The Gateway of India is located in Mumbai. Known as a grand memento of the British Colonial Empire, this monument attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year from all over the world. Given the popularity of this monument, there are some interesting facts about it worth noting.
- King George V was the first reigning British monarch to visit India in December 1911. It was to commemorate this visit that the Gateway was built.
- Sir George Sydenham Clarke, the then Governor of Bombay (Mumbai) laid down the first foundation stone in 1911.
- Gammon India Limited (then: J. C. Gammon (Bombay) Pvt. Ltd.), a construction company worked on the foundations of the Gateway of India.
- The architect of the monument was a Scottish man named George Wittet. The design for the Gateway of India was accepted in the year 1914.
- It took four years to build the actual monument. The actual construction of the Gateway began in 1920 and ended in 1924. Prior to that work was done to reclaim the land and build a sea wall at Apollo Bunder (1915-1919).
- The Gateway of India was formally opened to the public in December 1924 by Rufus Isaacs, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India.
- It was used as a ceremonial entrance for all the new Viceroys and Governors of Bombay as this was the place where they landed on their arrival to India.
- The last British troops to leave India after Independence, left through the Gateway of India. This was seen as a signal of the end of the British rule. On 28th February 1948, a ceremony for the same saw the ‘First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry’ leave India through the Gateway.
- It’s built in an Indo- Saracenic style with influences of Muslim, Hindu and even 16th Century Gujarati architecture.
- The total height of the structure is 83 feet (26 meters) and the diameter of the central dome is 48 feet. It is built from yellow basalt and reinforced concrete.
- There is a staircase leading to the roof top of the monument. (The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has plans to turn it into a viewing gallery). Another staircase behind the arch leads down to the sea.
- In 2014, Philips India (a company dealing in healthcare, consumer lifestyle and lighting) donated an advanced LED lighting system containing a palette of 16 million shades for lighting up the monument.
After knowing these facts on the Gateway of India, it is now your turn to visit and experience this beautiful monument.