26th Sep Prelims Sure Shot
- Ajanta caves are a series of 30 Buddhist caves located in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra. This site is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
- It encompasses both Theravada (Hinayana) and Mahayana Buddhist traditions. The Ajanta caves preserve some of the best masterpieces of Buddhist art in India.
- The earliest Ajanta caves were carved in the 2nd Century BC out of horse-shoe shaped cliff along the Waghora River. They were used by Buddhist monks as prayer halls (Chaitya griha) and monasteries (Viharas) for about nine centuries.
- Out of the 30 excavated caves, five (cave no. 9, 10, 19, 26, and 29) are Chaitya griha (prayer halls) and the rest are Viharas (monasteries).
- In date and style, these caves can be divided into two broad phases.
Phase I (2nd Century to 1st Century BCE) – The earliest excavations were done by the Satavahanas and belong to the Hinayana (Theravada) phase of Buddhism. The object of worship is a stupa here. Caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A belong to this era.
Phase II (5th Century AD to 6th Century AD) – These excavations are a major contribution of the Vakatakas and Chalukyas and belong to Mahayana phase of Buddhism.
The world famous paintings at Ajanta also fall into two broad phases.
- The earliest is noticed in the form of fragmentary specimens in cave nos. 9 & 10, which are datable to second century B.C. The headgear and other ornaments of the images in these paintings resemble the bas-relief sculpture of Sanchi and Bharhut.
- The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries. The specimen of these exemplary paintings of Vakataka period could be noticed in cave nos. 1, 2, 16 and 17.
Some Important Caves in Ajanta and its features
Cave 9: This apsidal Chaitya griha is datable to second century B.C. and belongs to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism. It is a large liturgical hall, with monolithic stone stupa carved from a living rock. Worship Hall with a stupa but no idols
CAVE 10: Worship Hall with a stupa and circumambulatory path
CAVE 19- Standing Buddha in the interior cave covered with drapery, topped by a majestic three tiered umbrella in front of a stupa and LOCAL NAGA DEITY WITH HIS CONSORT.
CAVE 26 – Seated Buddha Stupa – The most striking and prominent image is that of Mahaparinirvana of Buddha on the right aisle wall and the assault of Mara during Buddha’s penance adorns the same wall.
Archaeological Survey of India
- It was founded by Alexander Cunningham, who is also revered as the “Father of Indian Archaeology”.
- It was Lord Canning who helped pass a statute for ASI’s establishment in 1861. Post Independence, it’s a Statutory body that now works under Ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains act (AMASR Act), 1958.
- It works as an attached Office of the Ministry of Culture
- ASI has 3678 protected monuments and Archaeology sites of National Importance + 20 cultural under the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
New IPCC report warns of dire threat to oceans
- The ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ was prepared following an IPCC Panel decision in 2016 to prepare three Special Reports and follows the Special Reports on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5), and on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL).
- The report updates scientific literature available since 2015 — when the IPCC released its comprehensive 5th Assessment Report — and summarises the disastrous impacts of warming based on current projections of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- “Since 1993, the rate of ocean warming has more than doubled. Marine heat waves have very likely doubled in frequency since 1982 and are increasing in intensity,” the report notes.
- It is virtually certain that the global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system.
- Floods will become more frequent and severe in the mountainous and downstream areas of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins, because of an increase in extreme precipitation events.
- The severity of flood events is expected to more than double towards the end of the century.
- It is a disease caused by bacteria that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.
- In most cases, TB is treatable and curable; however, persons with TB can die if they do not get proper treatment.
Central Drug Standard Control Organisation
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, under Government of India is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India.
Functions: Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, CDSCO is responsible for approval of New Drugs, Conduct of Clinical Trials, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs in the country and coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organizations by providing expert advice with a view to bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
CDSCO along with state regulators, is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs
- The term Cryosphere denotes those portions on the Earth where water is found in the solid state.
Cryo-sphere is an integral part of the global climate through its important linkages and feedbacks generated from its impacts on surface temperature and moisture influx.
Its effect on global climate:
1. Surface reflectance of 80-90% is achieved by non-melting ice surfaces, except in case of forests. This is called albedo. It helps in maintaining earth’s temperature.
2. Melting of ice surfaces leads to increase in sea water levels or river water levels.
3. Disturbance of cryosphere may lead to creation of frequent natural disasters like cyclones.
4. Thawing of permafrost may lead to release of greenhouse gases like carbon-dioxide and methane in to atmosphere.
5. Cryosphere affects global transportation routes, so melting of cryosphere may indirectly result in changing climate. E.g. If transportation on water becomes difficult, then transportation through rail and road will rise, which may cause more global warming and pollution.