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The Story of Taj Mahal Palace & Tower

Updated on June 19, 2020
Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, Mumbai
Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, Mumbai


The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower is a prestigious luxury hotel located in the Colaba region of Mumbai, India beside the Gateway of India. Located in the historic city of Mumbai, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is an architectural landmark with a rich history. This iconic 116-year old heritage underlines the legacy of Indo-Saracenic architecture. It contains 565 rooms. The Taj Mahal Palace and the Tower are two distinct buildings and also both were built at different periods and in different architectural styles as well.

The hotel has hosted a long list of most famous guests including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jacques Chirac, The King & Queen of Norway, The Prince of Wales, Roger Moore, Joan Collins and it is also the home for international cricket teams on tour.

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel resort was commissioned by Jamshedji Tata and was opened to guests on 16 December 1903.


There is a widely spread story that Jamshedji Tata decided to build the luxurious hotel after he was refused entry to one of the city's then grand hotels, Parke's Apollo Hotel, as it was reserved to whites (mostly british) only. Another belief is that the Taj was built as a result of the request of the editor of the then Times of India who felt a hotel worthy of Bombay was needed.


The Taj Hotel was designed by an Indian architects, Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and D. N. Mirza. When Vaidya died, the British architect W.A. Chambers completed the project. Most of the Hotel reflects Vaidya's original plans. The cost of construction was £250000 (£127.5 million now). During the First World War, the hotel was converted and used as a 600-bed hospital. The dome of the hotel is made from the same steel used in the EiffelTower as Tata imported the same steel during that time. This was the first Indian hotel to install and run a steam elevator.

The tall building in behind the TajMahalPalace is the tower wing of the Taj Mahal Hotel. Designed by American architect Melton Bekker and was constructed in 1970s. Jointly, the Taj Hotels are known as the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower.

The side of the hotel seen from the harbour is actually its rear. The front faces away to the west. The hotel was built facing inland, possibly to allow the vehicles of guests to to approach the hotel from the city easily. Four decades ago, the old front was closed off, and since then, access has been made through the harbour-side entrance.


The Terrorist attack on 26th November 2008 was a black page in the hotel’s history. The hotel was attacked as part of a Pakistani terrorist attack in Mumbai, during which material damage occurred including the destruction of the roof of the hotel in the subsequent hours . At least 167 people were killed in the attacks and nearly 300 people wounded. However, the hotel was re-opened on 21 December 2008, just within 25 days of the attack, and is presently operating as before. Simultaneously a revamp costing 100 million dollars in under progress.


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