Frescos of Hindu gods missing

The frescos were unique specimens of the Sikh school of art, completed in 1824 during the regime of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. According to Sikh history, Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the gold-plating and interior decoration of the Darbar Sahib completed by taking personal interest.

The other paintings visible at the time of the kar seva were, however, preserved after a lot of painstaking efforts. Now, all 16 paintings which were revived by using a similar style and colours as that of the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, belong to Sikh Gurus, Sikh warriors and religious leaders, including Baba Deep Singh, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Ghanaiya, Baba Budhaji, the first head granthi of Harmandar Sahib, four Sahibzadas (sons of Guru Gobind Singh) and Bhai Gurdass. Some of the paintings depict Guru Nanak Dev flanked by Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana. Jaswant Singh, an artist of Dera Baba Jagtar Singh Kar Seva Wale said specified colours were used to complete the art work and the paintings would last long as efforts had been made to stop seepage in the upper storey.

When Dr Kanwarjit Singh Kang, a renowned fresco expert, visited Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, in June 1971 in connection with his Ph.D thesis “Mural paintings in the 19th century Punjab”, several frescos were intact in the upper storey of the shrine. According to Dr Kang, though originally the paintings were executed sometime in the middle of the 19th century, the dome of the shrine developed cracks during an earthquake in 1905 and was rebuilt again and embellished afresh with murals.

In June 1971, the surviving frescos depicted mixed themes, including portraits of Sikh Gurus and scenes from the Hindu mythology.

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