A view of the damaged gold work on the roof of the Golden Temple’s first floor which is undergoing restoration.
Restoration of gold work begins at Golden Temple; to take 2 months
Experts use special 22 carat gold paint for the project
Restoration work on the interiors of the first floor of the sanctum sanctorum at the Golden Temple has entered a crucial phase with experts starting work on the damaged gold work. In the previous phase of restoration, the conservation experts had restored the precious art work on the walls of the first floor.
Though the restoration of art work had finished last month the restoration of gold work took some time to take off as the gold paint required for it was not available. Sources said it was a special gold paint manufactured by a European firm. It is 22 carat gold and 10 gm of this paint costs around Rs 1 lakh. The gold work inside the shrine has suffered damage with the passage of time as also due to rising pollution. It has witnessed flaking as well as tarnishing at various spots. Besides, the gold work has also been painted with other colours in few areas apparently during a ‘sewa’ performed in the past.
The gold work is primarily on the roof and the arches of the holy shrine. The experts engaged in the work are also doing documentation alongside the restoration work. They could be seen photographing and videographing the entire process. Incidentally, the documentation work was also done prior to the start of the restoration work last year.
Sources said the restoration of gold work on the first floor of the Golden Temple is expected to take around a couple of months. The gold work had already undergone the cleaning process during the initial phase of restoration. The effort initiated by the SGPC by roping in experts has infused a fresh lease of life into the wall paintings which have regained their 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 was preceded by compilation of a detailed damage assessment report in which the entire wall paintings were documented. It took the experts around a couple of months in preparing this report before they could finally embark on the project in December last year. Significantly, this is the first time ever that the restoration work on the interiors of the shrine is being done.
The gold-plating and the artwork inside the Golden Temple was done during the era of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The interiors of Sri Harmandar Sahib boast of rare architecture comprising ‘mohrakashi’, ‘tukri’ and ‘gach’ work. Earlier, the gold plates on the outer walls of the shrine were first replaced in 1999 after a gap of 170 years.
The SGPC entrusted the task of regilding the domes and upper portion to UK-based Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha in February, 1995, and its completion coincided with the tercentenary celebrations of foundation of Khalsa Panth in 1999.
The restoration of gold work took some time to take off as the gold paint required for it was not available
Sources said it was a special gold paint manufactured by a European firm
The gold-plating and the artwork inside the Golden Temple was done during the era of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service, Amritsar, July 18