117 years of The Taj Mahal Palace … Do you know these facts?

When someone says Mumbai the images that pop in our minds are Sea, Vada Pav, Local Trains, Bollywood, Gateway of India & beautiful The Taj Mahal Palace. It was today that The Taj Mahal Palace opened its door for the guests for the very first time. Can you believe this hotel has completed 117 years today!
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The first-ever harbor landmark of the country, The Taj Mahal Palace has seen so much over the last century. It has seen India during its freedom struggle, it has hosted royalties, it has hosted historical figures, it has hosted dignitaries from across the world and it has also seen terrorists coloring its floor red.
The Taj Mahal Palace is a history in itself. But how much of it do you know? Read on to find out –
1. The Taj Mahal Palace first opened its door on 16 December 1903.
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2. It predates Gateway of India, another beautiful structure and landmark of Mumbai which was built in 1924, 21 years after The Taj Mahal Palace.
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3. The Taj Mahal Palace has many firsts like –
  •  It was the first Indian hotel to have electricity.
  • It was the first to have English butlers.
  • It was the first to have American fans.
  • It was the first to have German elevators.
  • It was the first to have Turkish baths.
  • It was the first to have all-day dining restaurants.
  • It was the first to have an air-conditioned ballroom.
  • It also had the first licensed bar in the city.
4. It was built by the pioneer industrialist of India Jamshedji Tata  There are two theories behind him building this grandeur –
  • Jamshedji Tata was refused entry to one of the grandest hotels at that time ‘Watson Hotel’ which was for ‘whites-only’, which led him to build The Taj Mahal Palace.
  • Another theory suggests that the editor of the Times of India urged him to build a hotel that captures the essence of Mumbai (Bombay).
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5. The original plans for The Taj Mahal Palace were drawn by the Indian Architects Raosaheb Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and DN Mirza.
6. The construction was completed by English engineer WA Chambers after architect Raosaheb Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya passed away.
7. The dome of The Taj Mahal Palace is 240 feet high. 
  • It was the only marker for Bombay Harbor for over 50 years after it was built.
  • The ships of the Indian Navy still use it as a triangulation point to fix their positions in the harbor.
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8. The additional wing of the hotel – the Taj Mahal Tower was built in a completely different architectural type in 1972.
9. It has a style never seen before which was of sea-facing rooms which led to some believing that it was built backward.
10. The first guests to stay in Taj Mahal Palace had to pay Rs. 10 for a single room, Rs. 13 for a room with a fan and attached bathroom, and Rs. 20 for a full board.
11. It was turned into a hospital from the years 1914 to 1918 to treat the injured soldiers of the First World War. It had 600 beds.
12. Over the years many important personalities had stayed at The Taj Mahal Palace
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13. On 26 November 2008, it was the target of terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, which resulted in the death of 167 people. This included women & children along with hotel staff.
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14. During this time the guests and hotel staff were held hostage for three days by the terrorists and rescued by Indian commandos.
15. It was shut for 18 months for renovation after the attacks.
16. The Taj Mahal Palace reopened its door in 2010 again.
17. It is home to 560 rooms and over 40 suites, apart from spas and elite restaurants.
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18. The symbol of the grandeur of India, it is considered one of the finest hotels in the world.
So, how many facts did you know about the ‘shaan’ of Mumbai, do let us know in the comments section below.