WORLD HERITAGE SITES

India nominates 12 forts of Marathas for UNESCO World Heritage List

  • India has formally nominated the “Maratha Military Landscapes” for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List for 2024-25.
  • This proposal includes a network of twelve forts in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu that demonstrate the Maratha rulers’ strategic military prowess.
  • The forts, which were built between the 17th and 19th centuries, are a testament to the Maratha rulers’ remarkable fortification and military systems.

List of Nominated Forts

  1. Salher
  2. Shivneri
  3. Lohagad
  4. Khanderi
  5. Raigad
  6. Rajgad
  7. Pratapgad
  8. Suvarnadurg
  9. Panhala

10.Vijaydurg

11.Sindhudurg

12.Gingee (in Tamil Nadu)

Historical Importance

  • The Maratha Military Landscapes depict the evolution of military ideology beginning in the 17th century with Shivaji Maharaj’s reign and continuing through consecutive rulers until the Peshwa dynasty in 1818.
  • The forts are strategically placed in a variety of geographical areas, including the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Konkan Coast, the Deccan Plateau, and the Eastern Ghats.

The nomination fits under the cultural category and meets the requirements listed below to be added to the World Heritage List:

Criterion (iii): Providing distinctive testimony to a cultural tradition or civilization.

Criterion (iv): Being an outstanding example of a building, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that represents crucial stages in human history.

Criterion (vi): Being strongly linked to events, living traditions, ideas, beliefs, and works of great worldwide significance.

Diversity of Forts

  • The twelve forts vary in hierarchy, sizes, and typological elements.
  • They include coastal forts like Vijaydurg, island forts like Khanderi, Suvarnadurg, and Sindhudurg, hill forts like Pratapgad, hill-plateau forts like Panhala, and hill forts like Shivneri, Lohagad, Raigad, Rajgad, and Gingee.

Conservation and protection

  • Archaeological Survey of India (ASI): ASI maintains protection over eight forts, namely Gingee, Panhala, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg, Raigad, Suvarnadurg, and Shivneri.
  • Maharashtra government’s Directorate of Archaeology and Museums is in charge of protecting the forts of Salher, Rajgad, Khanderi, and Pratapgarh.

India’s current World Heritage Sites

  • There are currently 42 World Heritage sites in India, comprising 34 cultural, 7 natural, and 1 mixed sites.
  • Six World Heritage Sites are located in Maharashtra: the Western Ghats, the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, Ellora Caves, Ajanta Caves, Elephanta Caves, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

Tentative List for Inclusion

In 2021, the Maratha Military Landscapes were added to the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites, becoming Maharashtra’s sixth cultural property to be recommended for inclusion.

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