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Namita Jaspal and her team of six women are dedicated to restoring these magnificent paintings to their former glory. 

Though women are prohibited from performing kirtan at the Golden Temple, a dedicated team of women has taken on the crucial task of restoring the fading wall decorations within the Darbar Sahib. These women, hailing from various parts of India and representing different faiths, are committed to returning these exquisite fresco paintings to their original splendour. Referred to as the "Sikh School of Art," these frescoes adorn the main Darbar Hall and the walls of the staircases, showcasing intricate detailing and artistic finesse using natural colours.

The origins of these frescoes trace back to 1830 when Maharaja Ranjit Singh initiated the gilding of the Darbar Sahib. They were initially crafted by artist Giani Sant Singh in collaboration with several Muslim artists. Subsequently, in 1910, Bhai Gian Singh Naqaash dedicated 32 years to their preservation and enhancement. However, a third restoration in 1962, involving the application of varnish, inadvertently hastened the deterioration of these remarkable paintings.

Six Women Team in the Golden Temple:

Namita Jaspal and her team of six women are dedicated to restoring these magnificent paintings to their former glory. Using scientific techniques, they aim to preserve these ancient traditions for future generations. Namita explains the process, stating that they first remove the damaged parts, then delicately fill in the areas needing attention with a fine brush, treating them appropriately. She expresses deep concern as much of the artwork, spanning from staircases to walls, is already in poor condition.

The artwork covers approximately 2,500 square feet of wall space and 4,000 square feet in the staircases. The project began in December 2013, and the team hopes to complete it within four months. Mr. Pratap Singh, the manager of the Golden Temple, emphasizes its uniqueness as the sole place in the world preserving this style of art. To ensure long-term preservation, the SGPC plans to protect the restored walls with a special glass covering.

When visiting the Golden Temple in the future, let us remember to respect these beautiful walls and refrain from touching them.

 

*Based on an article published in The Sikh Foundation on 4th April 2014

 

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