From CST to Gateway of India-Walk through the heritage buildings of Mumbai

Write Comment     |     E-Mail To a Friend     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Print
By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

Mumbai, 23 February 2011: For a resident of Mumbai or suburb after alighting from a local train at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) previously known as the Victoria Terminus (VT) walking or commuting by bus or taxi daily to and from his office in South Mumbai may be  a routine exercise. However,  for a tourist, either Indian or  foreign or the connoisseurs of architecture, the walk from CST to the Gateway of India presents a rich experience of the colonial heritage buildings that freezes the vibrant megacity of Mumbai into  the British colonial history.


Ever since my contact with the city of Mumbai since 1960s, i had been fascinated by the architectural splendour   of the public buildings such as the CST, Municipal Corporation building, the University of Mumbai building especially the Rajabhai Tower, the Prince of Wales  Museum building(presently Chatrapati Shivaji Vaasthu Sangrahalaya), the High Court building, the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Gateway of India. Besides these public buildings, the other commercial buildings lining on both sides of the Dadabhai Naoroji Road  from CST till the Gateway of India with their distinct architecture  have been a treat to the lovers of architecture.


Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) emerged as a trading hub for the British in the 19th century. They began constructing Victorian Gothic buildings as symbols of its soaring economic power, with the help of the affluent mercantile community, chiefly the Parsis. Most structures that are synonymous with Mumbai’s Colonial heritage were built in the 19th and 20th centuries. Under the governorship of Henry Bartle Frere (1862-87) and his team of notable British architects, prominent structures like the Afghan Church (1865), Rajabai Tower (1878), Victoria Terminus (1888) and the BMC building (1893) were built. They wanted to make Mumbai the ‘Urbs Prima in Indis’ (India’s first city).


CST Railway Station

At the beginning of the heritage journey in South Mumbai is the Chhatrapati Shivaji  Terminus (CST), popularly known as Bori Bunder and previously called as Victoria Terminus (VT). It is the epitome of Mumbai’s Gothic cityscape and  was a labour of love that took 10 years to complete in 1888. It was named in honour of the reigning British monarch Queen Victoria. Inspired by London’s St. Pancras Station, architect F.W.Stevens fused Indian and Western styles of architecture to construct this magnificent building. The enormous 14-foot high ‘Statue of Progress’ crowning the dome is the work of Thomas Earp, as are the richly carved stone medallions which adorn the front elevation. Pointed arches, Greek columns and minarets, richly decorated wood carvings, tiles, ornamental railings, illustrative panels and sculptures designed by Indian artists make the CST  Mumbai’s finest World heritage building.


Mumbail Municipal Corporation

Just opposite to the CST is the magnificent Mumbai Municipal Corporation building whose foundation stone was laid on 9 December 1884 by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Ripon. The building was constructed in the Gothic style designed by F.W. Stevens and was completed in 1893. The building has a 255 feet tall tower and a vast office complex standing at the apex of two roads opposite the CST.


Capitol Cinema

As one walks down from the CST one cannot escape the sight of the Capitol Cinema building which had been a popular joint for movies in the past and considered to be one of Mumbai’s oldest theatres. Proceeding further one can view the old buildings with colonial Gothic architecture one by one with aesthetically designed facades with tall windows adorned with Greek style pillars, arches of different shapes and sizes.


Flora Fountain, considered to be the ‘heart of South Mumbai’ also known as the Fort area has been named after the famous water fountain built during the British period.  Flora Fountain has been  the architectural heritage monument of Mumbai which is presently known as the Hutatma Chowk (Martyr’s Square). The Flora Fountain that was  built in 1864, is fusion of water, architecture and sculpture, and depicts the Roman goddess Flora. The Flora Fountain, surrounded by the British Victorian era heritage buildings, is very much part of the Chowk and has been declared a heritage structure and it continues to charm visitors with its beauty and with its spray of water.


Army and Navy Building


Siddharth College

Flora Fountain (Hutatma Chowk)

The Flora Fountain was renamed as the Hutatma Chowk in 1960 to commemorate the martyrdom of the brave people who laid their lives in the turbulent birth of Maharashtra State at the square. It is symbolised by an impressive stone statue bearing a pair of torch holding patriots. 

Within short distances, visitors can also see the most impressive institutions and buildings including the Rajabai Tower, the University of Mumbai, the Old Secretariat, the Mumbai High Court, the Central Telegraph Office and many other heritage buildings. St. Thomas Cathedral, the Asiatic Society of Bombay or Town Hall, the Office of the Director General of Police,  the famous Gateway of India, and the Taj Mahaal Hotel.
The Rajbai Tower in front of the Mumbai University library dominates the sky-line of South Mumbai. The famous banker and merchant of the nineteenth century, Seth Premchand Raichand  built the Tower as a memorial  to his beloved mother Rajabai. Designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, the Rajabai Tower  is a mixture of Gothic and early ornamental French style. The Tower is 260 feet high and was completed in the year 1878. The huge clock at the top of the Rajabai Tower still functions and strikes at every fifteen minutes.


Rajabai Tower

Mumbai High Court

Bombay High Court is one of the oldest high courts of India, situated in the Fort area of Mumbai. Its foundation stone was laid down in the year 1871 and it took approximately seven years to complete the construction. The court building was designed by Col. J.A. Fuller, a British engineer, and inaugurated in August, 1862. The first sitting in the Mumbai High Court took place in January 1879. The court has ’Original Jurisdiction’ in Bombay, in addition to the Appellate.

Elphinstone College

Prince of Wales Museum

The Prince of Wales Museum, presently known as Chatrapati Shivaji Vaasthu Sangrahalaya is a repository of Indian history and culture.  The foundation stone for the Prince of Wales Museum building was laid by the then Prince of Wales, who later was crowned as King George V, on his Indian visit in 1905. The Prince of Wales Museum is a vast complex of buildings. It was designed by George Wittet and its construction was completed in  1914. The Museum has an Art section besides Archaeological and Natural History sections. Paintings of Ajanta, Ellora and other historical places are also on view here. The building was converted to a military hospital during World War I and finally opened in 1923 by Lady Lloyd, the wife of Sir George Lloyd, the then Governor of Mumbai.


Gateway of India

No monument exemplifies Mumbai better than the majestic Gateway of India. An architectural gem, the Gateway stands tall at 26metres. Made of yellow basalt and reinforced concrete, the Gateway was built to commemorate the 1911 visit of King George V and Queen Mary. It was one of the last triumphal imperial buildings built in Mumbai. Statues of Chatrapati Shivaji  and Swami Vivekanand have been installed just opposite the Gateway of India. George Wittet, consulting architect to the city of Bombay, was the designer of the last great building of the British rule in Bombay.The design of the Gateway of India is reminiscent of Gujarati architecture with ornate latticework.


Taj Mahal Hotel 

The Taj Mahal Hotel built in 1903 adjacent to the Bombay Yacht Club by Jamshedji  Tata, one of the wealthiest Parsis in the city, a man of enormous power and influence with diverse interests in iron and steel, hydro-electricity, shipping and banking is one of the chief attractions of South Mumbai.  Legend has it that he was refused entry to an exclusive ‘ Whites Only’ hotel and he vowed to build a luxury hotel where Indians and Europeans could mingle freely. The hotel was designed by Indian architects-Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and D.N. Mirza. It is located on a magnificent site, facing the Arabian Sea. The building is reputed to have many features  of Gujarati architecture. However, it is a  blend of different traditions of architecture. It is symmetrical, and over its centre rises a huge red. Each corner has a domed circular tower and the second-to-fourth floors have six projecting canopied balconies. The multi-storeyed new Taj Mahal Hotel building towers over the original Taj Mahal Hotel building.



Comments on this Article
simon.castelino, belle[kalmady[jeddaha] Sat, February-26-2011, 7:05
Very good pictures and nice article. From 1975 to 1981 i used to walk evreaday from CST to Flora Fountain . Now my mind memorey is going 31 years back. Thanks to Dr. Eugene D'souza ,bellevision team .jai amchie mumbai.
Write your Comments on this Article
Your Name
Native Place / Place of Residence
Your E-mail
Your Comment   You have characters left.
Security Validation
Enter the characters in the image above
Disclaimer: Kindly do not post any abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful material or SPAM. reserves the right to block/ remove without notice any content received from users.
GTI MarigoldGTI Marigold
Anil Studio
Badminton Sports AcademyBadminton Sports Academy

Now open at Al Qusais

Veez Konkani IllustratedVEEZ Konkani

Weekly e-Magazine

New State Bank of India, Customer Service Point
Cool House ConstructionCool House Construction
Uzvaad FortnightlyUzvaad Fortnightly

Call : 91 9482810148

Your ad Here
Power Care
Ryan Intl Mangaluru
Ryan International
pearl printing

Konkani Literature World