Ratan Tata surveys Taj damage, INTACH ready to help in restoration

November 29th, 2008 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai/New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata group which owns the Taj hotel, surveyed the heritage building which has suffered extensive damage in the three days of fierce gunbattle in Mumbai with militants. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) said it is ready to offer its expertise in restoring the 105-year old structure.The Tata group said it would “rebuild and restore every inch of the hotel to its original glory”.

A.G. Krishna Menon, convenor of the Delhi chapter of INTACH told IANS: “There has been no formal agreement but INTACH would like to help restore the glory of the Taj hotel in Mumbai. We have the expertise and we can re-establish the grandeur of the heritage building.”

Mumbai’s landmark and an architectural marvel, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, right next to the Gateway of India, witnessed three days of fierce gunbattles between Indian commandos and hiding militants, who set off several grenade explosions inside setting off massive fires. The operation to free the hotel, codenamed ‘Operation Cyclone’, ended early Saturday and three terrorists were killed.

Menon, while sounding confident that the hotel will be restored, however, added: “It’s too early to talk about restoration work. The trauma is still too raw.”

The Taj hotel brings together Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles of architecture and provides sweeping views of the Arabian sea and the Gateway of India. The Taj Mahal Palace hotel resort was commissioned by Jamshedji Tata and first opened its gates to guests Dec 16, 1903.

The side of the hotel seen from the harbour is actually its rear. The front faces away to the west. The hotel has 565 rooms including 46 suites and has played host to CEOs, presidents, maharajas, Hollywood and Bollywood stars.

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