REPORT ON TAJ HÔTEL Aman Manas Abhishek Shilpa Kailash
THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE & TOWER
Prestigious luxury hotel, Colaba, Mumbai.
Situated next to the Gateway of India.
Part of the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces.
Is an iconic 105-year old heritage building retains its stature as the flagship property of the group and contains 565 rooms.
The hotel has hosted a long list of notable guests including Mick Jagger, Jacques Chirac, The Duke & Duchess of Kent, Joan Collins, The King & Queen of Norway, Marianne Faithfull, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Beatles, Bill Clinton and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and also caters to professional cricket teams on tour.
From an historical and architectural point of view, The Taj Mahal Palace and the Tower are two distinct buildings, built at different times and in different architectural designs.
Commissioned by Jamsedji Tata and first opened its doors to guests on December 16, 1903.
Was build after Tata was refused entry to one of the city's grand hotels of the time, Watson's Hotel, as it was restricted to 'whites only'.
The cost of construction was £250000 (£127 million today).
During World War I, the hotel was converted into a 600-bed hospital.
The dome of the hotel is made from the same steel as used in the Eiffel Towers.
The hotel was the first in India to install and operate a steam elevator.
There used to be a Green's Hotel at the Apollo Bunder, which was purchased by the Taj Mahal Hotel. It was at the Green's Hotel, that a small group of pro-Indian Goans (largely employees of the Indian state and communists) assembled and formed the Goan Liberation Council demanding that Portugal cede Goa to India, in the 1950s. This was done at the instigation of Jawaharlal Nehru, and funded by the Kamani Group of Companies.
In 1973, Green's hotel was demolished and the present Tower wing was constructed in its place.
THE SIEGE AT TAJ HERITAGE
60 hours of siege at Taj left 195 people dead and hundreds injured.
At the Taj, the gunmen broke in room after room and shot occupants at point-blank range. Some were shot in the back. At the Oberoi Hotel, the second luxury hotel to be attacked, one gunman chased diners up a stairwell and at one point turned around and shot dead an elderly man standing behind him.
It took Indian security forces nearly three days to eliminate the last of the attackers, who were holed up in the iconic Taj Mahal palace hotel.
WEDNESDAY 26 NOVEMBER
2120-0100: At least seven gunmen enter the lobby of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where about 450 people are staying, and begin firing. Large fire reported.
THURSDAY 27 NOVEMBER
0100-0400: Indian army in running battles with militants at the two hotels. Small groups of guests manage to escape.
0245: A group calling itself the "Deccan Mujahedeen" claims responsibility for the attacks.
1030: Army says it is doing room-by-room searches of Taj but explosions still heard at both hotels.
FRIDAY 28 NOVEMBER
0230: Gunfire and loud explosions still being heard from the Taj and the Jewish centre, Nariman House.
1300: Indian commandos report 30 bodies in one Taj hall.
1830: Security operations still continue at the Taj although there is much less gunfire
SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER
04:30: Renewed explosions and gunfire are heard from inside the Taj.
0730: Fire breaks out on the lower floors of the Taj. Shortly afterwards Indian television reports that the siege is over.
0850: Indian police declare the Taj Mahal siege over, with the deaths of three gunmen.
Commentators have described the assault as "India's 9/11", in reference to the suicide plane attacks on the US in 2001.
The claim of responsibility was made by an unknown Islamic militant group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen - a reference to a mainly Muslim region of India.
Indian media have named the surviving gunman as Azam Amir Qasab, a Pakistani.
They were not from India, and had trained in and were carrying stuff - AK-56, AK-47 and 9mm revolvers and hand grenades possibly of Chinese make.
They were told that their work was to "take hostages for safe passage". He also told them their aim was to "create an international incident, and anything big in Mumbai would be noticed all over the world".
The hotel, one of India's grandest, had fallen silent after three nights of constant gunfire and grenade blasts from gunmen and commandos.
Parts of the majestic old wing of the hotel were gutted. Dark soot enveloped the brown brick and stone walls. Even the windows in a small section of a part of the second storey had been charred.
Nobody knows quite how much of the hotel's elaborate décor - alabaster ceilings, hand woven silk carpets, a rare art collection - has survived the siege.
"It will be a while until we come to terms with the damage inside," said a harried hotel employee, who refused to give his name.
The siege of the Taj Mahal hotel may be over, but the body count and the estimation of damage inside has just begun.
It may be several months, even a year, before Mumbai's proudest landmark on the sea comes alive again.