Taj restaurants, bar to reopen after a year

Taj restaurants, bar to reopen after a year


This wing was damaged badly during those fateful hours, as the police, then the marine commandos and later the NSG team battled four hardened Pakistani terrorists to reclaim this place and rescue visitors as well as hostages inside.

While two terrorists had entered from the front, two others had opened fire at the Cafe Leopald in Colaba and then stormed into this most luxurious hotel in the country by making entry from behind. It was around 9:15 pm on November 26 last year that the attack had begun, and lasted for 62 hours when the last terrorist was finally gunned down by the NSG commandos.

When DCP Vishwas Nagre Patil, who is in-charge of Zone I South Mumbai, entered the hotel along with a few constables, he saw people lying in a pool of blood in Shamiana, the coffee shop on the ground floor. The terrified guests and visitors were hiding wherever they could find place to slip in, such as cupboards and small shops.

First glimpse
Taj General Manager Karambir Kang guided the DCP to the CCTV room from where the police had the first glimpse of the four armed terrorists, kicking the doors and firing bullets inside the hotel. An explosion caused by a grenade brought the ceiling of the CCTV room crashing down. There was complete darkness, which helped the police to save most of the guests, but also gave advantage to the terrorists to hide and fire.
DCP Patil immediately informed his higher ups for reinforcements. An SRP battalion was there, but then it was no match for the sophisticated weapons and special training which the terrorists had got.

It was then the marine commandos entered the hotel, relieving the police force. The next day the NSG team descended to take on the terrorists. Since then, the heritage wing of the hotel has been closed for repairs. The adjacent wing, the Taj Mahal Towers, suffered little damage and was reopened on December 21, 2008, barely 25 days after the siege had ended.

However, all eyes were on the heritage section and the management is now opening two restaurants and a bar in this section. The rooms, ballroom, and all grand suites in the heritage wing will be reopened in a phased manner by the first half of 2010.
On November 25, a memorial will be unveiled inside the hotel to commemorate the death of 10 staff members and 21 guests. The management is planning to bring together the families of the victims and the hotel staff.

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