Historic Monuments in Mumbai that are almost 100 years old and still functional.
We all know that Mumbai is the Financial Capital of India. Well, it must be. Ever since, the inception of Foreign trade, Mumbai has been a hub for commerce. This British East India Co. first occupied Mumbai in 1668 as a major port. And, in just a span of 7 years, the population of Bombay grew from a mere 10,000 to 60,000. Hence, changing the headquarters of the East India Co. from Surat to Mumbai. This transition increased the cultural value of Mumbai. Therefore, resulting in the construction of several historical monuments in Mumbai under the Industrial Revolution.
Now, coming to present-day Mumbai, there are a lot of people migrating to this city, especially the youth. And, they have one complaint that Mumbai neither has history nor any historical monument(s) of significance. Well, the only thing this migrant youth doesn’t realize is that from all the historical monuments in Mumbai, the majority of them are still functional; not just some tourist spots.
So, this article is a list of historical monuments in Mumbai. These buildings or structures are almost 100 years old or more than that. Some of them are tourist spots while others are still functional with heavy footfall every day.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was built in 1887. The construction process lasted for nine long years. The station was built as Victoria Terminus, marking 50 years of Queen Victoria’s Rule. This railway station is the identity of ‘Mumbai City’ across the world.
The name of the station was changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in March 1996. And in 2017, the name was again changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. This 133-year-old station is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Over the years, minor renovations are done on the monument. However, the major architectural design remains the same.
The station is still functional. There are 18 platforms from which 7 serve to the functioning of the Mumbai Local. Whereas, the remaining 11 platforms allow the boarding of outstation trains. Since we travel to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus quite frequently. We fail to realize that it’s one of the many historical monuments in Mumbai.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Building
Right opposite to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the BMC building stands tall. This building serves as the headquarters of BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation). The design and architectural vision of this building are mesmerizing. Considering the fact that the monument was built in 1893, the V-shaped building is still standing tall. BMC is the civic body that governs Mumbai.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation building is one of the historical monuments in Mumbai. It’s sad that it doesn’t feature on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site; however, it’s a Grade IIA Heritage building.
Fun fact: BMC is the richest municipal corporation in India.
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India sits on the coast of the Arabian Sea at Wellington Pier (formerly known as Apollo Bunder) in Mumbai. This magnificent historical monument was built in 1924. The original idea was to commemorate the arrival of King-Emperor George V and Queen-Empress Mary, the first monarch to visit India. The scheduled arrival was in December 1911.
Gateway of India is 85 feet tall and made of basalt. During the British rule in India, this monument was used as a symbolic ceremonial entrance to accolade important colonial personnel of British India.
Nowadays, it’s the pride of every Mumbaikar, whereas, the original idea was to symbolize ‘Conquest and Colonial Rule.’ Nevertheless, Mumbaikars still love it. A must-visit historical monument in Mumbai.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel features a delicate essence of Indo-Gothic architecture. The hotel is owned by Tata Group’s Chairman, Ratan Tata. The investment and ownership of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai has always been in the Tata family, who also commissioned the building of this hotel. Its gates were opened for the public in 1903.
This historical monument was a prime target during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. There was an impeccable loss of life and property during those 72 darkest hours. Nevertheless, the hotel is still functioning and serving customers gracefully as always.
The hotel is exactly located opposite the Gateway of India. Many photographers often capture the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in a single frame. These shots are regularly picturized in Bollywood movies.
Shri Siddhivinayak Temple, Prabhadevi
Shri Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai is one of the oldest holy places in the city. The temple was originally built in November 1801. It has already been over 200 years and the temple is still a peaceful doorway for millions of devotees.
The temple was built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil. Then, the temple was a small mandap with a shrine of Siddhivinayak. However, with the collection of donations, the tiny place of worship transformed into the grand temple. Siddhivinayak is one of the richest temples in India.
Over the years, there have been a lot of renovations and structural changes. But the purpose is still the same, the motive is still the same. Hence, it’s one of the many historical monuments in Mumbai.
Mahalaxmi Mandir, Worli
Mahalaxmi Mandir is a temple dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi. It is situated on the banks of the Arabian Sea at Worli. Although the entrance is from Bhulabhai Desai Road in Mahalaxmi. It is one of the oldest temples in the city.
The temple was built in 1831 by Dakhji Dadaji. It’s famous amongst the tourists and locals alike. This temple has a canteen in the backyard where most of the devotees usually end up having their after-prayer snacks. Being, a Hindu temple, only vegetarian snacks are available.
The temple is more than 170 years old, adding to our list of historical monuments in Mumbai.
Haji Ali Dargah, Worli
Haji Ali Dargah is situated on an islet off the coast of Worli in the Arabian Sea. The monument was built in memory of a wealthy Muslim merchant turned saint, Sayyed Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari or Uzbekistan.
This historical monument is over 500 years old and still standing strong. The Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431, 589 years ago; one-and-a-half-century prior to the opening of the East India Co. in India.
The monument is an excellent gem of Indo-Islamic architecture. The significance of Haji Ali in the Islamic religion is significant. The tomb (dargah) of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari is here.
Mount Mary Church, Bandra
Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, popularly known as Mount Mary Church is at Bandstand in Bandra, Mumbai. The current structure of the church/basilica is just over 100 years old, however, the original chapel was built in the 16th century.
During the Maratha raids of the 1730s, the church was destroyed. The gates of the rebuilt church have been wide open for people from all religions since 1904. Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount holds importance in Mumbai’s life. This not only gives faith to a particular community but also ensures religion and co-existence.
Castella de Aguada, popularly known as Bandra Fort is a Portuguese monument at Land’s End in Bandra. The fort was built in the mid-1500s by the Portuguese after defeating Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. This fort is more than 400 years old and still stands tall, facing the Arabian Sea to the west. Thus, making it one of the many historical monuments in Mumbai.
The fort is now a popular tourist spot as well as a hangout spot amongst college kids. The fort attracted eyes in today’s youth after featuring on the silver screen. Many films like Wanted, Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na, 102 Not Out, etc. were shot at this fort.
Not many Mumbaikars are familiar with its history. However, today, it’s a sight-seeing point displaying a magnificent view of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
Gloria Church, Byculla
Gloria Church in Byculla was built just over a century ago in 1913. The church is very popular amongst the Franciscan society in Mumbai. The architecture of this church is a classic English Gothic Style.
There is not much to tell about this church other than it’s featured in some of the classic Bollywood movies. For instance, the church scenes in Manmohan Desai’s Amar Akbar Anthony were shot here.
The monument is 100 years old, still stands tall and serving as a place of worship to thousands of believers. Hence, a historical monument in Mumbai.
Godiji Jain Temple, Pydhonie
Godiji Jain Temple, also known as Godiji Jain Derasar is located at Pydhonie in Mumbai. The temple was built in 1813 by Nemchand and Modishah. This two-hundred-year-old temple was originally built of wood and bricks; however, it was reconstructed to form a three-story marble structure in 1989.
Although, the look and feel of the temple have changed. But the belief says that the idol of Godiji Parshwanath, 23rd Tirthankar of Jainism is just the same.
Every year thousands of Jain pilgrims visit this temple to celebrate its accolade as one of the historical monuments in Mumbai.
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai, popularly known as Crawford Market is an important market in Mumbai. The market was built in 1869 and named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai.
This market is still functional. The main items to shop at Crawford Market are party decorations, Chinese toys, toiletries, etc. However, Crawford Market is a selling place for wholesalers rather than retailers. Nevertheless, retail trade is carried out just like wholesale.
To be honest, from my personal experiences, one thing is set in every businessman’s mind, “Do not let go of any business.”
Enough said about the market, it’s a historical monument in Mumbai representing Norman and Flemish architectural styles. There is repair and maintenance work throughout the year, but the market is always open, except Tuesdays (Weekly Shutdown).
Elephanta caves are located on an island 10 km from the coast of Mumbai. These caves date back to the 5th century, making them the oldest piece of history in Mumbai.
The site consists of 5 Hindu Caves. The rock-cut stone sculptures in the caves are mainly dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva.
The sculptures are majorly damaged and deface, except for a few. The name of the island was given by the Portuguese when they discovered Elephant statues on the island.
Elephanta Caves were incorporated in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1987. Currently, these caves are open for tourists and are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Although these caves date back to the 5th century; they were built by humans, making them another historical monument in Mumbai.
Babulnath is an ancient temple in Mumbai dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built in 1890 by Hindu merchants and the Gujarati community.
The temple is near Girgaum Chowpatty on a small hillock. There are not many historical texts because the yogis used to visit the temple mainly for bhang and ganja – considered to be offerings to Lord Shiva.
Nevertheless, it’s a historical monument in Mumbai that rose to prominence in the 20th century. And, well worthy of being on this list.
Mumba Devi Mandir
Mumba Devi Mandir is an old temple dedicated to the goddess Mumba. The mandir (temple) is in the Kalbadevi area of South Mumbai. This mandir was constructed in 1635, and since then, it has seen a lot of ups and downs. However, the faith of devotees remains solid even today.
The name of the city, Mumbai is derived from this temple and its resting goddess. Mumba was referred to as Aai (mother) by the local citizens of the island – hence the name: Mumbai-Aai. Yes, the story seems a bit weird and fast-forwarded; however, it’s a famous Hindu legend.
As such this historical monument has no significance, but it’s an important landmark in Mumbai.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya, quite frequently known as The Prince of Wales Museum is another historical monument from the British era.
The museum was established in 1922, 98 years ago. However, the Prince of Wales, later to be King George V laid the founding stone in November 1905. The monument excellently portrays the Western Indian style of architecture with a garden of palm trees and a formal spread of flowers.
The museum features artefacts from various eras of Indian history: Gupta, Indus Valley Civilization, Maurya and Mughals are to name a few. It’s a must-visit tourist spot for all Mumbaikars. It’s a place where you come to know your origin and fascinate yourselves.
Also, there is a short film about a brief timeline of Mumbai that is not to be missed.
Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court is one of the oldest High Courts in India. The significance of this legislative body is huge as it serves the jurisdiction of Maharashtra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
It was built in 1878. The construction still stands tall with minute repair and maintenance work. Nonetheless, the design and foundation of the building are still the same.
This building is still functional under the label of Bombay High Court. Not a tourist spot, but, definitely a spot for notorious criminals and frauds.
University of Mumbai, Fort
The University of Mumbai’s building in Fort is one of the oldest educational building in India.
When the nation was planning for a revolt, some British officials and powerful Indians were keen on knowledge. The University of Mumbai was established in 1857 at Fort in South Mumbai.
The campus is huge serving as the administrative headquarters of the university. The building of the university displays fine Gothic style architecture. The University’s building is older than 150 years. Hence, it’s worthy of a historical monument in Mumbai.
Rajabai Clock Tower
The campus of the University of Mumbai features an 85-feet tall clock tower, called as Rajabai Clock Tower.
Nowadays, we all carry a mobile phone that shows us the time. However back in the 1850s, pocket watches were a luxury. So, the usefulness of this clock tower was huge. Hence, it was an important aspect of stating the location is on the campus of the University of Mumbai.
The clock tower was built along with the building and still serves a magnificent landmark in the city. However, with the advancement of technology, the use of this clock tower has significantly reduced. Now, it’s just a historical monument in Mumbai.
Churchgate is the first station of the Western Line of the Mumbai Local Railway network. The station was built in 1867; twenty years prior to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. However, the operations of the central line of Mumbai local were from Ballard Pier.
Nonetheless, Churchgate station is more than 150 years old. There are some changes like increasing the length of the platform and the addition of foot-over bridges. However, the station’s significance remains the same. It’s a gem and we never notice it. Another ignored piece in our daily life. So, it’s fair to say that Churchgate Station is a historical monument in Mumbai.
Well, the list ends here. Turns out Mumbai has a lot of history. But, we never fail to compliment it as the Financial Capital; and all of us want to make something of ourselves. But first, let’s take a look at the city that has its own history. We are just too ignorant to notice it.
Do let us know in the comments about any other historical monuments in Mumbai.