Imagine living in the world’s most expensive home.
The Ambani family hold that title. Their home 'Antilia' sits at the heart of Mumbai, on one of the world’s priciest streets. It is rivaled in majesty (pun intended) only by Buckingham Palace in London (Queen Elizabeth II’s home) and it sits on Crown land, hence technically the Ambanis hold the number one title of world’s most expensive home.
Six years after Mukesh Ambani lost his father to a stroke, the billionaire businessman dipped into his fortune and started construction of the 27 storey home.
Ambani, his wife Nita and their three children Anant, Akash and Isha have lived in the home since 2010, two years after construction started.
The sprawling glass-covered building, with multi-level gardens, stunning water features and three helipads perched on the roof, stretches more than 150 metres into the Mumbai sky. Towering over the city’s 20 million residents and well above the smog the city is known for.
The 27 storeys, most of which have extended ceilings, also feature a 50-seat theatre, nine elevators stretching up from the lobby and a grand ballroom for entertaining guests.
Swimming pools hover over the edge of the apartment and the parking garage stretches six levels to fit 160 cars.
It’s all maintained and kept clean by over 600 staff, 24 hours a day, but when the kids come home from studying across the world, they are apparently made to clean their own rooms.
“We made our home right at the top because we wanted the sunlight … so it’s an elevated house on top of a garden.”
- Ambani's wife Nita
Mukesh Ambani controls the conglomerate Reliance Industries, which has businesses ranging from petroleum to chemicals to mobile phones.
Reliance industries, was founded in 1977 by Mukesh's father Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani (28 December 1932 -- 6 July 2002). He was an Indian business tycoon and by the time of his death the family had a combined fortune of USD 6 billion.
When Dhirajlal returned from Yemen to India, he started a business in partnership with Champaklal Damani, his second cousin, who lived with him in Turkey. Their business was to import polyester yarn and export spices to Yemen.
Their first office (Reliance Commercial Corporation) was a 350 sq ft (33 m2) room with a telephone, one table and three chairs. Initially, the partners had two assistants to help them with their business and during this period, Ambani and his family stayed in a two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai.
However Champaklal Damani and Dhirubhai Ambani ended their partnership and Ambani started on his own. It is believed that both had different temperaments and a different take on how to conduct business. Apparently, while Damani was a cautious trader and did not believe in building yarn inventories, Ambani was a known risk-taker and believed in building inventories to increase profit.
Extensive marketing of the brand, in the interiors of India, made it a household name. Franchise retail outlets were started and they used to sell "only Vimal" brand of textiles.
Following his first stroke in 1986, Ambani handed over control of Reliance to his sons, Mukesh and Anil.
In November 2004, Mukesh in an interview, admitted to having differences with Anil over ownership issues and soon after the death of their father Dhirubhai Ambani, the group was split into Reliance Industries Limited, headed by Mukesh, and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group headed by Anil.
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