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Durbar Hall chandeliers to be restored

By Sharath S. Srivatsa



A chandelier at the Durbar Hall in Mysore Palace.

MYSORE, MARCH 9. The exquisite chandeliers in the magnificent Diwan-i-Am, the public Durbar Hall at the Mysore Palace will soon be restored to their original grandeur.

Having lost some of the glass panels because of pigeons that have made Mysore Palace their home, the officials have launched efforts to identify glassmakers who can restore these chandeliers. Four chandeliers at the Durbar Hall will be refurbished.

Visual treat

The chandeliers, sourced from Czechoslovakia, along with the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and the colourful colonnades add glitter to the Durbar Hall and are a visual treat for visitors. These chandeliers offer majestic lighting for the ceiling that has the paintings of the 12 zodiac signs surrounding the trinity of the Hindu pantheon: Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.

P.V. Auradhi, Deputy Director of Mysore Palace Board, told The Hindu that several glass pieces in the chandeliers have been broken by pigeons. There are a few glassmakers in Gujarat and North India who have the expertise to restore these antique chandeliers and tenders have been called.

One of the conditions placed in the tender document, Mr. Auradhi said, is that the glass should be of the same kind and quality. He said: "Quality of the glass can be assessed by determining the lead content in the glass. Such tough provisions have to be incorporated to retain the originality and heritage value of the chandeliers."

Kumar Naik, Deputy Commissioner of Mysore who is the Executive Officer of Mysore Palace Board, said the restoration work will cost a few lakhs of rupees. Besides restoring the chandeliers, the authorities are mulling the idea of spreading a new net near the durbar hall to prevent birds from nesting in the palace premises.

Restoring glass parts in these chandeliers may not be an easy task. While there are hardly a few in the country who had the expertise, creating the moulds and secure the same quality is a tedious job. The glassmaker has to secure a certificate from the Centre for Development of Glass Industry, a Union Government undertaking.

Admired

The sparkle provided by these chandeliers and their setting in the Durbar Hall has been much admired by visitors for its rich lighting of the colonnaded passage.

The glazed tiles from England, the cast iron pillars wrought in Glasgow and the traditional paintings of Raja Ravi Varma have lent an imperial touch to the Durbar Hall.

The majestic Durbar Hall can be best described in the words of Constance E. Parsons: "No short description, if any, can do justice to the beauty of line, wealth of material, blaze of colour and exuberance of decoration in the great Durbar Hall. Walls vie with ceilings, columns with doorways, and both by daylight and when ablaze with thousands of fairy lights, the hall gathers up and displays all that poets and artistes have dreamed of the splendid setting of an oriental court in all the glamour and glory of a `thousand and one nights'."

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