The Gateway of India was built in 1924 by the English colonial rulers and commemorates the visit of King George V to Bombay, as the city was called by then. The archway was designed by George Wittet, who previously built the Prince of Wales Museum. For the British, the port of Bombay was the gate to India.The Gateway of India also symbolizes the end of the British rule over the Indian subcontinent, as the last British soldiers left India here in 1948. Today the Gateway of India is the symbol of Mumbai.
The ferries to Elephanta Island leave from the pier next to the gate.
Elephanta Island is an island in Mumbai Bay that was formerly connected to the mainland. Buddhist monks founded a monastery here as early as the 3rd century BC. The name Elephanta Island was created by the Portuguese because there was a stone elephant at the pier. The Hindu Elephanta Caves were created between the 5th and 8th centuries AD. In the caves you can see sensational Hindu sculptures. The Shiva shrine is located in the main hall. Numerous sculptures depict the god of destruction and creation. One of the most beautiful reliefs is the Ardhanarishwar Shiva in the back of the main hall. It shows Shiva half as a man (right) and half as a woman (left). The figure with only one breast was wrongly interpreted by the Europeans as an Amazon. Another famous relief shows the Wedding of Shiva and Parvati. All representations in the Elephanta Caves have to do with Shiva and Hinduism.
In 1987 the Elephanta Caves were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are five caves, but not all of them are open. It is dark in the caves, light only shines through the openings into the interior. You should take some time so that your eyes can get used to the darkness.
From the Gateway of India ships go to Elephanta Island. Beware: There are many thirsty monkeys on the island that try to steal water bottles. Since monkeys can transmit rabies, you shouldn't get involved in a fight.
The Jumma Masjid Mosque was completed in 1802 and later on extended to a building complex. Inside, there is a column surrounded by water a tank with goldfish. The Crawford Market is close to the mosque, so the streets in the area are very busy.
The trainstation Victoria Terminus was built in 1888. 1996 the station was renamed Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The British architect Stevens united Gothic and Indian Mughal architecture to create this majestic monument, which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
Jainism is a religion with relatively few believers who live mainly in India. Jainism originated about 600 v. Chr. and developed like Hinduism and Buddhism from Brahmanism. Jainism is based on the belief in karma and the purification of the soul through strict asceticism. In Mumbai there are some magnificently decorated Jain temples, like the Shri Adhishewarji Temple.
The 173 m high residential tower which was named after the mythical island of Antilia, is the most expensive single family house in the world. The owner Mukesh Ambani is considered to be India's richest man and his wife Nita, had the idea to build this tower. The architects of Perkins & Will from Chicago designed the building. The 27 storey tower was completed in 2011. The construction costs, for the approximately 37,000 square meters, are estimated at around $ 70 million.
In honor of Saint Haji Ali who deceased on his way back from Mecca, this mosque and dargah (shrine) was built on a small island, which is connected by a bridge to the mainland. Don't be surprised, when the water around the Island is very dirty. It's still worth going there.
Welcome to Mumbai
The largest city in India has a urban populations of almost 20 million. The old name "Bombay" originates from the Portuguese, who were the first Europeans to built up a trading port named "Bom Bahia" in 1534. The Portuguese had to hand over the colony to the British in 1662, who changed the name to "Bombay". Since 1995, the city is officially called "Mumbai" after the city goddess "Mumbadevi".