The ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India‘ will be India’s nomination for recognition in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the year 2024-25.
The 12 component parts of this nomination are: Salher fort, Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Khanderi fort, Raigad, Pratapgad, Rajgad fort, Suvarnadurg, Panhala Fort, Vijay durg, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu.
These components, distributed across diverse geographical and physiographic regions, showcase the strategic military powers of the Maratha rule.
The ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’, 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.
There are more than 390 forts in Maharashtra, out of which only 12 forts are selected under the landscapes — of these eight forts are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
These are Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Raigad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala fort, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and Gingee fort whereas Salher fort, Rajgad, Khanderi fort and Pratapgarh are protected by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra.
The Salher fort, Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Raigad, Rajgad and Gingee fort are hill forts, Pratapgad is hill-forest fort, Panhala is hill-plateau fort, Vijaydurg is coastal fort whereas Khanderi fort, Suvarnadurg and Sindhudurg are island forts.
The inception of the Maratha military ideology dates back to 17th century during the reign of the Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by the 1670 CE and continued through subsequent rules until Peshwa rule till 1818 CE.
There are two categories of nomination — cultural and natural criteria, the Maratha military landscapes is nominated in the category of cultural criteria. There are six criteria (i to vi) for cultural sites and four criteria (vii to x) for natural sites for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Maratha military landscapes of India is nominated under criterion (iii): To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation that in living or which has disappeared; criterion (iv): to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that illustrates significant stage(s) in human history; and criterion (vi): to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.
At present in India, there are 42 World Heritage sites, out of which 34 are cultural sites, seven are natural sites whereas one is mixed site. In Maharashtra there are six World Heritage Sites, five cultural and one natural. These are, Ajanta Caves (1983), Ellora Caves (1983), Elephanta Caves (1987), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004), Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018) and Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala is serial property in natural category (2012).
The Maratha Military Landscapes of India, included in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites in 2021 is the sixth cultural property nominated for inclusion, from Maharashtra.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!