The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai, prior to the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911. However, they only got to see a cardboard model of the structure since the construction did not begin till 1915. The foundation stone was laid on 31 March 1911, by the governor of Bombay Sir George Sydenham Clarke, with the final design of George Wittet sanctioned on 31 March 1913. The gateway was built from yellow basalt and concrete. Between 1915 and 1919, work proceeded at Apollo Bundar (Port) to reclaim the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920, and construction was finished in 1924. The gateway was opened on 4 December 1924, by the viceroy, the Earl of Reading.
The last British troops to leave India following the country's independence, the First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the gateway on their way out in a ceremony on 28 February 1948, signalling the end of British rule.