Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

India nominates 12 forts of Marathas for UNESCO World Heritage List


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNESCO World Heritage List

Mains level : Maratha Military Landscapes



  • India’s nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2024-25 is the “Maratha Military Landscapes of India.”
  • This nomination encompasses twelve distinct components, each holding a unique place in history and culture.
  • Together, they illuminate the strategic military prowess of the Maratha rulers during the 17th to 19th centuries.

Maratha Military Landscapes

  • Selecting the Twelve: Maharashtra boasts more than 390 forts, with only twelve chosen for the Maratha Military Landscapes. Among them, eight are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India, including Shivneri, Lohgad, Raigad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg, and Gingee. Salher, Rajgad, Khanderi, and Pratapgarh are safeguarded by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra.
  • Diverse Fort Types: These forts encompass hill forts, hill-forest forts, hill-plateau forts, coastal forts, and island forts, each with its distinct historical and geographical significance.
  • Historical Significance: These forts, scattered across varied geographical and physiographic regions, exemplify the Maratha rulers’ exceptional fortification and military strategies.

Maratha Military Ideology

  • The origins of Maratha Military ideology can be traced back to the 17th century during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (circa 1670 CE).
  • This enduring legacy continued through subsequent rules, including the Peshwa rule until 1818 CE.

Nomination and Criteria

The Maratha Military Landscapes of India is nominated in the category of cultural criteria, specifically under:

    1. Criterion (iii): Bearing exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or civilization.
    2. Criterion (iv): Exemplifying outstanding architectural or technological ensembles representing significant stages in human history.
    3. Criterion (vi): Tangibly associated with events, traditions, beliefs, and works of universal significance.

India’s Rich UNESCO Heritage

  • Existing World Heritage Sites: India currently boasts 42 World Heritage Sites, comprising 34 cultural sites, seven natural sites, and one mixed site.
  • Maharashtra’s Contribution: Maharashtra contributes significantly to India’s heritage with six World Heritage Sites, including Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, and the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala (in the natural category).
  • A Cultural Gem: The Maratha Military Landscapes of India, included in the Tentative List of World Heritage sites in 2021, stands as Maharashtra’s sixth cultural property nominated for inclusion in the prestigious World Heritage List.

Back2Basics: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Landmarks or areas selected by UNESCO for their cultural, historical, scientific, or other significant value, legally protected by international treaties.
Importance World Heritage Sites represent collective and preservative interests of humanity, signifying remarkable accomplishments and intellectual history.
Selection Criteria Sites must be already-classified landmarks, unique and significant culturally or physically, such as ancient ruins, historical structures, cities, monuments, etc.
Conservation World Heritage Sites require practical conservation to protect them from risks like trespassing, uncontrolled access, or administrative negligence.
World Heritage Committee Selects and monitors World Heritage Sites, manages the World Heritage Fund, and provides financial assistance. Composed of 21 states parties elected for a four-year term.
Membership India is not a member of the World Heritage Committee.

Note: “States parties” refer to the countries that have ratified the World Heritage Convention and participate in the decision-making process.

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