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Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama gets facelift

Ranjit Singh Panoramo1

The freshly painted statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the entrance of the panorama gives a fresh look.

The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panoramo, Amritsar houses many Sikh artefacts and relics. This includes Sikh weapons, manuscripts and a historic chair of Ranjit Singh.

The Municipal Corporation has given a complete facelift to Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, inside the historic Ram Bagh. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, an aesthetically designed tall cylindrical building depicting the visual documentation of the Maharaja near summer palace in the Ram Bagh here, was in a deplorable state due to lack of maintenance.

Built at a cost of Rs 5 crore by the National Council of Science Museums, an autonomous organisation of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, it has failed to attract tourists even after eight years of its establishment. The reason behind lack of its popularity is poor maintenance, obsolete air conditioning and above all dysfunctional light and sound system, which was set up to highlight the happenings on the battlefield, besides the life sketch of Maharaja and his Lahore darbar.Similarly, most of the interactive touch screens, which gave a detailed information of the subject, too, were non-functional. Carpets were dirty and special wall papers signifying the ancient times brick tiles, too, were torn from many places.
Now, statues have received a fresh coat of paint, lighting system and air-conditioning at the panorama has also been revamped. The authorities concerned have got the CCTV cameras installed at the panorama repaired recently following an incident of theft. All these measures will help increase footfall of the tourists at the panorama.

Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora said, “The panorama has almost been refurbished. Except for the digital screens, which have been given for repairs, everything is in working order. Adequate arrangements have been made for drinking water. Lights have also been made functional. It is now a treat to visit the panorama. The daily footfall is between 150 and 200.” The vibrant life span of the Maharaja has been presented through eight smaller dioramas in halls at the ground floor. Several other important anecdotes associated with Maharaja, which have immortalised him, are also presented in the panorama building through murals, sketches and canvas paintings.

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The rectified lights at the panorama give a clear view of a painting depicting battles of the Maharaja’s era

The main attraction of the panorama is a gigantic 12 metre tall and 100 metre long painting depicting six major battles spread in a span of over 40 years of the Maharaja. The battle expeditions depicted in the painting are supplemented by large circular foreground diorama displaying numerous mannequins of prominent warriors, soldiers, animals, weapons and so on.
The Department of Archaeology and Museum has shifted the artifacts for display on the ground floor recently. Earlier, these were kept under the lock upstairs. These artifacts were shifted to the panorama from the museum that is under conservation undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) since 2007.

The artifacts have now been thrown open to the public. Visitors can catch a glimpse of these by procuring a ticket for Rs 10 for an adult and Rs 5 for a child. However, this ancient treasure sans the daggers, which were recovered by the police after being stolen a few months ago. Officials said these were still in the police custody.On January 11, seven priceless 19th century daggers were stolen from the first floor of the panorama. The police is still clueless about the culprits, but the daggers were recovered in a dramatic way.

Tribune News Service, Amritsar, September 24

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