It’s a sad reality that today Mumbai’s famous Taj Mahal Hotel is known more for being the place where 2008’s Mumbai terror attack took place than for the amazing history that it has.
Built on December 16, 1903, the hotel is now over 100 years old and is still one of the most expensive hotels in India where many world renowned celebrities love to stay.
What many don’t know is the fact that the hotel didn’t always remain a hotel and during the World War I was converted into a 600-bed hospital, so as to treat the wounded and the war affected victims.
Further, Jamsetji Tata built it at an approximate cost of ₹4 crore and had charged his first 17 guests ₹10 for single rooms when people used to pay just few annas for their food.
While many believe Jamsetji Tata commissioned the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel as he was denied entry into the “whites-only” Watson’s Hotel in Mumbai, the theory was recently challenged by historian Sharda Dwivedi, who in her book argued that Taj was built out of his love for the city and not in spite.
Further, the builders used the steel used to build the Eiffel Tower in Paris, to build the hotel’s famous Dome.
This Dome, for more than 50 years was seen as a clear marker for the Bombay Harbour as it could be seen from the sea.
It was 20 years later that the Gateway of India was built, and till date, the Dome acts as an official triangulation point for the Indian Navy ships, so as to fix their position on the harbour.