Marvel at the architecturally impressive Gateway of India, an imposing colonial-era monument overlooking the glistening Arabian Sea. This striking landmark is a popular starting point for visitors wishing to discover Mumbai’s captivating southern neighbourhoods. Inaugurated in 1924, the Gateway of India commemorates a visit by King George V and Queen Mary. Built on an old fishing wharf called Wellington Pier (aka Apollo Bunder), the gateway served as the landing point of aristocrats and viceroys during the colonial years.
Stand in the vast courtyard with the crowds of locals and tourists and admire the gateway’s grand design. Note a fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. Examine the archways, imposing pillars, intricate latticework and series of four turrets. Look for the Swami Vivekananda Statue, an Indian monk famed for raising the worldwide awareness of Hinduism. Observe as visitors take photos, enjoy rides on horse-drawn carriages and purchase food from street vendors.
Face away from the water to see another of Mumbai’s iconic landmarks, the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Walk down the steps behind the gateway for uninterrupted views across Mumbai Harbour. Spot colourful ferries and fishing trawlers bobbing in the water. Join a cruise around the harbour or to Elephanta Caves, where you can visit 7th-century rock-cut caves.
Throughout the day the Gateway of India is a constant hive of activity. Visit in February through March to watch displays of Hindi dance and music, which are part of the flamboyant Elephanta Festival at Elephanta Caves.
The Gateway of India sits on the waterfront at the northern edge of the Colaba neighbourhood. It’s about a 15-minute drive from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and easily accessible via auto-rickshaws, taxis and public buses.
While here stroll south along a waterfront promenade for more views of Mumbai Harbour. From here, streets lead into the animated Colaba neighbourhood. Go to Colaba Causeway Market, a great place to shop for antiques, bohemian clothing, beads, trinkets and more. Alternatively, wake up early to see fishermen bring in the morning catch at Sassoon Dock.