Maratha forts to be India’s nomination for UNESCO World Heritage List

India has put forth its nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage List for the year 2024-25, and it’s none other than the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India.’ The Ministry of Culture made the exciting announcement, revealing that the nomination comprises a total of twelve component forts, with eight of them falling under the protective umbrella of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The selected forts encapsulate the historical prowess of the Maratha rule, showcasing a diverse range of geographical and physiographic landscapes. The nominated components include renowned strongholds such as Salher Fort, Shivneri Fort, Lohagad, Khanderi Fort, Raigad, Rajgad, Pratapgad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala Fort, Vijay Durg, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, and Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu.

The Ministry emphasized the strategic military significance of these forts, which were developed between the 17th and 19th centuries. These landscapes stand as a testament to the extraordinary fortification and military systems envisioned by the Maratha rulers during that era.

Breaking down the classification, the Ministry highlighted the diverse nature of the nominated forts. Hill forts like Salher Fort, Shivneri Fort, Lohagad, Raigad, Rajgad, and Gingee Fort, a hill-forest fort like Pratapgad, a hill-plateau fort like Panhala, and a coastal fort like Vijaydurg showcase the geographical variety. Additionally, Khanderi Fort, Suvarnadurg, and Sindhudurg represent island forts, adding a unique dimension to the overall nomination.

This isn’t the first recognition for the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India,’ as it was previously included in the ‘Tentative List of World Heritage sites’ in 2021. Impressively, this nomination marks the sixth cultural property from Maharashtra to be nominated for inclusion in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List.

The announcement coincides with a period of jubilation within the Maratha community following Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s recent declaration granting them all the benefits enjoyed by the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) until the reservation is secured. This positive development aligns with the efforts of activist Manoj Jarange Patil, who, after spearheading the agitation for Maratha reservation since last August, has seen progress with the state government accepting his demands. The inclusion of ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’ in the UNESCO World Heritage List adds another layer of cultural pride to this uplifting moment for the community.

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