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Restoration of interiors art Harmandar Sahib (Amritsar) to begin soon; SGPC engages private firm to restore artwork

November 15, 2013 | By

Amritsar, Punjab (November 15, 2013): It is learnt that the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) has hired a private firm to restore the interiors/wall-paintings at Darbar Sahib (Amritsar). It had earlier planned to entrust the work to Baba Kashmir Singh Bhuriwale, but after resentment from certain sections the Gurdwara management body reportedly decided to hire a specialized private firm for this purpose.

According to media reports SGPC senior vice-president Raghujit Singh Virk said they had hired the services of a Delhi-based firm that has expertise in restoration of heritage buildings. The restoration work will be monitored by India’s National Museum former director S. P. Singh.

Darbar Sahib (Amritsar)The work, which was to start in mid-August, got delayed following concerns from several quarters about the SGPC move to hand it over to Kar Sewaks.

“Subsequently, the SGPC sought the opinion of conservation experts, who conducted a survey over the last few months and prepared a comprehensive report that will form the basis of the restoration work. It has also now been decided to replace only that gold-plating that could not be further maintained. Similarly, all efforts will be made to preserve the ancient artwork in the interiors of the sanctum sanctorum” The Tribune (TT) has reported in this regard.

According to information Raghujit Singh Virk also said that the restoration work could start anytime. “The experts have already ordered the material required for it, including the colours used in the artwork. These colours are being imported from abroad” he reportedly added.

According to TT: [t]he restoration work will start with the artwork for which an area of one square foot will be taken up on an experimental basis. First, an attempt will be made to resurrect the artwork by cleaning it up with certain chemicals while new colours will be used, only if needed.

“The experts will take forward their work on the basis of their initial experience. The restoration of artwork will start from the upper floor of Sri Harmandar Sahib. The work for the upkeep of gold-plating will start at a later stage. Virk clarified there will be no tampering with the heritage character of the holy shrine and all efforts will be made to preserve its originality”, TT report reads further.

The gold-plating inside the shrine has turned black apparently due to rising pollution while at a few places it is peeling off the walls. Similarly, the artwork on the upper floor has also suffered damage at various spots, particularly along the staircases leading to the top floor. Earlier, the SGPC had put up glass over the artwork on the upper floor, as a result of which seepage has taken a toll on it.

When launched, it would be the first ever ‘kar sewa’ on the interiors of the shrine. The gold-plating and the artwork inside the Golden Temple dates to the Maharaja Ranjeet Singh era. The interiors of Sri Harmandar Sahib boast of rare architecture comprising ‘mohrakashi’, ‘tukri’ and ‘gach’ work.

As per information gold-plating inside the shrine has suffered damage up to 40 per cent, mostly around the arches of the doors. However, out of this damaged area, gold-plating on only 15 per cent is required to be completely replaced while the rest will need only gold work.

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