Nov 30, 2008

Taj Mahal Hotel condition after The attacks

The famed Harbour Bar at the Taj was the first licensed bar in Mumbai and a favourite watering hole of the city, is charred beyond recognition. Nothing’s left of the hotel’s Japanese restaurant Wasabi either. The 1st and 6th floors are badly gutted, the 4th and 5th partially burnt.

1. THE LOBBY: This section of the 105-year-old building was lined with artifacts and antiques is not badly damaged. Unlike some of the other sections, no explosions or fires occurred here. There are few bullets lodged in the walls. 

2. SHAMIANA: The all-day dining restaurant’s flooring was wrecked by grenade blasts, which left a huge hole. Glass pieces and bags lay scattered all over the floor on Saturday night. The section overlooking the poolside is in a mess. 

3. HARBOUR BAR: Facing the Colaba seafront on the ground floor was India’s first licensed bar. Reputed for its rare selection of whiskey, cognacs and Cuban cigars, the Harbour bar has been badly damaged in the attack. 

4. WASABI: Japanese restaurant Wasabi is located in the old wing on a level above the ground floor has been gutted. Featured in the prestigious Conde-Nast Traveller List of eateries, the restaurant was known for its sakes and sushi bar. 

5. SECOND, THIRD FLOORS: The status of these floors is relatively okay. 

6. FOURTH, FIFTH FLOORS: These floors are partially burned and have minor smoke damage.

7. SIXTH FLOOR: The headquarters of the terrorists is completely charred. The woodwork is smashed. All sea-facing rooms including the presidential suites — which have hosted heads of state — are in a shambles. Valuable paintings, period furniture and hand-woven silk carpets are believed to have been destroyed. 

8. SIXTH FLOOR OCCUPANTS: The terrorists had two rooms on the sixth floor; so did the general manager’s family which perished in the fire. 

9. DOME: One of the domes with Moorish and Oriental influence has been damaged in the fire. 

10. TERRORISTS ENTRY: Two entered from the poolside at the rear; two others came in from the side entrance. They had already penetrated the hotel via Housekeeping, the only service to be outsourced. They had an intimate knowledge of the layout, the back entrances, the storage
rooms. They also knew of the passage between the old and the new wings, from the banqueting section. Old kitchen staff use this passage. 

11. TERRORISTS: One was found dead in the Harbour Bar and one on the staircase between Harbour Bar and Wasabi.