Factors affecting the property in 2001*
- Management activities
- Other Threats:
Fragile mural paintings
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- tree roots above the caves create cracks and increase water seepage into the caves, which leads to wall painting and sculpture damage and eventual structural instability;
- humidity increase within the caves caused by uncontrolled numbers of visitors which leads to fungus growth, attracting insects and eventually bats;
- inadequate security encourages vandalism and theft.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2001**
July 2001: World Heritage Centre mission
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001
In May 2001, the World Heritage Centre received information on restoration of sculptures within Ajanta Caves using cement mortar, which has been recognized by the Archaeological Survey of India to negatively impact upon the sculptures and painted walls of this property. The Centre requested the Indian authorities to provide clarification concerning this unfavourable conservation practice.
In May 2001, the Centre also inquired whether or not the panel of conservation experts had been established, and whether new conservation policies, strategies and action plans had been elaborated and adopted since the state of conservation report submitted by the Indian authorities in October 2000.
During a mission by a World Heritage Centre staff in July 2001, the Archaeological Survey of India informed the Centre that the following actions were being taken:
· Unstable slopes confined to the cave portals and adjacent inter-cave slopes which bound them are being carefully examined and preventive conservation measures are being planned and implemented.
· Site-presentation enhancement measures have been undertaken to increase the quality of visitor experience and to decrease negative tourism activity impact.
Simultaneously, the Centre was requested to organize a reactive monitoring mission by an international wall painting expert to examine the state of conservation of the fragile mural paintings within the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. This would enable the national conservation experts to consider various conservation measures following international standards for long-term protection and presentation of the paintings. Following this request, a mission was organized to take place in early November 2001 by an international mural painting expert nominated by ICCROM. The findings of this mission will be presented to the Bureau at its twenty-fifth extraordinary session.
Finally, the Centre is assisting the Archaeological Survey of India in the organization of a conservation and management workshop to be undertaken in early 2002 for the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, which would bring together all the concerned stakeholders to exchange views on conservation and management of these unique properties. The objective of the workshop is to review and integrate the various tourism and site-enhancement development plans into a comprehensive conservation and development plan.
Summary of the interventions
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).