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Geoscientific studies for the conservation of Ajanta Caves Kavinmiku colar kalaikal

A World Heritage Site since 1983, Ajanta Caves are a group of 30 rock-cut caves. Which, over the time, have left millions around the world simply mesmerized, with the incredible artistic and technological achievements of ancient India! Located at about a hundred kilometres from Aurangabad (Maharashtra), these cave monuments are adorned with fascinating murals and sculptures, acclaimed to be the masterpieces of Buddhist art. The caves – cut out, side by side, in the Deccan basalt: from around 2nd century BC to about 600 AD – unmistakably exemplify an awe-inspiring technological exploit of ancient India.

The natural weathering and erosion over the centuries, together with retreating scarps have not only resulted in the degradation of slopes, but have had damaging impact on the sculptures and paintings in the caves and in their environs. Biotic interference has further deteriorated the caves and their surroundings. In 1998, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) engaged the Geological Survey of India (GSI) to carry out multidisciplinary geo-scientific studies of the caves site. And, for the first time, the GSI studied out geological, geohydrological, and environmental conditions of the site.

Carrying out comprehensive geo-scientific studies for the entire Ajanta complex, the Geological Survey of India presented an excellent report on their findings in 2001, containing various thematic maps, damage assessment of the site from geotechnical perspective, and also their remedial measures. This volume carries GSI’s report including, among other aspects, the geology of the Ajanta Cave area, its topographic and geophysical surveys, and seismic assessment; besides the results of their geotechnical and environmental studies of the caves.

Dr Manohar Sinha is the former Deputy Director General of the Geological Survey of India.

Kavinmiku colar kalaikal

In Indian history, the Imperial Cholas count among the most important dynasties. The rulers of this family established a powerful empire that dominated a larger part of the peninsular India for about 450 years: c. 850 – 1250 CE, with Thanjavur as their capital. The Cholas’ 450-year reign was an age of continuous improvement and refinement of the Dravidian art and architecture. They utilized their prodigious wealth, earned through their extensive conquests, in building big cities, grand palaces with huge banquet halls, and many long-lasting stone temples. Indisputably the great connoisseurs of art, they are known for their immense contribution to the development not only of architecture and sculpture, but paintings, dance, music and literature as well. Significantly, the Chola sculptures and bronze images are today acclaimed the world over for their classic grace, grandeur and immaculate taste. The best example of this can be seen in the form of Nataraja: the Divine Dancer.

And, besides all else, the Great Temple of Thanjavur – also known as the Great Temple of Rajarajesvara and Brahadisvara Temple – is a standing monument exemplifying the glories of Chola art and architecture. Recognized by UNESCO, since 1983, as a World Heritage Monument, this great temple was built by the Chola Emperor Rajaraja 1 in 1010 CE. In September 2010, an exhibition was organized to commemorate the 1000th year of its construction. Accompanying the exhibition, this volume showcases the masterpieces of Chola art, architecture, paintings, royal copper plates, gold and silver coins, inscriptions, and vessels – and with emphasis on Chola bronzes. The book, ostensibly in the nature of a catalogue, carries about 250 beautiful, colour photographs.

Dr R. Nagaswamy (b. 1930) : a widely recognized authority on Tamil Art and Archaeology, is former Director of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu.
About Author A. Mittla :

This articls is written by technical writer DK agencies. Geoscientific studies- The natural weathering and erosion over the centuries, together with retreating scarps have not only resulted in the degradation of slopes, but have had damaging impact on the sculptures and paintings in the caves and in their environs.

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Article Added on Monday, December 17, 2012
Other Articles by A. Mittla

Archaeology of early Orissan temple Bikaner golden jubilee
From the 6th to 11th centuries, there appeared, on Orissa’s sacred landscape, a large number of temples. Which exercised a powerful influence on the cultural life in this eastern Indian region. Earlier approaches to the study of temples tend to perpetuate an over-determined reading of art. They either objectify the temple aesthetically as a ‘non-living, static monument’ with architectural complexities; or institutionalize it as a symbol of royal legitimacy. As a result, temple architecture...

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