YEAR 2013-2014

Conservation of Bhootnath temple, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
The first phase of conservation work that involved removal of layers of enamel paint and plaster applied over the exterior and interior walls of the temple was completed by Mahashivratri (March 2013). The second phase was completed in June 2013. The marble floor (a modern intervention) was dismantled and the original stone paving underneath was restored. The drainage system of the pranali was restored with new improved fittings. The entire temple structure was assessed, new stones introduced in areas where they were missing, and dowels were also introduced in some areas for consolidation of the masonry. A new illumination plan was made and executed on the temple premises.

Conservation of wooden elements at Balaji Ghats, Varanasi (U.P.)
The Balaji Ghat project (January 2014 onwards) involves cleaning and consolidation of various wooden architectural elements such as wooden pillars, arches and bases of the wooden architecture on the site. The project is in association with INTACH Architectural Heritage Division and is funded by the World Monument Fund. The cleaning of all the large wooden pieces has been completed.

Conservation of Murals at Ladakh
A team of conservators from the Centre were stationed in Mangyu, Ladakh from June to September and completed conservation of the three main walls inside the 12th Century Chenrezig Lakhang temple adorned with priceless paintings. The work involved cleaning of the walls, consolidation of paint layers and filling and grouting of plaster.

The ICI Delhi has also been entrusted with the conservation of the oldest wall paintings housed in the Lama Lha-khang of the Chemdey monastery. The team completed the documentation of the walls. The walls of the temple are a treasure house of Tibetan style wall paintings executed on earthen plaster support using bright natural pigments. The beauty of the wall paintings however remains hidden under a thick veil of dust, dirt, soot, grease and oil. There are also mud plaster drips harming the artwork. The plaster layer supporting the paintings has become weak and is lost in many areas. The conservation work will be taken up in the coming year.

Conservation of installation at International Airport, Delhi
The metallic Surya installation at the Indira Gandhi International Airport was restored during December and January 2014. The installation was suffering from corrosion, abrasion as well as surface accretions. Due to frequent touching by visitors, the patina coating had become uneven.
The installation was restored to its former glory by the team which worked continuously on the premises.

Collection of Ministry of External Affairs
The Objet d’art (ODA) section of the Ministry of External Affairs houses a collection of artworks by well known Indian artists. The ICI Delhi has been involved in their conservation since 2011. This year also a number of objects were assessed by Delhi team and these objects will be conserved in the coming months.

Documentation of material heritage resources in Daman and Dui
The team from ICI Delhi was involved in the project related to mapping of material heritage resources in the Union Territory. The objects were surveyed and catalogued along with their condition assessment.

Conservation of wall paintings at Chemrey Monastery, Ladakh; self-initiated project under the Special Corpus Fund
There are only handful wall paintings conservation experts in India and the vast heritage is getting lost due to lack of trained people and opportunities. The ICI Delhi Centre is undertaking conservation of wall paintings of 17th Cent belonging to the Drukpa sect and housed inside the Lama Lha-khang, Chemrey Gompa. The paintings had suffered extensive damage and had deteriorated considerably over the period of time. Problems included thick depositions of soot, flaking of paint layer, loosening of plaster support, water damage as well as previous unscientific attempts at filling cracks. In 2013-14, the INTACH ICI team completed the documentation and condition mapping of the wall paintings. Filling and grouting was done where there was a major loss of the mortar. Local consolidation of paint layer was also undertaken to arrest the flaking and further loss of paint. The cleaning involved careful removal of the thick veil of dust, dirt, soot, grease and oil. Samples of materials used in the execution of the paintings such as the plasters, pigments, adhesives, fillers, etc. were scientifically analysed examined to guide the conservation treatment. Automatic data loggers were also installed for continuous environmental monitoring, i.e. analysing the micro climatic conditions around the Gompa and fluctuations in temperature and humidity over the seasons.

Conservations of oil paintings at Khairagarh University, Chattisgarh
The Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Khairagarh (Chattisgarh) is the only University of Music and Fine Arts in Asia and has been running successfully for five decades now. The university was setup with a donation of the palace by the Royal family of Khairagarh and the most prominent artworks in its collection are six life size portraits of the members of the Royal family executed in oil. These large paintings were in extremely deteriorated and fragile condition. There were heavy deposits of grime that were adding weight to the already sagged and damaged painted canvases as well as damaged stretchers that could no longer support them. There was extensive crack formation in all the six paintings with mechanical damages such as tears, dents as well as abrasions. Given the large size and fragile condition of the paintings, the conservation work was undertaken on the site itself. A temporary lab was set-up in the University premises and a team of conservators from Delhi successfully completed the conservation work on the six paintings.

The ICI Delhi was involved in restoration of collection belonging to the Gorkha Training regiment in Subathu (GTC 14 Subathu) as well as the Hodson’s Horses Regiment in Pathankot. The collection included large flags, maps, lithographs, documents and oil paintings. The Centre also restored a collection of 94 maps published by the ‘Survey of India’ dating late 18th Century-early 19th Century and paintings belonging to Ram Kumar, the eminent Indian abstract painter. The Centre was also involved in the various workshops conducted under the ICI training and capacity building programme. The Centre conserved a total of 487 objects during the year.

Conservation of collection of Ministry of External Affairs
The Delhi Centre restored large Madhubani paintings by the famous folk artist Sita Devi and Rajasthani Phad painting belonging to the Object d’art (ODA) section of the Ministry of External Affairs. In addition two large Shekhawati paintings on wooden panels (approx. 11 X 15 ft in size) were restored at the Ministry of External Affairs premises. The two paintings consisting of four panels each were fixed to a ply-board using nails and a strong adhesive. Over the period of time, the panels started developing cracks and separating out due to the resulting stress and tension. There were losses in the original wooden board support. There was dust and dirt accumulation along with smudge marks and drips of white wash.

Conservation of polychrome sculpture from Prime Minister’s Office
A large polychrome carved wooden sculpture depicting Ravana in ‘Ravananugraha’ posture, belonging to the Prime Minister’s Office in Delhi was restored by the ICI Delhi team. The sculpture was suffering from accumulation of deposits, extensive paint loss, splitting and loss of fragments of wood and loosening of various joints. The sculpture was restored to its former glory by the ICI Delhi team.