Gateway of India
Gateway of India, the principal landmark of Mumbai, is a huge archway on the water's edge at Apollo Bundar. British architect George Wittet designed the Gateway and the gateway was built to commemorate the visit of King George V to India in 1911. The construction started on 31st March 1913 and the structure was formally opened in 1924. Its architecture is similar to the conventional Arch of Triumph, with elements derived from Islamic styles of 16th century Gujarat. This 26m high structure has four turrets and intricate latticework carved into the yellow basalt stone.
From behind the gateway, one can hire motor launches or buy tickets for a short cruise through Mumbai's splendid natural harbour. The luxurious and magnificent Taj Mahal Hotel is near the Gateway. The statues of the Maratha leader Shivaji and Swami Vivekananda are also close by. Near the gateway is the Colaba Causeway, which extends to the end of Colaba promontory, the southern end of Mumbai Island.
Prince of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales Museum is another memorial building of King George's visit to India in 1905, while he was still Prince of Wales. Opened in 1923, it was built in Indo-Saracenic style, and has valualble collections of art and paintings, archaeology, and natural history. The collection includes local sculptures from Elephanta, Parel and Jogeshwari and 11th and 12th century sculptures from Karnataka and Gujarat. The Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai's main art gallery, situates in the compound of the Museum, and displays paintings of well-known Indian artists. The National Gallery of Modern Art is also situated opposite the museum. It displays contemporary paintings of Indian modern artists.
Chowpatty beach is one of Mumbai's famous beaches, and is a popular spot for people seeking fun and relaxation. Situated at the end of Marine Drive, at the foot of Malabar Hill, this expanse of sand and sea is the only beach in the central part of Mumbai. One can witnesses many Hindu religious ceremonies like the annual thread-tying ceremony initiating young boys into the Brahmin caste, 'Nariel Purnima' marking end of monsoons and 'Ganesh Chaturthi' immersions.
This fountain, situated in the heart of the city, was built in 1869 in honour of Sir Bartle Frere, who was governor of Mumbai from 1862-67. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and is referred as the 'Piccadilly Circus' of Mumbai. Decorated with mythological figures, the fountain is a stone structure with a sculpture of the Roman Goddess of abundance, at the top. Many of the major banks and offices are located in Flora Fountain. Close to the fountain is the Cathedral of St. Thomas. The construction of the chapel began in 1672 and completed in 1718.
Recently renamed as "Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Road", one of the most popular promenades of Mumbai is the Marine Drive. Built on land reclaimed during 1920s and 1930s, it spans along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Chowpatty beach to Babulnath, at the foot of Malabar Hill. It is also referred to as "Queen's Necklace" because of the vivid line of streetlights lit up at night.
The old British fort was located in the area north of Colaba, which is known as Mumbai Fort. There are a lot of monumental buildings from Mumbai's golden period here. St. John's church, dedicated to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Sind campaign of 1838, and the first Afghan war of 1843, is also located in this area.
Mani Bhavan is the building where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his frequent visits to Mumbai. It was the home of Revashankar Jhavei, a diamond merchant and a supporter of Indian National Congress. Converted into a museum, it has a library of Gandhian literature. Gandhiji's room remains untouched and the rest of the museum is devoted for photographic exibits.
Set amidst beautifully laid lawns, The Bombay University with its dreamy tableau of convocation hall, library and clock tower, reminds the Oxford. They were designed in 1870 by architect Gilbert Scott, one of the few architects of international stance to design a building in colonial Bombay.
Rajabai Clock tower, situated at the gardens of the Bombay University building rises above the portion of the library section. Consisting of five elaborately decorated storeys the tower is 80m tall.
Nehru Centre is a beautiful cylinder shaped building that achieves unity dispite depicting multiple forces pulling it in different directions. It reflects Nehru's vision of Modern India. The Centre houses the Discovery of India Exposition, a permanent unique exposition, covering every aspect of artistic, intellectual and philosophical attainment of India through ages. The Nehru Centre Art Gallery is dedicated to the promotion of young talent and provides a platform to exhibit their work along with that of eminent artists.
The nearby Nehru Planetarium, commissioned on 3rd March, 1977 has grown into a centre for scientific study of astronomy and for meeting of scientists and scholars for discussions and lectures, arranged periodically on various stellar and Astronomical events. The planetarium presents a series of shows designed to increase the spectator's awe and understanding of the forces at work in the Universe. It also hosts astronomical exhibits, a scientific library and interactive tit bits.
Situated next to the Oval Ground, High Court is an attractive building in early Neo Gothic style. It has arched galleries, a bulky central tower and octagonal turrets toppeed by figures of Justice and Mercy. This immense structure in blue bassalt is well worth a visit for its impressive architecture.
Taraporewala Aquarium is located on Marine drive, and has a good collection of fresh water and saltwater fishes. There is a proposal to convert the aquarium into an underwater oceanarium. When completed one can have an underwater walk surrounded by marine life.
A major landmark of Mumbai city is the Victoria Terminus, designed in Italian Gothic style by Architect F. W. Stevens. Recently renamed as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, it is one of Mumbai's most prominent buildings and architecturally one of the finest stations in the world. The building construction commenced in 1878 and was completed in 1885. With a frontage of over 15,00 feet, The administrative offices form three sides of a rectangle enclosing an ornamental garden and the entrance gate is guarded by a massive stone Lion and Tiger. The most prominent feature of this building is the high 160 feet dome crowning the centre. On top of the giant dome is a statue of a women with a torch held aloft to symbolise progress.
Also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, the Hanging Gardens were built in 1880 and renovated in 1921. These gardens are popularly known as Hanging Gardens, because the garden is laid on the slope of a hill. The terrace garden provides a panoramic view of the city and a breathtaking sunset. It is built over three reservoirs those store 30 million gallons of water, which is pumped to quench the thirst the city.
Kamla Nehru Park
Kamala Nehru Park is located on top of the Malabar hills. Built in 1952 and named after the wife of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, this park covers an area of 3500sq.m and gives a magnificent view of Marine Drive.
Rani Jijamata Udyan
Rani Jijamata Udyan, formarly Victoria Gardens, laid out in 1861, houses the Mumbai's Zoo. It houses many of the rare and endangered species of animals and birds. The garden spreads over 48 acres in Byculla, on the central side of Mumbai. At the main entrance to the gardens is a clock tower, reminiscent of Italian renaissance. The garden has many scores of trees, some of which are really old. Within the gardens is the Albert museum which, has a collection of local archaeological finds that includes a huge stone elephant at the entrance, which was found in 1864 at Elephanta Island.
Crowded with screaming children, courting couples and unruly adolescence, Juhu is one of the largest and frequented beaches of India. Located 18-km north of the city centre, it is one of the posh localities of Mumbai where one can find many Luxury hotels and apartments, which are regarded as a favourite haunt of Mumbai's movers and shakers. On weekends one can take the pleasure of horse and donkey rides.