Heritage Preservation Atelier team feels so blessed for getting the the opportunity to work at Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji and hence understand the importance and sanctity of the site as well as perform sewa and prayers every day.
Restoration begins at Golden Temple’s sanctum sanctorum
An artwork inside the Golden Temple (left); and the work after restoration. Tribune photo
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 23
The ongoing restoration work on the interiors of the Golden Temple has entered into a crucial phase with conservation experts now starting work on cleaning and restoration of gold work inside the sanctum sanctorum. The gold work has got damaged with the passage of time. It has witnessed flaking as well as tarnishing at various places. The project also includes the restoration of gold gilded copper plates on its ceiling. It will take six months to complete the project since work inside the sanctum sanctorum cannot be carried out for long hours as gurbani recital continued throughout the day. The experts will take up the work only during the night hours. During the day, the team works on the first floor of the shrine where the restoration work is almost 90 per cent complete. The gold work has been restored on the walls and roofs of the “parikarma” on the first floor. Now, only two ceilings of the passage and the area where Guru Granth Sahib is installed are left. Similarly, the work on one of the three staircases is complete while it is underway on the second staircase. Sources say there is hardly any artwork left in the third staircase as marble was put up on it during “kar sewa” in the past and a decision about its restoration is yet to be taken. They say the restoration of gold work has slowed down due to non-availability of gold paint. They say there is also a plan to put up glasses on the walls of the first floor so as to protect the precious art and gold work. However, this time there will be some gap between the walls and the glasses so as to allow air to pass through it. In the past moisture got trapped between the walls and the glasses which led to flaking of artwork. Electricity fittings are also being done afresh in sync with the artwork so that it is reflected well. It will also be ensured that there are no dangling electricity wires. A special gold paint manufactured by a European firm is being used in the conservation work. It is 22 carat gold and 10 gm of this paint costs around Rs 1 lakh. A team of conservation experts led by Namita Jaspal is working on the prestigious project. In the first phase of restoration, the conservation experts had restored the precious art work on the walls of the first floor, which has infused a fresh lease of life into the wall paintings, as these regained the pristine grandeur. The wall paintings on the first floor involved the most intricate work and it took the team almost six months to restore it. There was considerable flaking in some areas and subsequently artists were engaged to “reconstruct” the lost part of the wall paintings while taking a clue from the existing pattern. The restoration work at the holy shrine was preceded by compilation of a detailed damage assessment report in which the entire wall paintings were documented. It took the experts a couple of months in preparing this report before they could finally embark on the project in December 2013. Significantly, this is the first time ever that the restoration work on the interiors of the shrine is being done.