The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Bombay (Mumbai)

1 - Taj Mahal PAlace

The Taj Mahal Palace Bombay, designed in an Indo-Saracenic style and opened in 1903.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was and still is the grande dame of the Bombay/Mumbai hospitality scene. It appears, like a mirage at the edge of Apollo Bunder, facing the Arabian Sea. In fact, the best view of the hotel has to be taken from the water.

The Hotel was opened in 1903, and commissioned by the wealthy Parsi merchant Jamshedji Tata, founder of the Tata Group, purportedly as a response to his being snubbed by the grand hotel establishment at the time, Watson’s Esplanade Hotel.

When the hotel opened, it was the first in India to have electricity, elevators, butler service and other luxury amenities. It would set the standard for many other hotels to come.

The hotel was designed by Indian architects, Sitaram Khandarao Vadya and D. N. Mirza in an Indo-Saracenic style, which was, at the time, the architectural style associated with modernity and British India.

In its time, the hotel has played host to maharajahs, heads of state, celebrities and writers. The last viceroy of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten spoke at the Taj two days after India received its independence.

In 1973, the Taj Mahal Tower wing was opened, and with its opening, the main entrance of the building was shifted from where the present swimming pool now sits, to the ground floor of the Tower wing.

2 - Taj Mahal Palace

View of the Taj Mahal Palace and the adjoining Taj Mahal Tower Wing (1973). One enters the property through the Tower Wing.

The Taj was the site of a terrorist attack in 2008, with bombs being set off in the building and more than 200 guests being held hostage and more than 150 others killed. The hostage situation was resolved by the army in three days but the hotel itself was damaged, with the ground floor entirely gutted.

The restored hotel was finally reopened in 2010 and swiftly reclaimed its position on the Mumbai hospitality scene.  Security scanning of all visitors – still in place today, ensured the safety of hotel guests.

During my sojourn in Mumbai, I stayed at one of the sea-facing rooms in the historic Palace Wing of the hotel. From my room, I could see the iconic Gateway of India, and the shimmering waters of the Arabian Sea extending to as far as the eye could see.

Mumbai would be the last port city stop on my Grand Tour of the Subcontinent. From here on, I venture inland, to Delhi and the princely cities of the former Rajputana (today’s Rajasthan).


3 - Main Reception

Main Reception of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Tower Wing.

4 - View toward Entrance

View of the entrance lobby of the Tower Wing. Entry is through the glass revolving doors at right.

5 - PAlace side REception

The original entrance to the Palace Wing of the hotel now opens onto the courtyard and swimming pool.

6 - PAlace Side Entrance

7 - The Courtyard

View of the original entrance courtyard at the Palace Wing.

8 - Central Stairway

View up the central stairway, with a bust of the patriarch himself – Jamshedji Tata.

9 - Central Stairway down

Mind-boggling view down the central stairway of the hotel’s Palace Wing…

10 - Dome night

…and up, towards the underside of the Palace Hotel’s iconic dome.

11 - Corridor

The endless corridors and balustrades in the hotel.

12 - Room

My room, with its delightful niche in the corner, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Gateway to India.

13 - View out my room

View from my room…


14 - Breakfast Restaurant

Breakfast at Shamiana Restaurant.

15 - Tearoom

The lovely, tranquil, Sea Lounge, where one can have breakfast, afternoon tea or lunch.

16 - Tearoom

The Sea Lounge.

17 - Fish and Chips

Fish and chips at the Sea Lounge

18 - Pool

View of the swimming pool, which occupies the original entrance courtyard of the Palace Wing.

19 - Corridor

The courtyard to the swimming pool.

20 - Briyani

Briyani at Aquarius, the hotel’s outdoor, courtyard restaurant.

21 - Side view

View of one of the landward flanks of the Palace Wing.


22 - Galleria

Wandering around the basement galleria…

23 - Galleria

View of yesteryear…

24 - Sedan Chair

The hotel itself is like a museum, with antiques secreted here and there, in the corridors and public spaces.

25 - Corridor

More of the endless corridors and exquisite furniture. 

26 - Dome

Close-up of the underside of the dome, with its Rajput-style architecture.

27 - Stairs

The Grand Stairway.

28 - Corridor

More corridors…

29 - Corridor

…and yet more corridors.

30 - Clubhouse

The Taj Club.

31 - Bar

Evening drink at the Harbour Bar, with a view of the Gateway of India.

32 - Corridor Night

The courtyard corridor at night.

33 - Taj MAhal Palace and Tower

Goodbye, Taj Mahal Palace and goodbye Bombay! Till next time.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Heritage, India, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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