China installs sensors to monitor ancient Buddhist grottoes

PTI, July 18, 2013

Beijing, China -- China has installed sensors to monitor the ancient Buddhist grottoes in the northwest Gansu Province.

The devices will monitoring changes in temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide density and other conditions in the Bingling Temple Grottoes near Yongjing County from this month.

"The data will help us analyse the impact of visitors and weather on the caves' environment," Shi Jingsong, head of an institute in-charge of protecting the grottoes, was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

The precautionary measures will help protect the sites from potential damage.

Twenty of the temple's 183 caves will be monitored, Shi said.

Initially built in 420 BC, the Bingling Temple Grottoes are known for their numerous Buddhist statues, stupas and murals.

The government is working to set up monitoring and early warning systems at heritage sites along the Silk Road to better protect the sites and prepare them for application to the World Heritage List this year.

The construction of monitoring systems has been launched at other sites along the ancient trade route, including the Maijishan Grottoes and Yumenguan Site, said Xiao Xuezhi, vice head of the Gansu Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage.