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Posted at: Jun 12, 2019, 7:56 AM; last updated: Jun 12, 2019, 7:56 AM (IST)

Summer palace opening distant dream

Restoration of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s palace has been going on since 2007

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 11

The summer palace of legendary Sikh King Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been out of bound for tourists for years owing to its prolong conservation work. Started in 2007, the conservation work is expected to go on for another six months to an year.

Lakshman, supervisor of a Mumbai-based private concern, stated that work on the outer walls of the summer palace was under way. After that, false ceiling, air condition and light fitting work will be taken up, followed by painting of internal walls and polishing of wood work. At last, flooring work will be done.

The restoration and conservation work had commenced in 2007. Earlier, it was supposed to be concluded by the end of the last year, but couldn’t. Hoteliers and tour operators are waiting for its re-opening.

Lakshman said a mixture using the same ingredients, which used to be pasted on walls during the Sikh Maharaja period in the region, was prepared to whitewash the walls. “Before this, the entire old material on the wall was scrapped to achieve bonding and smoothness for new material,” he said.

Revealing about the ingredients, he said lime, eggs, gond, moong dal, marble powder, plants and liquid derived from various plants were used to prepare the material.

Officials of the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB), looking after the restoration work, said due care was being taken to reproduce the material and maintain the old look of the summer palace.

The third phase, with an investment of Rs 10.70 crore from the Asian Development Bank, will see exact recreation of the palace as it used to exist during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Under the third phase, expert consultants will consult historical accounts to produce the similar furniture which were there during the time of the Maharaja in the summer palace.

Mannequins will also be placed there to re-create the ambience with varied themes. Paintings will be installed to adorn its walls. The entire electric fittings and air-condition system will be placed apart from refurbishing the façade of the building.

People associated with tourism, tour and travel industries are keenly awaiting the re-opening of the summer palace.

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