I have always wondered why he gateway of India was called so, is it really a gate? Is it the only entry point to the vast nation we know as India? Was it so in the past when it was built? In the mystery of all these questions, I decided to visit the place with the intention of finding out as much as I can about the historic structure. I made up my mind to reach early morning and stay for as long as I need, to find out the answers to all that and much more.
So, on a summer morning, I took an early local train from Thane – a suburban city in Mumbai to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. As the name suggests, CST is a terminus – the terminal point for all trains plying on the Central Railway and the southernmost tip of Mumbai. After alighting at the station, along with the morning crowd of people rushing to work, I made my way out of the grand building only to make up my mind to walk the distance of three odd kilometres to the famous Gateway of India. So, I made my way towards Apollo Bunder passing through Flora Fountain and other landmarks of the great city.
Upon reaching my destination, I found the 26 metre high structure in all its glory with very little people, obviously tourists, exploring the area. The structure, as the name suggests is an arched gate like structure which may well have been the entry point to India sometime in the past. I set out to find some board or a local historian who could help me with the mystery that I stumbled upon. After a long hunt, almost in the late afternoon and with no local guide in sight, I found an inscription on the gate itself which was finally able to solve this mystery.
The structure was built in 1911 to commemorate the first visit of King George V and Queen Mary. As the duo landed at Apollo Bunder for their visit to India, this structure became the infamous gateway for their entry into the Indian Subcontinent. That inscription almost faded away with the years was finally able to satisfy my doubt about the great structure. With this new knowledge in mind, I took in a glance at the other landmarks of the area including the Taj Mahal hotel itself. This hotel was built and was commissioned by Sir Jamshedji Tata himself in 1903.
Having spent almost the entire day in the vicinity I decided to wait till the sun set on the western horizon of the Arabian Sea. After capturing the setting sun on my camera I made my way back to CST for my travel back home. This time among the crowd of people returning home from their daily routine.