Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Lahore fort: Glorious Sikh heritage under one roof


Punjab Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood inaugurated a three-day exhibition featuring rare artefacts from the Sikh tradition 

LAHORE, April 17: A three-day exhibition featuring rare Sikh period objects under the title ‘Glorious Sikh Heritage under One Roof’ will open in the basement chambers of the Lahore Fort on Thursday (today), officials in Punjab Archeology Department told Dawn on Wednesday.

Officials said besides being informative on the Sikh rule the exhibition also aimed at promoting religious tourism.

They said scores of Sikh pilgrims had arrived in Pakistan from different countries, including India, to celebrate Baisakhi festival and they would also have an opportunity to see the Sikh heritage in pictures.

The exhibition is being organised by Dayal Singh Research and Cultural Forum, a sister organisation of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, in collaboration with the Punjab Archives Department, and Faqir Khana Museum which has contributed its private collections to the exhibition, said the officials.

They said the 110 objects being displayed were rare.

The exhibition will showcase rare miniature paintings of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, his dresses, utensils, important treaties signed with Sikh and British governments, letters, manuscripts, weaponry, jewellery and other such artifacts. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh empire, which came to power in the Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. The empire, based in the Punjab region, existed from 1799 to 1849.

The basement chambers where the exhibition will be held are opened by Lahore Fort on special events such as heritage exhibitions or international conferences. The last exhibition held in these chambers was year and a half ago; it was organised by UNESCO in collaboration with Punjab Archeology Department on built heritage of Lahore.

Special security arrangements have been made for the exhibition. Officials told Dawn that 24 policemen and three police officials would remain present in and around the fort for full three days of the exhibition. In 1999, saddle cloth from the armory gallery of Lahore Fort got stolen along with a gold plated umbrella. —

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