Walls of the first floor at Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji

Golden Temple or Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji is a sacred site visited by thousands of people every day, but not many go to the first floor. Even among those who go to first floor, not many take the parikrama at the first floor. Following picture is an incomplete model of the first floor parikrama. The walls that are white in this model are actually all covered with wall paintings  (as one can see in one of the walls).

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You will find beautiful sikh art all around and it would seem impossible to capture it in a photograph, even if you try hard.

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This art work was mainly created by Bhai Atma Singh. We are trying to document our experience while working at such a sacred and powerful place, but this might take months to finalize. We were engaged in preservation of these paintings for last couple of years and faced all kinds of challenges even before the work could be formally put on paper. There was some holy force that guided through most of the rough times. Saving the paintings had a greater purpose that was beyond the paintings themselves.. Hope i would be able to share that purpose (may be more than one) in my life time, through my writing.
One purpose that i can share right now, in this blog, is “the realization and knowledge of the method of bringing one’s ego down on ground”. It cannot be described and directed to others, but was there for all those working in the team to feel and understand, only if they could allow their natural evolution happen, without resisting…. I myself could understand the details much after the work was completed on the first floor and my visits had become much less frequent. There was a reason to this delayed realization/learning. The reason was that the realization required some space to fit in, the time characterized by peace and desire to understand!!
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Author: namitajaspal
Namita Jaspal, with inherited skills of art and aesthetics and passion for science, opted to pursue post- graduation in ‘Conservation of Cultural Property’ after her graduation in Science from Delhi University in 1992. Four year intense training at National Museum Institute provided the right foundation to start a career in Conservation. She is currently practicing conservation consultancy for Heritage property including monuments and collections. She has been doing independent research in conservation techniques and procedures in Indian context. She is currently working on the conservation of wall-paintings of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden temple at Amritsar. The project is nearing completion and getting a lot of appreciation for the organized and ethical treatment it is providing. It is for the first time in the history of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden Temple) that wall painting conservation and preservation is being done in a scientific manner, keeping the codes of Ethics into consideration while decision making. Another project just completed is of the Conservation of Krishna Temple at Kishankot, Gurdaspur, Punjab. In her private Conservation Laboratory, she is not only providing onservation services, but also mentoring young aspiring conservators and archaeologists by the way of training and paid internships. She has been a guest lecturer at DIHRM (Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management). With all the updated knowledge database and innovative practical approaches relevant to the Indian conditions, she could successfully do curative and preservative treatment of very old textiles like a nine feet long flag from nineteenth century that is regarded as priceless memorabilia of second Dogra regiment at Chandi Mandir, and four hundred years old (seventeenth century) Chola Sahib Ji of Sixth Guru of Sikhs, Sri Hargobind Sahib Ji. Apart from this she has done conservation of Photograph collections, archival records, numerous paintings, manuscripts and other cultural objects. She is also involved in preparation of up-gradation proposals for museums and such organizations. Her expertise includes Conservation and preservation technologies and procedures for conservation of varied material like wall paintings, paper, photographs, textile, ceramics, stone, metal and archaeological objects.

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