While Mumbai may be known for its Bollywood industry and advancements in lifestyle, today we are going to look back at the times when the city was just in its infancy. During the days before independence, Mumbai was known as only a colonial port city. However, post-independence, the city has improved its economic situation through its advanced industrial capabilities and has gradually secured its foothold as the capital city of India.
The city possesses the richness of its history and culture through the majestic historical monuments which it has been preserving from so long. The opulent structures, prehistoric caves, ancient forts, British architected monuments and royal palaces speak of an era gone by. These archaeological pieces of history serve as the testimonies of Mumbai’s greatness. Every monument you see in the city has a story behind it.
Below are the three famous historical places in Mumbai which one must visit to know about the history of the city in depth.
Gateway of India
One of the important architectural and historical stops, Gateway of India secures its place among the most visited monuments in Mumbai. Constructed since 1924, this approximately 83 feet tall building stands high on Apollo Bunder overlooking the Arabian Sea. The entire monument is built with yellow basalt and solid concrete. The monument symbolizes the commemoration of the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Not only this, the monument is also the centre of attraction because this was the way which last British Force adopted to depart from India forever.
Near to this place, you can find Taj Hotel which is another biggest tourist attraction in Mumbai. Because the monument is situated near the Taj Mahal Hotel, it is also called as Taj Mahal of Mumbai. To visit this monument, there is no specific timing; it is open 24*7 for everyone. However, if you want to enjoy the cool breeze and pleasant weather, you are suggested to visit there post monsoon. Boating and ferry rides are also available which add to the excitement of the place.
Prince of Wales Museum
Built in the early 20th century, this splendid Indo-Saracen structure is regarded as one of the most significant and Grade I heritage buildings of the city. It was named after Prince Wales who visited India in 1905. On November 11, 1905, the foundation of this museum was laid by the Prince Wales and was inaugurated on January 10, 1922 by Lady Lloyd, the wife of Governor of Bombay. This museum is also known as Chhatarpati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya.
Spread over 3 acres land and surrounded by a garden of palm trees and formal flower beds, the museum is located in the centre of the South Mumbai and reveals more than 50,000 ancient artworks, sculptures and artefacts dating back from the Harappan sites, Indian and European paintings, porcelain and ivories from China and Japan, etc. and is divided into three sections- National History, Art and Archaeology. It is located at MG Road in South Mumbai. You can visit here at any time of the year. However, it remains closed on Public Holidays. Every day, a 20 minutes show is conducted here in English and Marathi language which depicts the content history and other details related to the museum.
Among the most enigmatic heritage sites in India and about 10 kilometers east of Gateway Of India stands Elephanta Caves. It is also one of the UNESCO heritage sites and represents the diorama of the Hindu and Buddhist culture. There are carved out stone sculptures inside the caves which showcase the syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist ideas and iconography. The caves are believed to be dated between 5th and 9th century.
To reach there, you have to go hire a ferry from Gateway of India. Since Mumbai welcomes end number of tourists every day, there are chances of not getting the ferry to sail across the sea to reach the destination. Another way to reach the caves is going through the suburban local rail network. You can board on a local train from wherever you are in Mumbai and board off at CST Station. At the caves, you can enjoy boating also. The place is closed on all Mondays and visiting hours are between 9 AM and 5 PM on all the other days.
Wrapping it up
Mumbai has come a long way from being just a city to a city with immense history immersed in it. Therefore, it is not possible to appreciate the beauty of a city if you soak yourself in opulence and grandeur by just visiting the famous historical places in Mumbai. You should know the history, culture and historical significance of its renowned places to fathom the greatness of the city.
In the modern times, Mumbai has become India’s one of the well-established city which is packed with lots of historical sites and tourist destinations in hidden corners or even ordinary locations of the city. Here are a few more historical attractions that have a long history attached to them: Mahim Fort, Kanheri Caves, Mount Mary Church, Asiatic Library, Siddhivinayak Temple etc.
Visit these exquisite places with your friends and family!