Mumbai is India’s commercial capital and home to Hindi film industry. Major corporate offices, stock exchange and the national financial centre are all concentrated in South Mumbai. It is here that you will find many heritage buildings from the pre independence era. The buildings have British and European influences. Most of the buildings are maintained well and are being used in day to day activities.
Gateway of India is a major landmark in Mumbai. It was built in 1924 by the British Government. It is located in Apollo Bunder and overlooks Mumbai harbour. The monument was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai. Many years later, the last of the British troops left India through this gateway. It is a popular tourist attraction in the city.
David Sassoon Library is in the historic Kala Ghoda area. The library was built in 1870. It was designed by architects J. Campbell and G. E. Gosling. Above the entrance portico is a white stone bust of David Sassoon, The Merchant Prince of Bombay.
The building is a fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture. Army and Navy building is another imposing stone building which stands next to David Sassoon Library.
Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue was constructed in 1884. The synagogue was designed by Bombay architects Gosling and Morris. It was paid for by the Sassoon family. It is built in the classical revival style. The synagogue is maintained by the dwindling Jewish community in Mumbai and is protected by heavy security.
Built in 1903, Taj Mahal Palace stands opposite the Gateway of India and faces the Arabian Sea. The hotel is a gracious landmark of Mumbai.
The hotel was attacked by terrorists on 26 November 2008. In the attack on Taj, thirty four people were killed. This included hotel guests and employees, terrorists and an army officer. Taj Mahal Palace reopened after restoration on 15 August 2010.
Rajabai Tower is in the Fort campus of University of Mumbai. The clock tower was built in 1878 and is modeled on London’s Big Ben. The huge clock can be seen from far. Rajabai Tower has ornate figures and beautiful stained glass windows. It is named after the mother of Premchand Roychand, a stockbroker, who made liberal donations towards its construction.
Oriental Building overlooks Flora Fountain in the city centre of Mumbai. The building was acquired by Oriental Life Insurance Company and remodelled in 1898. This landmark building now houses the offices of Standard Chartered Bank.
Royal Bombay Yacht Club is located near Apollo Bunder in Mumbai. The Club was founded in 1846 and is the oldest yacht club in Asia. The building is a beautiful Gothic stone structure which was built in 1896. The rooms have high ceilings and there is an ancient elevator. The upper floors offer views of Gateway of India and Mumbai harbour.
Crawford Market is located in a bustling area of Mumbai. It is north of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and opposite the headquarters of Mumbai Police. It was named after Arthur Crawford, the first municipal commissioner of Bombay. The building was completed in 1869 and donated to the city by Cowasji Jehangir. The market has been renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule market.
The HSBC building on Veer Nariman Road is a heritage structure. It was originally built for the British Bank of the Middle East It is a carefully restored neo classical building with basalt and limestone facades.
St. Thomas Cathedral is located on the busy Veer Nariman Road. It is placed midway between Horniman Circle and Flora Fountain. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1676. However the church was consecrated only in 1718. The busy Churchgate station in the vicinity got its name from this church. The interiors of the cathedral reputedly resemble that of St. Thomas Cathedral in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is the main railway station in Mumbai. It was built in 1887 and used to be known as Victoria Terminus. The ornate building was constructed to commemorate the golden jubilee of the ascension to throne of England by Queen Victoria. The main building is made of sandstone and limestone. The interiors are lined with quality Italian marble. The main entrance to CST is flanked by stone figures of a lion and a tiger which represent England and India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Central Railway organises heritage tours of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The tours are conducted between 3 to 5 pm on weekdays. There is an entry fee of Rs. 200.
The terminus was targeted by terrorists in the attacks in Mumbai on 26 November 2008. Two terrorists opened fire from automatic assault rifles and killed 58 people which included railway employees and travelers.