The Clock Tower
It was on March 1, 1869 the first step towards the construction of the Rajabai tower was taken; the foundation stone was laid on this day. The model was based in Sir Gilbert Scott, who was an English architect. Premchand Roychand, an affluent broker who founded the Bombay Stock Exchange, agreed to fund for the construction of the tower. After the monument was built, the total cost was estimated to be Rs.2 lakh, which was an enormous amount in those days.
Rajabai tower owes its name to Premchand's mother, who was a blind woman. As Premchand's family was a strict follower of Jainism, his mother took her dinner before evening and the evening bell of the tower assisted her in determining the time without anyone's help. She would then take the dinner herself. Premchand was the sole contributor for the construction of the tower and hence wanted it to be named after his mother Rajabai.
Architecture and Construction
Rajabai tower has been held high for its astounding architecture. It offers to the viewers a wonderful blend of the Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture. The main material used in its construction is the buff colored Kurla stone, which was easily available in Mumbai those days. The stained glass windows are among its best features and are often considered the best in the city. The ground floor of the tower has two rooms and a winding staircase. The shape of the tower is square from the ground level to the top of the first level, where situates a gallery. Then the tower assumes the shape of an octagon. The tunes of "Rule Britannia", "God Save the King", "Home! Sweet Home!" and "A Handel Symphony" were among the sixteen tunes which were played in during the British era. The tunes were changed four times a day. However, only one tune is played now, once in every fifteen minutes. Also, the tower was closed to the public after several reports of suicidal attempts by many visitors.
Rajabai tower has made its place in the history of India. It was the tallest edifice when it was built. Hence, it has been a priced possession of Mumbai as well the country. The elegance of this clock tower along with its captivating art adds charm to the financial capital of India.