Mumbai is undeniably a land of contrasts. The rich and famous live just minutes from overcrowded slums, while sparkling sky-scrapers tower over charming art deco temples. One unmistakeable product of this diversity is a broad range of amazing architecture. Here are five architectural wonders you simply shouldn’t miss on your next Mumbai holiday.
Start your architectural discovery of Mumbai with a visit to the Gateway of India, a grand archway-style monument on the waterfront at Wellington Pier. The structure was completed in 1924 and interestingly combines Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. It was built to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary when they visited Bombay in 1911.
Having been colonised by the British and strongly influenced by other European countries, when you travel to Mumbai you will see it is home to numerous examples of Gothic architecture, particularly its own unique brand known as “Bombay Gothic”. A classic example of this is the Bombay High Court, a stunning black stone building with octagonal towers, situated in the Fort precinct of Mumbai. Completed in 1878, this beautiful building marks an important piece of Mumbai’s administrative and architectural history.
In 1995, the city of Bombay was renamed Mumbai. However, as the oldest and most distinguished legal building in India, the Bombay High Court retained its name.
Constructed in 1905, the Taj Mahal Palace is a five-star hotel with a rich history and one of Mumbai’s most famous exteriors. The palace building combines Moorish and Byzantine architectural styles with more modern European influences, resulting in a unique and utterly impressive structure. The hotel has hosted such high profile guests as The Beatles, Barrack Obama, Angelina Jolie, Mick Jagger and the King and Queen of Norway.
In stark contrast to the medieval aura of the High Court building are the glistening residential towers of the Imperial. Completed in 2010, these two towers stand some 254 metres high, making them Mumbai’s tallest buildings. This title won’t last long, however, with monster skyscrapers like World One and Orchid Crown nearing completion.
Another common architectural theme throughout Mumbai is the Art Deco style, particularly prominent in many of the city’s cinemas. The best known of these is the iconic Eros Cinema, completed in 1938. The cream coloured building is faced with red Agra sandstone and boasts an elegant marble interior with eye-catching murals and gold decorations.
Author:Simon Byrne+ has a lifelong fascination with visiting new destinations and learning as much as possible about each one’s culture and history. Getting lost in the middle of an entirely foreign metropolis is Simon’s idea of a true adventure.