All that we ever set out to achieve has been intricately crafted with time, care and an unparalleled vision. You can feel it in the air around you. We like to call it Tajness. Read on to learn more about the one singular element that has transcended time and binds each of our hotels around the world.
He was one of India’s foremost entrepreneurs, a true patriot, philanthropist and humanist. His futuristic political philosophy was based on economic rather than political action – a radical standpoint in the India of his time. Jamsetji’s entire being was devoted to the advancement of mankind.
At a time when travellers to India sought shelter at guest-houses, he dreamt of founding one of the world’s greatest hotels. A monumental edifice that would defy all the odds and rise alongside the Arabian Sea to redefine the hospitality sector. The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai continues to set global benchmarks today.
From the very first day the doors of the Taj opened to guests from all over the world, the hotel was recognized as India’s finest hotel. ‘Second to none, east of the Suez.’ This marvel of marvels cost an astounding 2.5 million rupees to be constructed and had every facility known to man – power laundries, electric irons, Turkish baths, a chemist, a post-office and lots more.
A world at war, an empire unwilling to depart the country, a paradigm shift in power and the march of a new, rising India. While our defiant spirit grew and grew, another unmistakeable story emerged on the horizon – the freedom struggle of India.
During the Great War of 1914-18 all political activity came to a standstill and in a quiet backroom of the Taj, the members of the Muslim League settled their differences with the Congress and agreed to adopt a common goal: that of an Independent India.
We have forever been a glowing, second home to Kings, nobles, dignitaries, renowned personalities and distinguished guests from all over the world.
In 1945, after the war, Britain could no longer resist India’s call for freedom. And the man who set the moment for Independence at midnight on 14-15 August 1947 was India’s last Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Independence was brought in at the Taj with music, dancing, speeches and merry-making.
A towering new wing on the Colaba skyline in the works, evolution of Bombay, changing hands of power in the government and within the Tata family, market transformations, enormous countrywide expansions and the newfound opportunity to put India and the Taj on the world tourist map.
Whenever a passenger ship floated past or was sighted pulling in alongside Ballard Pier, a brass ship’s bell bearing the inscription ‘Colaba 1878’ was duly rung as a timely reminder alerting hotel staff to prepare for the arrival of guests.
Sarojini Naidu was almost a permanent resident of the Taj. Her rooms at the hotel were forever crowded with visitors from all walks of life. She was the most gracious of hostesses to all her guests.
Among her distinguished guests were John Barrymore, Joachim Alva and Aldous Huxley.
Like many English socialists of his generation, his sympathies lay with Indians in their struggle against British rule. When he visited India, he was a guest of Sarojini Naidu- one of the most important political leaders in the country, after Gandhi and Nehru.
George Harrison came to India and stayed at what is today the Ravi Shankar Suite. He arrived under an assumed name and studied the Sitar from the maestro himself. The rest of the Beatles quickly followed him out to India and were here to learn meditation from their guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The suite is today adorned with original artefacts and memorabilia that will remind you of that great musical and whimsical era.
When President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama travelled to India in 2010, the entire Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai was booked to house their India delegation.
There is an inherent Tajness in us that traces its roots back to our heritage. It is a sum of experiences inspired by the nobility of India and her traditions. It’s what makes us undeniably distinguishable from the world and binds each of our hotels together as one. With its awe, charm and aura, the lure of the Taj is hard to resist.