India has nominated the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the 2024-25 cycle. This significant move by the Culture Ministry highlights the exceptional fortification and military systems envisioned by the Maratha rulers.
Understanding the Maratha Military Landscapes
The ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’ comprise twelve components, including Salher Fort, Shivneri Fort, Lohgad, Khanderi Fort, Raigad, Rajgad, Pratapgad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala Fort, Vijay Durg, Sindhudurg, and Gingee Fort. These structures, dating back to the 17th and 19th centuries, span across Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, showcasing the strategic military prowess of the Maratha rule.
Geographical and Physiographic Significance
Distributed across diverse geographical regions like the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Konkan Coast, Deccan Plateau, and the Eastern Ghats, these forts exhibit a unique integration of landscape, terrain, and physiographic characteristics. Each fort differs in hierarchy, scale, and typology, reflecting the Marathas’ innovative approach to military architecture.
The inception of the Maratha military ideology dates back to the 17th century during the reign of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It continued through the subsequent rules until the Peshwa rule ended in 1818. The forts represent a rich history of bravery, strategy, and architectural brilliance.
UNESCO World Heritage Nomination
The nomination of the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ falls under the category of cultural property. These landscapes were included in the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2021. India’s nomination aims to preserve and bring global recognition to these historical sites.
Current Status and Protection
Of the more than 390 forts in Maharashtra, only 12 have been selected under this nomination. Eight of these forts are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), while the remaining four are under the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra.
Types of Forts in the Nomination
The Maratha Military Landscapes include hill forts, hill-forest forts, hill-plateau forts, coastal forts, and island forts. This variety reflects the Marathas’ adaptability and ingenuity in using the natural terrain to their advantage.
UNESCO Criteria for Nomination
The ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’ are nominated under three criteria: to bear a unique testimony to a cultural tradition, to be an outstanding example of an architectural or technological ensemble, and to be associated with events or ideas of outstanding universal significance.
Important Questions Related to Exams
- Which forts are included in the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’?
- How do the Maratha Military Landscapes reflect the geographical and physiographic diversity of India?
- Under which category has the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status?
- How many forts in Maharashtra are included in the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ nomination?
- What types of forts are part of the Maratha Military Landscapes?
Kindly share your responses in the comment section!!