Arrival of Mail Steamer at Apollo Bunder
Today, Apollo Bunder is abuzz with the sound of jetty engines ferrying tourists to and fro. vendors selling everything from peanuts to balloons, amateur photographers trying to make a quick buck and seagulls vying for space amongst the crowds. But once upon a time, the area was known for its calming effect.
The word ‘Apollo is derived from Polle’ of the native Konkani language and corrupted by the English from the Portuguese ‘Pollem’ to Apollo. At first the area was just a maze of docks and wharves. But, in the beginning of 1900, the British government began to reclaim this area in order to build a welcoming arch to receive King George V and Queen Mary during their forthcoming visit.
S V Rajadhakshya, the chief civil engineer (Public Works Department) during the British Raj, built Apollo Bunder in 1908. while George Wittet designed the Gateway of India to commemorate the first-ever visit of a British monarch to India.
Though Apollo Bunder did not have a beach, locals would visit the area to sit on the stone steps and pass their time The British started the practice of military bands entertaining the public at certain locations around town, and the Bunder was one of the popular venues The harbour was much cleaner then than it is now, Ticca Garis, or horse carriages, lined up to take people on rides were a common sight.
Besides recreation, the pier also served an important economic purpose; it was principal pier for embarkation and disembarkation of passengers and goods in the city during the late 19th century. And the harbor, especially during the busy season, would have seen hundreds of wooden ships. and thousands of petty native craft.
Just as iconic as the Gateway came to be in the area, so did the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which stood on what once was a boat basin. The land is owned by the Bombay Port Trust and has been asked out to several occupants