taj Mahal Hotel and Taj Towers. In front of the Gateway, there is a statue of Chatrapati Shivaji.

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