The luxurious Taj Mahal Palace dates back to the British Raj but was actually built by Indian industrialist Jamsetji Tata. The five-star landmark hotel came under siege for three days during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
Mumbai – Been There

India’s imperial past is still on show in Mumbai

Photo by Tuul and Bruno Morandi

Mumbai – Been There India’s imperial past is still on show in Mumbai

In Mumbai, stroll down the busy shopping precinct of Colaba Causeway to the Gateway of India, retracing my steps to Elphinstone College, my alma mater, in a 500-meter walk that bristles with Raj buildings and has been declared a special heritage zone.

Sheema Mookherjee
Sheema Mookherjee Travel Writer

The Gateway of India is an enormous basalt archway that sits on the harbor front overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built to welcome the arrival of King George V in 1911, it is probably one of the last structures erected to kowtow to a British monarch. However, the regent only got to see its cardboard model, as the final structure was mired in red-tape and completed only in 1924. It still stands as an iconic tourist draw and is dotted by hawkers selling balloons, street snacks and plastic souvenirs.

Facing the gateway square is the Taj Mahal hotel (above), another Mumbai legend built by the wealthy Parsi entrepreneur, Jamsetji Tata in 1903. The Gateway, Leopold Café and Taj hotel are now sadly strung together in public memory due to the three-day siege by the terrorists who killed several innocent people on their premises.

I wend my way past an impressive gallery of buildings: the Police Headquarters, David Sassoon Library, Prince of Wales Museum, and my old Elphinstone College rubbing shoulders with the Mumbai University Building and the High Court. These are just the important edifices, but every other building down this avenue (Mahatma Gandhi Road) displays an architectural style from the early 1800s neo-Classic to the late 1800s Victorian neo-Gothic, and the early 20th century Indo-Saracenic.

The Taj Mahal Hotel is only one of many great getaways in Mumbai. Know more nice hotels in town? Learn more about how to become a TRVL Agent and help other travelers find the best places to stay!

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Members of the Indian Air Force’s Air Warrior Drill Team pose in front of the Gateway of India overlooking Mumbai Harbour. The arch of colonial triumph, which stands at 26 meters high, was built during the British Raj in 1924. Photo by Divyakant Solanki / Alamy

Divyakant Solanki

Divyakant Solanki

Agency
Alamy

Members of the Indian Air Force’s Air Warrior Drill Team pose in front of the Gateway of India overlooking Mumbai Harbour. The arch of colonial triumph, which stands at 26 meters high, was built during the British Raj in 1924.

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