Today, a part of the replicas displayed in the Ajanta Frescoes Gallery of the State Museum at Nampally looks as if someone had shot them with shotgun pellets.

When the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, embarked on a project of recording the grandeur of Ajanta caves through photography and paintings, little did he know that the finished replicas, too, would face a similar danger of destruction like the originals.

Today, a part of the replicas displayed in the Ajanta Frescoes Gallery of the State Museum at Nampally looks as if someone had shot them with shotgun pellets. The holes are not only on the paintings, but also on the humongous wooden frames that hold it, indicating that something sharp pierced the nearly-100-year-old tokens of history.

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For instance, a painting of a woman holding a mirror on her left hand, while two attendants hold a fly whisk and a tray of cosmetics, is in a precarious condition. The vertical frames are not even covered by glass and there are at least three holes on its lower reaches.

The replicas gain importance as many of its originals in the Ajanta Caves do not even exist anymore, said Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) convenor Anuradha Reddy. Dismissing that it was ‘not a serious damage’, Assistant Director of the State Museum Ramulu Naik told, that the “The damage happened while shipping. However, we are planning to restore it and we have already signed an MoU with a Mumbai-based museum for the same.” #KhabarLive

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