Commemorating the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city, the Gateway of India is perhaps the most known among Mumbai’s historic monuments. However, it also happens to be the spot from where the last British troops departed the country after centuries of their colonial presence. Designed by Scottish architect George Wittet, who took from Indo-Islamic, Indian and Roman influences, the structure was completed only in 1914, with its foundation stone laid in 1911.
As the country’s most famous railway station and one of Mumbai’s most iconic landmarks, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the best spots to witness the city’s past and present. Rich in history and featuring striking High Victorian Gothic and Indian architectural styles, this UNESCO World Heritage Site also happens to be among the busiest railway stations in the country and an integral part of the daily lives of lakhs of Mumbaikars.
Perched atop a hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea in Bandra West, Mount Mary’s Basilica is among the most historic churches in the city – if not the country. With its first edifice built around 1570, and then rebuilt in 1640 and then again in 1760, the church has carved an integral spot for itself in the Bandra area for nearly 450 years. While the current church structure is only over a hundred years old – built in 1904 – the statue of Mother Mary, held at the church, is said to have been brought to India by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
No tour of Mumbai is complete without some time spent at the historic and architectural marvel that is the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The building’s iconic dome was the first clear marker of the Bombay harbour until the Gateway of India came along 20 years later. Built in 1903 under Jamshetji Tata, the Arabian Sea-facing hotel is among the most celebrated in the country.
Located in the Mumbai Harbour, this lush, forest-covered island is about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the Gateway of India. While it houses only 1,200 inhabitants and prohibits tourists from staying overnight, the island houses the historic Elephanta Cave Temples. Dating back to the 5th century CE, the five Hindu caves and two Buddhist caves served as places of worship until the 1500s. While some of the structures are in ruins now, the site remains one of the city’s primary attractions for the outstanding sculptures, architecture and heritage on display.
Marine Drive, South Mumbai’s iconic sea-facing promenade, is among the first places outsiders think of when picturing Mumbai. Whether you are looking for an excellent location for your early morning or evening jog, a spot to unwind and gaze at the Arabian Sea or a drive by the sea, Marine Drive is the place.