26/11 memorial opens for non-Jews

The interiors of Nariman House in Colaba, which will be open to the public from Tuesday.

The interiors of Nariman House in Colaba, which will be open to the public from Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

On 11th anniversary, visitors will walk into Nariman Lighthouse with candles to pay homage to victims

Eleven years after the gruesome terror strike on Mumbai, Nariman House in Colaba, now known as Nariman Lighthouse, has opened its doors for the public.

On Tuesday, the memorial will see people walking in to light candles to pay tribute to the victims. There will also be a poetry session by three artistes and survivors will tell their stories.

26/11 memorial opens for non-Jews

A typical tour of the memorial will start from the rooftop where a waterfall monument has been inscribed with the names of all 26/11 victims, including policemen and National Security Guards. Surrounded by plants, one can walk through the day, reading plaques about all the sites attacked on that night: the Kuber boat, Taj and Oberoi-Trident hotels, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Nariman House.

The visitors will then head to the fifth floor, which was the residence of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and son Moshe. While Moshe was saved by his nanny, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka were killed in the attack. On the fourth floor is a room where the walls have borne the maximum impact of bullets and grenades.

26/11 memorial opens for non-Jews

“The impact of the attack will be retained everywhere and the memorial is being built around it,” said Leorith Elijah, Chief Operating Officer of Nariman Lighthouse. While the monument on the terrace was opened last year, the rest of the memorial was to be completed this year. However, the project hit a roadblock due to lack of funds.

“We need around ₹25 crore to complete the project,” said Ms. Elijah. It was decided to open the memorial to the public, the way it is, as raising the money may take some time. The plan, however, is to convert the fourth floor into an experience centre where one walks through the fractured door into the burnt apartment. The fifth floor will expose visitors to the Jewish household and culture. The entire memorial will be designed on the theme, ‘From darkness to light’.

There will be a ticketed entry at ₹150. School and college students will be charged ₹50, while senior citizens will be charged ₹100. “All the tours will be conducted by trained volunteers. I, too, conduct the tours. The Rabbi will also conduct some tours,” she said.

26/11 memorial opens for non-Jews

The tour does not have a script as of now. “We simply narrate the story of that day. But the idea is that people don’t carry pain with them. As they walk through this space, we want them to reflect on the future and spread kindness and goodness,” said Ms. Elijah. The second and third floors will remain out of bounds. A restaurant on the first floor, which was accessed by Jewish community members, will be opened to non-Jews.

Taste of food, culture

“The memorial will not only serve as a reminder of that fateful day but will also provide an exposure to Jewish culture and food,” said Ms. Elijah. Although the restaurant will be opened in a month’s time, they have already started serving kosher dishes in the area through online delivery apps.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:43:42 PM |

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