May 8, 2012

India : Mumbai - Gateway of India

One of the places that you have to go if you visit Mumbai is the Gateway of India. This huge monument was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.

You can't actually walk through the Gateway as it was all closed off due to security restrictions.

The gateway was a hot spot as it was the disembarkation point of the terrorists who attacked Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in 2008. It was also bombed twice in 2003. As a result of that, public movement in the area was restricted where the perimeter was barricaded and there was only one way in and out. There were police personnel guarding the entrance but most of the time, they didn't bother to check the visitors. They just stood there and chitchatted among themselves.

Anyway, the place was quite busy and full of tourists. It was annoying too as many photographers approached me for their instant photo services. I know la I was #foreveralone. -_-

The gateway offers a nice view over the Arabian sea with the speed boats and yachts anchored around. You can also take a ferry to visit Elephanta Island from here.

Directly behind the Gateway is the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the 109-year-old five star hotel. This hotel opened its door in 1903 when its patron, J.N. Tata, an Indian industrialist, decided to build the hotel as an act of revenge after he was refused entry to what was then the best hotel in town, Watson's Hotel. Apparently, Watson's Hotel only welcomed white people back then. I wasn't sure whether or not this story was true. Today, Watson's Hotel is no longer around but the Taj still presides proudly over the seafront.

I was tempted to go inside the hotel and have a look. Being over a century old, it surely has a lot of interesting history. Besides, from outside you can see they have shopping arcades - Louis Vuitton, Dior, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Alfred Dunhill among others. Time to cuci mata. hahahaha...

The security looked strict, but fret not; even if you're not staying at the hotel, you can go in to shop, experience the tea lounge or just relax at the lobby. Beyond that floor, I think you need to spend minimum Rs11000 for a night's accommodation.

A lot of important persons had stayed here.


I saw Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Prince Charles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis... just to name a few.

night view

My hostel was actually located just behind this hotel. So everyday I would go to the Gateway to kill time.  

Ok.. that's all. Time to go to sleep. Good night peeps.


tester said...

the building at the seaside kinda reminds me of venice ;)

rara said... ahh.. i hope i can visit venice one day! :)