Fri. Apr 19th, 2024
Maratha Military Might to seek UNESCO World Heritage Recognition

The “Maratha Military Landscapes of India” will be India’s nomination for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the year 2024-25. This extraordinary network of forts, scattered across diverse landscapes, stands as a testament to the strategic prowess and enduring legacy of the Maratha Empire.

Developed between the 17th and 19th centuries, the Maratha Military Landscapes showcase a sophisticated fortification system envisioned by the Maratha rulers. These forts, varying in size, function, and design, seamlessly blend with the unique topography of the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Konkan Coast, the Deccan Plateau, and the Eastern Ghats. From hilltop citadels like Shivneri and Raigad to island strongholds like Khanderi and Sindhudurg, each fort played a crucial role in the Maratha Empire’s military and political strategies.

Out of over 390 forts in Maharashtra, a carefully curated selection of 12 have been chosen for this nomination. Eight of these, including the majestic Shivneri Fort, the impregnable Raigad, and the captivating Panhala Fort, are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. The remaining four, like the enigmatic Salher Fort and the picturesque Pratapgad, fall under the purview of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra.

The Maratha military ideology, born during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the 17th century, flourished under subsequent rulers until the Peshwa era in 1818. This nomination seeks recognition under three cultural criteria defined by UNESCO:

  • Criterion (iii): Bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition or civilization, both living and vanished.
  • Criterion (iv): Outstanding example of a type of building, architectural ensemble, or landscape illustrating significant stages in human history.
  • Criterion (vi): Directly or tangibly associated with events, living traditions, ideas, beliefs, or artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.

With 42 existing World Heritage Sites, India boasts a rich cultural tapestry. The Maratha Military Landscapes, if inscribed on the prestigious list, would be the sixth cultural property nominated from Maharashtra, joining illustrious landmarks like the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. This recognition would not only celebrate the Maratha Empire’s military brilliance but also serve as a powerful reminder of India’s diverse and captivating heritage.

Read Also: World Heritage Day 2023: Why to celebrate our cultural heritage on this day?

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