Rajabai Tower is situated within the premises of the Fort campus of the Mumbai University. It is basically a clock tower that rises to a height of 85 m (280 ft) and houses the University Library. The tower has been modeled after the Big Ben Clock Tower of the UK houses of Parliament, situated in London, and was built as per the designs of Sir George Gilbert Scott, an English architect. It was in March 1869 that the foundation stone of the Rajabai Clock Tower of Bombay was laid down.
The construction was completed in November 1878, nine year after its commencement. Even in those days, the cost of the monument came to somewhere about 2 lakh rupees (Rs 200,000). Premchand Roychand, the broker who founded the Bombay Stock Exchange, bore the entire cost of the Rajabai Clock Tower. In return, the only thing he wanted was that the tower be named after his mother, Rajabai.
The architecture of Rajabai Clock Tower presents a beautiful amalgamation of Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture. The material used in its construction is the buff colored Kurla stone, easily available in Mumbai. One of the most impressive features of the tower comprises of its stained glass windows, believed to be the best in the city. When the Rajabai Tower was constructed, it was the tallest structure in the entire city of Mumbai.
The ground floor of the tower has two rooms, along with a spiral staircase. The tower has a square shape towards the bottom, which continues upto the gallery at the top of the first level – 68 feet from the ground. From a square, Rajabai Clock Tower then takes the shape of an octagon. The total height of the tower is around 280 feet. Earlier, the tower was open for public viewing. However, after a number of suicides were attempted from here, it was closed down.
Rajabai Clock tower chimes a single tune after every fifteen minutes. During the British rule, the tower used to play sixteen different tunes, like “Rule Britannia”, “God Save the King” and “A Handel Symphony”, etc.