Thursday, 30 November 2006

Ranjit Singh Panorama and Jallianwala Bagh

Although the Golden Temple is the shining star amongst Amritsar's attractions there are other interesting sights. A look at two of them here, more to follow.

This is a the newly opened (July 2006) Ranjit Singh Panorama, celebrating the life of the popular Maharaja Ranjit Singh, also known as the Lion of Punjab. This huge, well made panorama depicts various important scenes from his successful rule, mostly his many won battles.

A closer look at one of the battle scenes, combining life size plastic figures (yes these guys are the size of actual humans) with huge background paintings. There are men, horses, camels, canons and all sorts of other equipment. It is exceptionally well made, and very interesting. Strangely we were almost the only tourists there, which is a shame. Anyone coming to Amritsar should go to this brilliant museum.

Apart from the main Panorama, there are also many smaller dioramas showing scenes from his life, here with more focus on his non-military achievements. This one shows the Golden Temple being covered with gold plating under Ranjit Singhs supervision. Like the main panorama these smaller dioramas are very well made, with incredible attention to detail.

This is the Martyr's Well at Jallianwala Bagh, a place which occupies a very special place in the colonial history of India. At this very square in 1919 unprovoced British forces opened fire against a large mass of unarmed Indian protestors thereby killing hundreds of men, women and children. This barbarous act was globally condemned (although the Brits managed to keep the incident secret for 6 months), and prompted Gandhi to initiate his famous campaign of civil disobedience. Today the square has been transformed to a little park with little resemblance of the bare square it was back in those days, but this well is one of the few reminders of what once was. Hundreds of Indians died jumping into this well to escape the English bullets.

In some of the walls surrounding the square you can still see the bullet holes from that horrible day in 1919. Many of the bullet holes have been marked by a red wooden frame, such as the one you see here.

1 comment:

kunal bhatia said...

hi there.. thanks for putting up the photo of the ranjit singh panorama. i really needed to have a look at it (dont worry, im not using it in any form), and your's was the best collection of snaps. sadly, there seems to be no official presence on the net.. thanks again, regards, from mumbai, india