You say Tata and I say hello

5 July, 2013
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The Esplanade Hotel (1871)

Porticos: The Esplanade Hotel (1871)
Esplanade Road, Fort, (presently Esplanade Mansion, Mahatma Gandhi Road).

Among the urban legends of Bombay is the story that the industrialist Jamsetji Tata begun the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 1903, in retaliation for being denied admission into the European run and owned The Esplanade Hotel.
The story seems implausible for several reasons not least because John Watson’s The Esplanade admitted Indian guests as early as 1871, the year of its opening. Three young Bengalis, fresh from passing the Civil Service Examination in England in 1871, chose to stay at The Esplanade Hotel before their return to Calcutta.

Yesterday’s newspapers inform that the Esplanade Mansion (nee Hotel), India’s oldest surviving building with a cast iron framework, will be redeveloped. See the Local category of our Media Section for the reports.

The photograph is shot by Hersh Acharya.

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