100-yr journey of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, in images

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100-yr journey of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, in images

Amritsar: In an attempt to open the doors to the glorious past and history of Amritsar, Itihaas, a city-based organisation in association with Timeless Amritsar and Rang Punjab has put up an exhibition, ‘Reflections of the Past’, a collection of paintings and photographs documenting the transition of Darbar Saheb (Golden Temple) and its periphery over the decades between 1856-1956.

These paintings and photographs are mostly by English and French artists, while works by prominent Sikh artists including Bhai Gian Singh Naqash too have been displayed in the open courtyard outside the Partition Museum. It is dedicated to the Parkash Purb of Guru Ramdass.

“The exhibition mostly comprises archives between 1856-1956 of Darbar Saheb and the variations it went through over a period of time. We have collected the reproductions of the original paintings done by French and English artists during the time, originals of which are housed at various museums in the Netherlands, UK, Pakistan and Canada. These photographs and paintings are now part of this curated exhibition, which aims to create awareness among the youth and connect them to the history of Sikhs and the city,” shared Parampal Singh Ahluwalia, curator of the exhibition and founder of Itihaas.

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The exhibition displays digital reproduction of one of the earliest photographs taken of Darbar Saheb in 1858 by Italian-English artist Felice Beato. “He was the first artist to devote himself to capturing Golden Temple and a lot of his work includes documenting Golden Temple and its surrounding areas, which can be used to study the variations that several historical structures like Baba Atal Sahib Gurudwara, clock tower and the periphery went through over a century,” said Parampal Singh Ahluwalia. He added that the works are a study on the perspective of foreign artists who travelled to Amritsar during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign and later the British rule.

The other artworks include paintings and photographs depicting Bungas during the regime of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the clock tower in the periphery of Golden Temple that was later razed and key figures of Lahore court. A painting depicting Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Maharaja Sher Singh and infant prince Duleep Singh listening to the recital of Guru Granth Saheb at Lahore court too captured the attention of visitors. The painting, shared Ahluwalia, is part of the Princess Bamba collection and has been sourced from Lahore and the original has been displayed at the Sikh Gallery, Lahore fort, Pakistan. Several other paintings, whose originals are displayed at the Agha Khan Musuem, Toronto, Victoria and Albert Museum, UK, Royal Collection Trust, UK and with many private collectors, showcase the prominent Sikh generals, Lahore court, Maharani Jindan and Bungas of the period.

Reproduction of frescoes by Bhai Gian Singh Naqash is also part of the exhibition. The exhibition is on till October 31.

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