This bold basalt arch of colonial triumph faces out to Mumbai Harbour from the tip of Apollo Bunder. Incorporating Islamic styles of 16th-century Gujarat, it was built to commemorate the 1911 royal visit of King George V, but wasn’t completed until 1924. Ironically, the British builders of the gateway used it just 24 years later to parade the last British regiment as India marched towards independence.
These days, the gateway is a favourite gathering spot for locals and a top place for people-watching. Giant-balloon sellers, photographers, vendors making bhelpuri (puffed rice tossed with fried rounds of dough, lentils, onions, herbs and chutneys) and touts rub shoulders with locals and tourists, creating all the hubbub of a bazaar. In February/March they are joined by classical dancers and musicians who perform during the Elephanta Festival.
Boats depart from the gateway’s wharves for Elephanta Island.