XII.84 The Bureau examined the report on the state of conservation of these two World Heritage properties presented in document WHC-02/CONF.201/11Rev and the findings and recommendations of the reactive monitoring mission undertaken by an international mural painting expert undertaken in December 2001. The Bureau noted the following threats facing both properties:
i. infiltration of rainwater into the caves;
ii. minor cracks on carved surfaces;
iii. flaking of the paint layer;
iv. infestation of bats and insects within the caves.
XII.85 The Bureau expressed its appreciation to the authorities of India for their co-operation in the organization of the reactive monitoring mission to the properties. The Bureau urged the authorities to consider the mission’s detailed recommendations concerning the conservation, management, and presentation of the properties, by
- revising present methods for stabilizing and cleaning the wall-painting surfaces;
- testing of new and alternative methods on small wall-painting surfaces;
- undertaking continuous monitoring of the microclimate conditions in Ajanta Caves;
- enhancing documentation and archival material to evaluate changing conditions of the wall-painting material;
- conserving further, the unique natural setting of the Ajanta and Ellora Caves by following the concept of minimal intervention with the historically established environment and giving preference to conservation solutions which involve minimal changes;
- enhancing co-operation between the complementary ASI branches to enhance the long-term protection and conservation of the two sites.
XII.86 Finally, the Bureau requested the World Heritage Centre to continue assisting the authorities of India to mobilize international technical assistance to enhance co-operation between numerous national and international conservation and development activities.