Wall paintings restored Works of Maharajas era found

Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the gold-plating of Harmandar Sahib. (It acquired the name of Golden Temple after the work). He occupied Amritsar in 1805 and chose to make this city his spiritual capital. In 1818, he laid out garden in the north of the city. Historians claim that the original wall paintings in the Golden Temple were made during his era. These were destroyed by 'semi-skilled' artists.  The original paintings were veiled under the 're-painted' material. However, on the request of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the INTACH took the initiative to restore the rich heritage of the Sikh period. Earlier, the INTACH had submitted a detailed report over 'damaged' portions of the wall paintings.

The ground floor of the Golden Temple is beautifully decorated with embossed gold-plated copper plates on the inside walls. These plates were found to have patina. Dr Sukhdev Singh state convener, INTACH, told TNS that due to lack of adhesive in the paint layer, flaking had begun everywhere. The floral designs also been damaged at various places.  Mr Ashok Kumar Upadhay, Senior Conservator of the Indian Conservation Institute, Lucknow who found many frames of wall paintings dating back to Maharaja Ranjit Singh regime during the restoration work said several art works were damaged due to the capillary effect as the Golden Temple was situated in the centre of a sarovar. A green-coloured layer, which is patina, on the back side of the plates was showing at places. The layer could be composed of copper carbonate or copper .  He said it should be cleaned with special solvents, otherwise it would make holes in plates. 

The INTACH team proposes treating 600 square feet of wall paintings, including the three staircases to the first floor, the painted ceiling and the border of arches on the ground floor.  Shockingly, out of the 400 square feet painted wall area, the staircase area and 200 square feet around the windows, has developed cracks. So much so there are air pockets that have to be filled up by injecting consolidate material with the help of syringes.  The district administration and the SGPC have been working together for making arrangements for the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh being held here from November 13. The SGPC will organise 'jalau' (splendour show of jewellery and other invaluable items) in the Golden Temple.  The celebrations would start with prayers at the Golden Temple and Akal Takht. A statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will be given the salute by cannons at the historic Ram Bagh ' the Summer Palace of the legendry Maharaja.  A commemorative coin will be released on the occasion. However, no function will be held on November 14, lest it should hamper the Divali celebrations. On November 15, a light and sound programme on the life of the Maharaja will be held. A 'sangeet sammelan' and 'kavi darbar' will be held on November 17. The foundation stone of 'Panorama' will be laid the following day.

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