Mumbai’s most famous landmark, this stunning hotel is a fairy-tale blend of Islamic and Renaissance styles, and India’s second-most-photographed monument. It was built in 1903 by the Parsi industrialist JN Tata, supposedly after he was refused entry to nearby European hotels on account of being ‘a native’. Dozens were killed inside the hotel when it was targeted during the 2008 terrorist attacks, and images of its burning facade were beamed worldwide. The fully restored hotel reopened on Independence Day 2010.
Much more than an iconic building, the Taj’s history is intrinsically linked with the nation: it was the first hotel in India to employ women, the first to have electricity (and fans), and it also housed freedom fighters (for no charge) during the struggle for independence.
Today the Taj fronts the harbour and Gateway of India, but it was originally designed to face the city (the entrance has been changed).