Chhatrapati Shivaji, once known as the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai

Wonder at the eclectic architectural styles of India's largest city

Bombay Gothic Tour

The essence of a Bombay Gothic Tour

Mumbai, once fondly called Bombay, is the largest city in India, home to over 18 million people. The city is a melting pot of beliefs, cultures, languages and religions. This blending of influences extends to the city’s rich architectural legacy. The city is filled with architectural gems influenced by styles that include Gothic, Victorian, Indo-Saracenic, Art Deco and contemporary. Gothic architecture originated in India under the British Raj or Crown Rule during the mid-19th century. It became popular in Britain and naturally crossed over to India, where British architects chose to practice their new art form on Indian soil. The Gothic style is dramatic, with split facades and deep shadings, embellished with etchings and engravings, as well as multi-coloured stained glass windows.

Indian architects combined British Gothic with contemporary elements to create Bombay Gothic, taking into consideration the country’s climate, culture and spirit. Walk along the bustling streets of the richest city in India, passing the Old Bombay Fort area, and marvel at prime examples of this unique style, such as the Convocation Hall at Bombay University, conceived by Sir Gilbert Scott, the best known Gothic architect of his time, and funded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir, a prominent opium trader. Other noted examples are Bombay City Hall, Saint Xavier’s College, the Secretariat, the Telegraph Office and the railway station of Chhatrapati Shivaji, once known as the Victoria Terminus. The mid 1800s saw many changes, as Indian merchants became wealthy from the opium trade and the cotton boom. Many of them attempted to make their mark on Mumbai by employing British architects to construct buildings in their honour, using the most preferred styles of the British Empire.

In the summer of 2018 the “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai” were finally anointed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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