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Awaiting the avian guests

Pigeons fly away from the Taj hotel during the terror attack.

Pigeons fly away from the Taj hotel during the terror attack.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO:AP

Pigeon nests outside the Taj still unoccupied

Mumbai: Terror-hit Taj has bounced back to life with visitors and tourists thronging the heritage wing, but the pigeon nests resting outside the iconic hotel are still awaiting their avian guests. Pigeon nests dotting the landmark area were shattered by gunshots and grenade blasts during the terror siege on November 26.

The pigeons, which attract tourists at the Gateway of India and Taj, have gone missing following heightened security around the buildings. Avid bird lovers who spend their time feeding and watching them at the ground between Taj and Gateway are evidently missing this theatre of nature.

No feathered friends

“My wife and I come here every morning to spend sometime with the pigeons. It has been our routine for the last 10 years, but I feel dejected now when I do not find my feathered friends here,” says Birendra Choudhary, a resident of South Mumbai’s Colaba area and a regular jogger. “My morning stroll is synonymous with pigeons, as I believe association with them would bring wealth and peace of mind to me,” he said.

Prasad Abhyankar, who regularly visits the site, says “I cannot imagine this place without pigeons. It is always at the back of your mind that you will see those messengers of peace if you are going to take a stroll near Taj.” “The absence of these special guests is disappointing. I think even pigeons detest such terror attacks and they are not willing to come back,” he said.

Losing its charm

The absence of the birds also disturbs Kishore Tiwari, who used to spend his evenings in the area with his girlfriend. “It is a favourite spot among youngsters to take snaps and play with pigeons, but the place is losing its charm since the pigeons are missing,” he said. Spending time with pigeons and feeding them generates a sense of peace among the visitors.

Piece of peace

Hence, many domestic and foreign tourists gather here in large numbers to take their ‘piece of peace’ and “shoot” these winged companions, which adds beauty to the souvenir photographs, captured with the Arabian sea in the backdrop. — PTI

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