The majestic and historic building of Khalsa College Amritsar was established by the renowned colonial era architect Bhai Ram Singh in 1892, who was also commissioned by Queen Victoria to design her Durbar Hall. The building, spread over 300 acres of land, is one of the greatest works of Bhai Ram Singh, who was principal of the Mayo school of Arts, Lahore.
As the 122-year-old heritage building was in need of conservation, restoration work has commenced to retain its glory.
Lakhwinder Singh (50), a seasoned mason with more than two decades of experience, is engaged in restoring the worn-out bricks and repairing the lower portion of Khalsa College building.
Even 15 years ago, Lakhwinder was chosen by the Khalsa College management to carry out restoration work for the upper portion of the building.
This historic college was approached by many expert conservators, but the management preferred to chose an experienced the man who has the liberty to work on a slow pace to restore the building in the true sense.
Dr Mehal Singh, principal, Khalsa College, said, “I have a belief that when Bhai Ram Singh created this building he had a divine blessing or else how can someone create a majestic blend of Mughal and Indian classic Art like this. Even today people in India and abroad talk about the architectural excellence of Khalsa College, so to restore, conserve and preserve this building by the right person is our responsibility.”
“This heritage work can only be handed over to experienced hands who do not add modernism in the ancient look of the structure. No expert or NGO have approached me personally, but if anyone wants to take this up as charitable work I have no objection to it. This building is 122-year-old, so it needs regular repair and instead of waiting for someone to come and do the job, we had to call an experienced mason Lakhwinder Singh who knows how to work under the given guidelines and maintain the ancient look,” he added.
Earlier this year, The Lahore Conservation Society (LCS), a Pakistan-based organization, in collaboration with Amritsar-based Dilbir foundation, announced to provide the much needed know-how and techniques of conservation to the Khalsa College, but they are still waiting for the response from the college management, according to Dilbir foundation president Gunbir Singh, who is also Khalsa College governing council finance secretary.
Talking to HT, Lakhwinder said, “It is definitely a challenge, in fact, a big responsibility to be chosen by Khalsa College management to restore a building created 122 years ago and that to by Bhai Ram Singh. This work demands minute detailing”,