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article imageUNESCO Heritage Site Ajanta Caves to get face-lift

By Sravanth Verma     Jul 7, 2014 in Entertainment
Aurangabad - The historic 2,000-year-old Ajanta caves near Aurangabad in the east Indian state of Maharashtra will be undergoing a restoration of the architecture and sculptures, and reconstruction of its paintings at the site.
The effort is a joint venture between the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Data collection and research at the site have already been underway since May.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site will be the focus of a multidisciplinary project looking to develop the caves into a tourist hot spot with the help of local communities. The Ajanta caves are a group of 29 rock-cut caves dating from the 2nd century BC to the 6th century AD. around 480 AD. Known for its exquisite sculpture and frescoes, the caves will also exhibit classical texts on aesthetics and art. The project will also create a knowledge bank for tourists, students and researchers.
Coordinator of the project and head of IDC Professor BK Chakravarthy said, "The project demands the involvement of the Earth sciences, geo-informatics and civil engineering which can look into the geographical structure of the caves. Chemical engineers will be needed to minimise the deterioration of colours, and digital technology will be required for archiving and reconstruction of the paintings, sculptures and architecture."
The team is also developing an animated short to be showcased at film festivals and television. Team-member and student at IDC Amol Thakur says, “We are planning to create iPad applications and interactive games for children so that by using digital media we can catch the fancy of the youths. The caves contain masterpieces of Buddhist art and cave architecture depicting the life of Buddha and visual depictions of stories from the Jataka tales. There are several artistes who dedicated their lives for it. We need to bring such stories and the art alive. I am at present working on creating a guidebook on one of the caves. According to the response I get, I will replicate it for the other caves.”
The Indian ministry of human resources is funding the project, though the total cost is yet to be finalized. "While the Centre will fund a major chunk, we will rope in a few corporate partners to share the cost," said Professor Chakravarthy.
The team aims to complete the project in three years. Their final goal is to bring present all the cave temples in Maharashtra such as the Ellora caves and Elephanta caves under one holistic group.
More about ajanta caves, unesco world heritage site, Buddhist Art
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