Historic Taj to reopen after Mumbai attacks
Mumbai, December 14, 2008
The 105-year-old Taj Mahal hotel, one of two luxury hotels hit by Islamist militants in the Mumbai attacks, is set to reopen its doors on Dec. 21, its owner has announced.
Gunmen took scores of guests hostage and battled commandos inside the flagship hotel of Indian conglomerate Tata Group, as the militants killed 179 people on a three-day rampage in the financial hub last month.
"To reopen the Taj with such speed but with no loss of attention to details, shows our resolve to commemorate all the innocent and brave people who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks," said Raymond Bickson, managing director and chief executive of The Indian Hotels Company, part of Tata.
However, only the new wing of the hotel, known as The Taj Mahal Tower, will open in December, and the company has not said when the older part of sprawling Mumbai landmark would reopen.
Fire, water, shooting and grenade blasts during the 60-hour siege damaged the hotel, which was crowded with fine art, sculptures, chandeliers, photographs, and visitors' books signed by kings, rock stars, business barons and heads of state.
But Taj officials have not quantified the extent of the damage to the hotel, one of 10 sites attacked by the gunmen on Nov. 26-29.
Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group, which also owns several heritage properties in India, has vowed to "rebuild every inch" and "bring back the Taj to its full glory".
Mumbai's luxury Trident hotel which was also attacked by the Islamist gunmen, will also reopen on December 21, according to its owners, which have said it would be as "impeccable" as it was before.
However, the Trident's older Oberoi wing which suffered more extensive damage could take a few months longer to reopen.-Reuters