The day we will never forget or forgive. It's the day our nation fought against a few Pakistani intruders who terrorised the country's economic capital - Mumbai. The memories are still fresh even after a decade... Onmanorama tracks how it all happened and finally ended.

Terror route...

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1 November 22, 2008

8 am

A 10-member Lashkar terror group begins their journey from Lahore to Karachi in a train. As they reach the Karachi port, MV Alpha, a trawling vessel was waiting for them. They had no weapons then. They begin their journey to Mumbai coast.

2 November 22, 2008

Midway, Lashkar supporters hand over weapons and explosives to the group at sea.

3 November 23

They intercept MV Kuber, an Indian fishing vessel, off Porbandar coast and kill four fishermen except the vessel's captain, Amar Singh Solanki.

4 November 26

4 pm

Terrorists, disguised as fishermen, reach near the Mumbai coast along with Amar Singh Solanki. Solanki was killed nearly 10 nautical mile away from Mumbai coast.

5 November 26

8.30 - 9 pm

Terrorists reach Colaba jetty on dinghies and enter Mumbai city in 'buddy pairs'.

Items they brought
  • AK47 assault rifles
  • 7.62 mm pistols
  • 8-10 hand grenades
  • 8 kg of RDX
  • Rs 6,200
  • Credit cards
  • Multiple SIM cards
  • Mauritius ID cards
  • Satellite images of Mumbai city and prominent hotels
  • Snacks and dry fruits.
Places that came under target

The attacks commenced at multiple locations after about 9 pm on November 26 and the counter-attacks by Indian security agencies lasted for three days at the Nariman House and the Oberoi Trident Hotel and for four days at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

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1Leopold Cafe

9 pm

The first attack was at Leopold Cafe, a tourist favourite in south Mumbai. Terrorists also open fire at public on the streets and throw grenades.

Killed 11
Injured 28
2Taj Mahal Hotel

9.40 pm

Terrorists enter the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and open fire at guests. They set off explosions on the fifth and sixth floors of the building. Indian Army and Navy's commandoes called in later. Subsequently, the National Security Guards took over the operation to flush out the terrorists. The gunfight lasted 59 hours, which ended when all the four terrorists were killed. 450 people trapped inside the hotel were saved.

Killed 38
Injured 28
3Nariman House

9.45 pm

Apartments near Nariman House came under attack. The terrorists entered the Nariman House and took a Jewish family as hostage. The operation ended after 48 hours when commandoes were fast-roped on the roof of Nariman House and they killed 2 terrorists. 14 lives were saved.

Killed 10
Injured 7
4The Oberoi Trident Hotel

9.50 pm

Heavily-armed terrorists open fire at guests. Set-off an explosion inside the restaurant. The fight between security forces and terrorists last 42 hours. 35 people were rescued, while 2 terrorists were killed.

Killed 35
Injured 24
5 Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Railway Station

9.50 pm

The attackers, including Ajmal Kasab, terrorised the area by firing indiscriminately at people and security officials for about 90 minutes. They used AK47s and grenades. They attacked people near the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation building and the subway to the railway station. Kasab was later nabbed by policeman Tukaram Ombale near Girgaon Chowpatty, about 4 km away, as he and an accomplice tried to flee in a car.

Killed 56
Injured 108
6Metro Cinema

10 pm

Two attackers seize a police vehicle and takes an inspector hostage. They fired at people on the streets.

7Cama Hospital

10.20 pm

Terrorists fire at everything they see. They attacked people on the streets near GT Hospital.

8Mazgaon Dockyard Road

10.45 pm

A taxi car explodes.

9 Vile Parle

10.50 pm

Another vehicle explodes near Santa Cruz Airport.

10Girgaon Chowpatty

12.30 am, November 27

A terrorist opens fire. He was shot down by police.

Total Dead


Total Injured


Foreigners killed in the attack
  • Israel
  • United States
  • Germany
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • England
  • Mauritius
  • Belgium
  • Malaysia
  • Japan
  • France
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Italy
Terrorists killed by security forces: 9
  • Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
  • Oberoi Trident Hotel
  • Nariman House
  • Girgaon Chowpatty
8 of them were neutralised by NSG commandoes, while one was killed by the Mumbai Police. The only terrorist nabbed by the forces was Ajmal Kasab, a 21-year-old Pakistani national.
November 28

Anti-terror ops at all areas, except Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, ended.

November 29

Last of the terrorists were killed at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel following NSG's operation code named 'Black Tornado.'

Heroes of the Nation

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a commando of the elite Special Action Group of the National Security Guards, died on November 26, while fighting terrorists at the Taj Palace Hotel. Unnikrishnan, who hails from Kozhikode district in Kerala, joined the 7th Bihar Regiment of the Indian Army on 12 June, 1999. He joined the NSG on January 20, 2007.

Masterminds of 26/11
Kasab's Fate

May 6, 2010

Special Court set up inside the Arthur Road Jail pronounced death penalty to Ajmal Kasab.

February 21, 2011

Mumbai High Court upheld death penalty.

October 21, 2011

Supreme Court upheld lower court orders.

August 29, 2012

Supreme Court rejected review petition.

November 5, 2012

President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Kasab's mercy petition.

November 21, 2012

Finally, Ajmal Kasab was hanged to death in secret inside the Yerawada Central Jail.

His body was buried inside Pune Jail as Pakistan refused to receive it. All the other 9 bodies of terrorists were buried at undisclosed locations.

India-Pak Severed Ties

Mounting evidence of Pakistan's role behind the Mumbai terror attack prompted India to pull out of bilateral talks with the neighbouring country. The two countries have not officially talked to each other since November 2008, except for brief interactions on the sidelines of international summits. Even the cricket series between the two countries have been called off. The Board of Cricket Control in India has said that it would not initiate cricket relations with Pakistan.
India has handed over reams of documents to pin the blame of the attack on Jama’at-ud-Da’wah leader Hafiz Saeed. With the international community piling pressure on Pakistan to crack down on the terrorists operating from its soil, the administration filed cases against seven persons including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. However, the high court found that Lakhvi was detained illegally and ordered his release on March 13, 2015. He walked out on bail next month.
Saeed was put under house arrest in 2017 January but he was released in November after a court ruled that there was not enough evidence to indict him. Saeed has been declared an international terrorist by the United States. The political party he found - Milli Muslim League - has been blacklisted by both the US and the United Nations. The party wanted to field its candidates in the national election this year but its terror links prevented it from doing so. Facebook even scrapped the party’s official account.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif kicked a hornets nest when he flayed Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Maulana Masood Azhar without naming them. "Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill over 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can't we complete the trial," he said while referring to the almost-dead trial in a Rawalpindi court. He later backtracked on the statement. Not a single terrorist has been brought to book in Pakistan in relation to the Mumbai attack.

Lessons for India
Mumbai's Force One
  • The Maharashtra police now have their own commando unit named Force One. These commandos have been trained to deal with any attack like the one happened in November 2008. They can carry their weapons even on aircraft, just like the NSG commandos.
  • Mumbai has about 100 intelligence officers on the field.
  • Commandos have been placed in various railway stations.
  • Surveillance cameras have been put up across the railway stations and main centres of the city.
  • The National Security Guards now has four hubs in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
  • The Mumbai police have been supplied with lightweight bulletproof vests, helmets, shields and night-vision monoculars. Drones have been brought in for surveillance of the coastal regions.
  • Force One and NSG conduct joint exercises at fixed intervals at a special centre in Mumbai.
  • Fishermen have been given radio-frequency identity cards and smart cards.
Safe coasts