Friday, 29 April 2011

Gateway of India

The Gateway of India 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 lies at the end of Shivaji marg.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. The gateway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai, and has also lent its name to the city of Mumbai.

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. On each side of the arch are large halls that can hold six hundred people. The cost of the construction was Rs. 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. The Gateway of India to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911. Unfortunately the British king and Queen only got to see a cardboard model of the structure 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 in 31 March 1913. The architect combined the elements of the Roman triumphal arch and the 16th century architecture of Gujarat. 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.

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 following India's independence, the first Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the Gateway on their way out in a ceremony on 28 February 1948. The Gateway of India itself is a major tourist destination and is a starting point for boats that leave for the Elephanta Caves. It is also right next to the 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.

Opposite the gateway stands the statue of  Shivaji Maharaj, a symbol of Maratha pride and courage.

Do Visit