MUMBAI, INDIA — With a mix of solemn prayers and Bollywood glitter, India's financial capital on Sunday took its most symbolic step yet toward a return to normalcy when both of the five-star hotels assaulted by terrorists last month reopened their doors to guests.
With senior government officials in attendance, hotel executives portrayed the quick repair of their facilities as a sign that the city too would quickly rebound. Gunmen attacked the hotels and other sites in Mumbai on Nov. 26, fighting off security forces for nearly three days. The violence left more than 170 people dead.
"I believe that the opening of this hotel will send a message that we can come alive again in a record period of time," said Ratan Tata, the high-profile chairman of the group that owns the stately Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, whose famous red dome surrounded by flames has become the iconic image of the attacks. "We can be hurt, but we cannot be knocked down."
Nerves remained raw, however, particularly among hotel employees, and remnants of the attacks were hard to ignore.
The Taj was only accepting guests at its 1970s-era Taj Tower. As Tata spoke, he faced the boarded-up windows of the still-shuttered Victorian Palace wing, including the hotel restaurant where some of the most brutal fighting of the siege took place.