India nominates “Maratha Military Landscapes” for inclusion in UNESCO World Heritage List for 2024-25

A bird’s eye view of Pratapgad Fort, which is located about 22 kms from Maharashtra’s highest hill station, Mahabaleshwar. File

India has nominated the “Maratha Military Landscapes”, a network of forts that showcase the strategic military powers of Maratha rule, for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list for 2024-25.

The 12 components of this nomination are the forts of Salher, Shivneri, Lohagad, Khanderi, Raigad, Rajgad, Pratapgad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala, Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu.

Extraordinary fortification

The “Maratha Military Landscapes”, which developed between 17th and 19th centuries, represent an extraordinary fortification and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers. This extraordinary network of forts, varying in hierarchies, scales and typological features, is a result of integrating the landscape, terrain and physiographic characteristics distinctive to the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Konkan Coast, Deccan Plateau and the Eastern Ghats in the Indian Peninsula.

They are distributed across diverse geographical and physiographic regions and showcase the strategic military powers of the Maratha rule, the Union Culture Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Maharashtra has more than 390 forts out of which only 12 forts are selected under the “Maratha Military Landscapes”. Eight of these are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) while four are protected by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra.

From Shivaji’s times

The inception of the Maratha military ideology dates back to 17th century during the reign of the Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from 1670 CE and continued through subsequent rules until the Peshwa rule till 1818 CE.

The nomination is in the category of cultural property, the Ministry said.

At present in India, there are 42 World Heritage sites out of which 34 are cultural sites, seven are natural sites and one is a mixed site.

The “Maratha Military Landscapes” is the sixth cultural property nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage List from Maharashtra and had been earlier included in the Tentative List of World Heritage sites in 2021.

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