Mumbai's Taj - from icon
of grace to symbol of terror
Nov 27 (IANS) The iconic Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel
in Mumbai, that had over the decades hosted world leaders
and royalty and was feted for its heritage building, Thursday
became the symbol of a nation under attack as armed terrorists
laid siege to it.
will rebuild every inch that has been damaged in this attack
and bring back the Taj to its full glory," the Taj group
of hotels said on its website as news came in of the hotel's
two buildings, which have 565 rooms, being extensively damaged
in the attack.
in 1903, the hotel was a treasure trove of valuable paintings
and works of art. It was decorated with Belgian crystal chandeliers,
hand-woven silk carpets and antique furniture - many of which
are believed to have been destroyed in the terror attack.
old wing, especially the sixth and seventh floors, has suffered
severe damage. The famous presidential suite is on the sixth
floor. The central and western domes of the building have
also been badly burned," a Taj hotel official told IANS.
old wing of the hotel has borne the brunt of the attack by
terrorists Wednesday night. A blast was heard inside the building
and it was seen being engulfed by fire and thick smoke. This
portion of the hotel houses the ballroom as well as other
banquet halls like the Crystal Room, Golden Room and the Princess
Room. A speciality Indian cuisine restaurant called Masala
Craft is also in the old wing.
of Mumbai's best known police officers - Hemant Karkare, Ashok
Kamte and Vijay Salaskar - were killed in the hotel while
leading from the front in the battle against the terrorists.
Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP N.N. Krishnadas, who was
dining at the Taj hotel when terrorists struck, recalled being
trapped during the night of horror, which saw 101 people being
killed as terrorists struck at over seven places in south
was having dinner with some of my colleagues when two masked
militants barged into the restaurant. They fired indiscriminately,
I saw three people being shot. The terrorists left the room
soon after that," Krishnadas said.
hotel staff rushed us into another room after the terrorists
moved out of the restaurant. We stayed there through the night.
In the morning, commandos rescued us," he added.
Krishnadas and some others were rescued Thursday morning,
many guests continued to be trapped inside the hotel till
afternoon. They were freed after security forces battled with
the guests, most hotels staff were stuck inside the building.
All the people who were working till late Wednesday night
at the Oxford House, which is a Taj Hotels group office complex
behind the old portion of the Taj hotel, were stuck there,"
the hotel official said.
office of the hotel's managing director as well as the corporate
sales and marketing departments are located in the new tower
of the hotel, which suffered lesser damage than the old wing.