Rare frescoes at Maharaja Ranjit Singh's palace still await conservation : The Tribune India

Rare frescoes at Maharaja Ranjit Singh's palace still await conservation

Maharaja’s Summer Palace was thrown open to public after restoration recently

Rare frescoes at Maharaja Ranjit Singh's palace still await conservation

A rare fresco depicting Raas Leela of Lord Krishna, which has peeled off from the walls of a room. Tribune photo: Vishal Kumar



Tribune News Service

PK Jaiswar

Amritsar, March 4

Even as the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Board has thrown open the museum set up at the Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the historic Rambagh garden after years of restoration, the rare frescoes found in a room located on the terrace of the palace still awaits conservation.

An official in the department wishing not to be named said the frescoes were in bad shape and therefore no conservationists put their hands on it. “When some experts earlier tried to restore the murals adorning the four walls of the room, these were getting ruined due to fragile structure,” said sources. The rooftop is still sealed and locked and visitors cannot go there.

Situated in the heart of the city, Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to stay at the Summer Palace for visiting the Golden Temple during his stay in the city. Tribune photo: Vishal Kumar

One of the rare frescos depicts Lord Krishna during Raasleela. The conservation experts pointed out that the department should have documented the same and then got it restored at any cost.

The heritage structure was in the possession of the department for over the past decade and it has failed to do its necessary documentation which is important for restoration. Earlier, a museum used to run on the ground floor of the historic buildings since 1975. Ironically, the room on the terrace remained neglected.

The priceless frescoes are an invaluable part of Punjab’s heritage. The period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the Renaissance period in Punjab when art and architecture flourished under his patronage.

A conservation expert who was involved in the preservation work pointed out on condition of anonymity that the wall paintings should have been restored on a priority basis. He said the damaged portion was not possible to be retrieved or replicated in the absence of any documentation.

After lingering on for several years, the conservation work was finally completed and a museum was set up by placing paintings, artefacts, weaponry and other objects reminding the period of legendary Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Conservation work was done carefully using the same ingredients which used to prevail during the period of the Maharaja. These materials were derived from natural sources like extracts of plants, lime, eggs, moong dal and others. Before this to happen, the entire old material on the wall was painstakingly scrapped.

AR Mishra, project in-charge, said around four years ago, the department tried to restore the same, but it was very difficult as the conservation experts avoided to lay their hands on the same for restoration due to fragile nature of the structure. “I will not be able to comment on the present status. I would have to look into this before commenting,” said Mishra.

#maharaja ranjit singh #Sikhs

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