Mumbai has had the
privilege of being artistically and affectionately moulded in the hands of
the various empires it has been under. One of the prime elements of
Mumbai's exceptional diversity is the various historical architectural
styles on display at different locations of the city. Magnificent
structures stand rock-steady centuries after they'd been constructed and
represent a multitude of architectural designs. Several historical domains
like the Magadha and Mauryan Empires from the third century BC to the
Portuguese and British realms in the colonial periods have recognised
Mumbai's outstanding potential and groomed and fostered it with a certain
Today, people from all
over the globe come visiting Mumbai to catch a glimpse of its historical
monuments that proudly display a range of admirable ancient architectures.
From pure Indian architectural styles with finely intricate carvings to
Indo-European architecture with strong Islamic influences, Indo-Sarcenic
style with Gujarati influences, early English Gothic style and a
combination of Venetian and English gothic styles can be seen in the
historical landmarks of Mumbai.
Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus/Mumbai Railway Station)
At the site of the
Koli's original temple to Mumba Devi now stands Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus - one of Mumbai's most prominent buildings and architecturally
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
one of the finest railway stations in the world. It is built in a style
that combines Gothic and Indian influences. It was completed in 1885.
Designed by F.W. Stevens the construction of the building commenced in
1878. This Italian gothic building was once called Victoria Terminus and
is still largely popular by the name. The construction has a frontage of
over 1,500 feet.
The administrative offices form three sides of a rectangle enclosing an
ornamental garden, the entrance gate 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 the figure of a
woman with a torch held aloft to symbolise progress.
Mumbai's principal landmark, the Gateway of India is a huge archway on the
ocean's edge at Apollo Bunder. It is the starting point for most tourists
who want to explore the city. This famous monument was built to
commemorate the visit of the first ever British Monarch, King George V and
Queen Mary in 1911.
The foundation stone was laid down by the then Governor of Bombay (Mumbai)
on March 31st 1913. The archway is 26 meters high and joined with four
turrets and intricate lattice work carved on stones. The arch alone was
built at the cost of Rs 21 lakhs. It was built in Indo-Sarcenic style,
though some influence of Gujarati style is also evident in its
architecture. This majestic structure was designed by the Scottish
architect George Wittet and is a hybrid of the Arc de Triomphe of Paris.
It was erected by the British Governor of Bombay Gerard Aungier. The fort
is situated a few metres from Sion railway station. The fort was raised
between 1669 and 1677. At the base of the fort The Archeological Survey of
India has its branch office. The fort is overlooking the salt pans in the
Thane creeks that create a magnificent view of the surroundings.
The 6th century old Elephanta Cave temples are located on an island along
Mumbai's eastern shore. The temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The caves
contain some great masterpieces of Indian sculptures. Originally the place
was called Gharapuri or Fort City but was renamed as Elephanta by the
Portuguese. The Elephanta Caves have been declared as a World Heritage
Site by UNESCO and can be reached by boats from the Gateway of India.
The word Kanheri has been derived from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri.
These caves date back to the period between the 1st century BC and 9th
Located at a distance of 45 kms from central Mumbai and 10 kms from the
Borivali railway station, the Kanheri Caves were basically meant for the
Buddhist conglomeration worship. The highest cave is situated at a height
of 1500 feet above the sea level.
All the way through the journey through the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a
natural serenity of emerald green escorts the visitors.
The area north of Colaba is known as Mumbai Fort, since the old British
fort was once located here. Here, you can see some impressive buildings
from Mumbai's golden period. St. John's church, dedicated to the soldiers,
who laid down their lives in the Sindh campaign of 1838, and the first
Afghan war of 1843, is also a worth visiting place.
The Vasai Fort
In the ancient times, the Vasai Fort was known as the Bassein Fort. It was
the headquarters of the Portuguese from 1534 AD to 1739 AD.
Today, only some parts of the fort have been well preserved with the
remaining only in ruins. There are three chapels in the fort and the
southernmost of these three has a well preserved barrel vaulted ceiling.
The Bombay High Court is one of the oldest High Courts in the country. Its
attractive construction in early English Gothic style, situated next to
the Oval Ground is well worth a visit for its impressive architecture. It
was designed by Colonel J.A.Fuller, R.E. and was completed at a cost of Rs
16, 44,528. Its height to the east is 90 feet and the central feature is
178.5 feet in height. Statues representing Justice and Mercy surmount the
Post Office (GPO)
This is a fine example of Indo-European architecture which was designed by
John Begg and supervised by George Wittet. Its superb architecture is
inspired by the Islamic domes of the Gol Gumbaj. The construction was
completed in 1911. It has several arches, domes and minarets that give a
fantastic look to the GPO. The post office has a lofty three storied
rotunda inside, which leads to its various departments.
Rajabai Clock tower, situated at the gardens of the Bombay University
building rises above the portion of the library section. The tower was
designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, an English architect. Consisting of
five elaborately decorated stories the tower is 280 ft in height. The top
of the cupola is ornamented with sixteen statues depicting various Indian
castes. The tower is a combination of Venetian and English gothic styles
that offer a magnificent look to the structure.