In this hundred and fourty-fifth archive story by Kristian Bertel, we learn about the history of the Gateway of India in Mumbai.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
The Gateway of India is an arch-monument built in the early 20th century in the city of Bombay now Mumbai, India. It was erected to commemorate the landing of King-Emperor George V, the first British monarch to visit India, in December 1911. This magnificient and historical structure stands at an angle opposite to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.
The Gateway of India is an arch-monument built in the early 20th century in the city of Bombay now Mumbai, India. It was erected to commemorate the landing of King-Emperor George V, the first British monarch to visit India, in December 1911. This magnificient and historical structure stands at an angle opposite to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.

Gateway of India

The foundation stone was laid in March 1913 for a monument built in the Indo-Islamic style, inspiring by elements of 16th-century Gujarati architecture. The final design of the monument by architect George Wittet was sanctioned only in 1914 and construction was completed in 1924. The structure is a memorial arch made of basalt, which is 26 metres high, with an architectural resemblance to a triumphial arch as well as Gujarati architecture of the time. This magnificent and historical structure at Mumbai, is a must-visit place.

Where is the Gateway of India located?

The Gateway of India is located on the waterfront at Apollo Bunder area at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg in South Mumbai and overlooks the Arabian Sea.

Magnificent and historical structure
After its construction the Gateway was used as a symbolic ceremonial entrance to India for important colonial personnel. The Gateway is also the monument from where the last British troops left India in 1948, following Indian independence. Today, the monument is synonymous with the city of Mumbai, and is amongst its prime tourist attractions and the gateway is also a gathering spot for locals, street vendors and photographers soliciting services. It holds significance for the local Jewish community as it has been the spot for Hanukkah celebrations, with the lighting of the menorah, since 2003. There are five jetties located at the Gateway, of which two are used for commercial ferry operations.

Monuments have been created for thousands of years, and they are often the most durable and famous symbols of ancient civilizations. Prehistoric gateways and similar structures have been created in a large number of prehistoric cultures across the world and the many forms of monumental tombs of the more wealthy and powerful members of a society are often the source of much of our information and art from those cultures. As societies became organized on a larger scale, so monuments so large as to be difficult to destroy like the Gateway of India. Monuments are frequently used to improve the appearance of a city or location.

Symbol of Mumbai
The Gateway of India is the symbol of Mumbai and the monument looks stunning under elimination and rich history is associated with this monument. It is located on the waterfront, just opposite to Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, overlooking the Arabian Sea. It is a prime tourist attraction and a gathering spot for the locals as well and plenty of street vendors and photographers are available there offering their services and these photographers provide on-spot photo print and file transfers and the rate may be negotiated and plenty of public transports and restaurants are also available nearby.

"The Gateway's arch has a height of 26 metres with its central dome being 15 metres in diameter. The monument is built of yellow basalt and reinforced concrete and the stones were sourced locally while the perforated screens were brought in from Gwalior"

Ceremonial entrance
During British era, the gateway was used as a symbolic ceremonial entrance for important colonial personnel and also the place from where the last British troops left India following Indian independence. The British Raj was the rule of the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent it is also called 'Crown rule in India' or 'Direct rule in India' and lasted from 1858 to 1947. The region under British control was commonly called 'India' in contemporaneous usage and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called 'British India' and areas ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British paramountcy, called the 'Princely states'. The region was sometimes called the 'Indian Empire', though not officially.

In the second half of the 19th century, both the direct administration of India by the British crown and the technological change ushered in by the industrial revolution, had the effect of closely intertwining the economies of India and Great Britain. In fact many of the major changes in transport and communications that are typically associated with 'Crown Rule of India' had already begun before the Mutiny. Since Dalhousie had embraced the technological change then rampant in Great Britain, India too saw the rapid development of all those technologies. Railways, roads, canals and bridges were rapidly built in India, and telegraph links were equally rapidly established in order that raw materials, such as cotton, from India's inland areas, could be transported more efficiently to ports, such as Bombay, for subsequent export to England. Likewise, finished goods from England, were transported back for sale in the burgeoning Indian markets.

Unlike Britain, where the market risks for the infrastructure development were borne by private investors, in India, it was the taxpayers primarily farmers and farm-labourers who endured the risks, which, in the end, amounted to £50 million. Despite these costs, very little skilled employment was created for Indians. By 1920, with the fourth largest railway network in the world and a history of 60 years of its construction, only ten percent of the superior posts in the Indian Railways were held by Indians.

A good place to visit
The monument faces towards the Mumbai Harbour. There are four 'Turrets' on the structure of the gateway and there are steps constructed behind the arch of the Gateway which lead to the Arabian Sea. The monument features intricate stone latticework also known as the 'Jali work'. The Scottish architect, George Wittet combined indigenous architectural elements with elements of 16th-century architecture of Gujarat. The harbour front was realigned in order to make an esplanade, which would sweep down to the centre of the town. On each side of the arch, there are large halls with the capacity to hold 600 people. Due to a paucity of funds, the approach road was never built. Hence, the Gateway stands at an angle to the road leading up to it. "- Gateway of India is one of the good place to visit in Mumbai and you can also go for boating from here. It is recommended to come here early morning when it is empty because the crowds build very fast and it becomes really hot around this area as there are no shades, so the best time to visit is in the evening or morning and experience the fantastic view of the Sea and the Taj hotel", the Photographer says.

Read also:  Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai

Read also:  Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of the Gateway of India in Mumbai. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.