More than a 100 years old, Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel is a unique institution and the terrorist attack on it on November 26, precisely 10 years ago, impacted the psyche of Indians, especially Mumbaikars. However, Ratan Tata was determined to not only restore the structure but also send out a message that the terrorists had failed to kill the spirit of Mumbai.
Even though the Taj was reopened a month after it was attacked, it took 21 months to restore the iconic hotel to its glory. The cost of reconstruction is estimated to be $38 million. The 26/11 attack severely damaged the heritage wing of the hotel. Thus, that part of the hotel opened in phases.
As part of the restoration project, the iron pillars of the grand ballroom got a golden touch, luxury suites were completely revamped; and the domed palace wing of the hotel got back its radiance. That’s not all.
Also to avoid such an attack, security systems at the hotel too were upgraded. The Taj Mahal Palace now has a modern security system.
In an interview prior to the reopening of the Taj Mahal Palace, Ratan Tata who had promised to build every inch of the hotel had said: “This flagship property, this venerable Old Lady, is going to reopen in the same glory, the same splendor of more than 100 years.”
On November 26, 2008, at least 31 lives were lost and another 28 injured at the hotel.
Ratan Tata had dedicated the restored hotel to those who were killed in the 26/11 attack. In 2009, he had unveiled a 12-foot high memorial which bears the names of the 31 employees and guests killed in the attack.
After the three-day-long siege in 2008, the Taj stood in ruins. The hotel's walls was bullet-riddled and its domes and spires stayed ablaze even after the attack. But when the Taj resumed operations, it opened with more radiance than ever, making it loud and clear that people of India cannot be knocked down so easily.
Ratan Tata's did ensure the "venerable Old Lady" reopened with the same glory and splendor it radiated for over a 100 years.