It is just a year ago that terrorists launched a murderous assault on Mumbai. More than 160 died as they attacked hotels and other prominent buildings in the city. Ajoy Misra, a senior executive of Taj Hotels whose Mumbai property bore the brunt of the brutality, tells ABTN how the city has begun to recover from its ordeal.
Next year in late March, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in Mumbai will throw a huge party to mark the full reopening of the luxury hotel. It will be almost exactly 16 months ago that the hotel suffered extensive damage and loss of life among guests and staff in a three day attack by terrorists.
It's the proud boast of the hotel, a landmark in the city for 100 years, that it never closed despite the destruction. And while business continued as near to normal as possible, the owners went about restoring the hotel to its former grandeur.
That task is now nearing completion, Ajoy Misra, senior vp sales and marketing for the Taj Group, said. Some of the less damaged parts of the hotel, like the Crystal Rooms, were re-opened fairly quickly, followed by the three restaurants where the last stages of the siege took place. These were "completely smashed and burned out" but are due to re-open before the end of the year.
The last phase which will see the damaged rooms and the ballroom re-open in the first months of 2010. "The rooms have been totally renovated," Mr Misra who has worked for Taj for 29 years, said. "We never closed so these rooms will only be opened when we have done everything that we wanted to do."