Like your colonialism big and pompous and bold? Nobody did it better (or worse) than the British in India. The Gateway of India was built in 1924 to commemorate a visit by the King and Queen of England. Today, standing a stone’s throw from the Prince of Wales/Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, the Gateway and the surrounding plaza is more just a gathering spot for tourists and locals alike.
A word of caution: I had a fantastic time in India, but the area immediately around the Gateway was the one place I felt a bit uncomfortable. There are tons of touts who will try and get you to buy sex or drugs, and a hundred different scams going on that are basically distractions for the little pickpockets (as in, no more than seven or eight years old) who are there in abundance. Wallet in your front pocket and purse carried in both your hands, please.
Right across from the Gateway and mirroring it’s grandeur (or pretension) is the Taj Mahal Hotel. The legend goes that an Indian businessman was once denied entry to Mumbai’s finest British-run hotel, so he decided to build his own five-star accommodation.
Behind the gateway boats and ferries wait for passengers to nearby Elephanta Island.
The inscription of the Gateway itself.
It’s just about the most tourist-y thing you can do in Mumbai but it was definitely worth a look. And if you can find it not far away, grab a cold drink at the Alps Beer Bar. Nothing like Kingfisher on a hot day.