The Maharashtra government is seeking to get 14 of its forts tagged as World Heritage Sites. Officials have prepared and submitted a tentative “serial” nomination for 14 selected forts belong to the Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s era, back in the 17th century, built in the Maratha Military Architecture style.
The list of 14 forts has been forwarded to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, popularly known as UNESCO. The nominations have already been accepted in the Tentative Lists that UNESCO deliberates for giving tags of World Heritage Site.
A World Heritage Site is a place with an “outstanding universal value”. It signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity”.
The 14 Forts in Maharashtra’s proposal with historical significance of either the Peshwa rule or battle between the Marathas and Mughals are:
Raigad Fort built on a large wedge of a hill in the Sahyadris. The fort, originally known as Rairi, is separated from the main range by a ravine. It was the capital fort of the Maratha Empire and was rebuilt for the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Rajgad Fort located on a hill in Pune district. It was the capital of the Maratha Empire under Chhatrapati Shivaji for nearly 26 years, before the capital moved to the Raigad Fort.
Shivneri Fort close to Junnar in Pune district. This was the birthplace of Shivaji. It has 7 gates and is an example of Bahamani/ Nizamshahi architecture providing a backdrop to narrative of guerrilla warfare.
Torna Fort again in Pune district, was captured by Shivaji in 1646, when he was 16, and marked the beginning of the Maratha empire.
Lohagad located near Lonavala, is believed to have been built in the 14th century. The fort overlooks one of the most picturesque valleys and is an example of Maratha hill fort architecture until Peshwa period.
Salher Fort is among the highest forts in the Sahyadris, located in Dolhari range of Nashik. A key battle between Marathas and Mughals took place at this fort in 1672.
Mulher Fort in Nashik is the center of three forts situated on a hill, flanked by Mora to the east and Hatgad to the west. The third Maratha War ended with the surrender of Mulher.
Rangana Fort in Kolhapur, bordering Sindhudurg. In his Deccan campaign, Aurangzeb tried to conquer it along with Bhudargad and Samangad but failed to succeed.
Ankai Tankai Forts in Nashil district. Ankai and Tankai are separate forts on adjacent hills, with a common fortification wall.
Kasa Fort also known as Padmadurg, is built on a rocky island off the coast of Murud. It serves as a base for naval military operations.
Sindhudurg Fort was built in 1668 by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. This sea fort is considered a masterpiece in military defence.
Alibag Fort, popularly known as Kulaba Fort, was selected as one of the forts to be modelled as a naval base by Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Suvarnadurg is located on an island. The fort was repaired and reinforced by Shivaji Maharaj in 1660.
Khanderi Fort, officially named as Kanhoji Angre Island in 1998, is 20km south of Mumbai. Built in 1679, the fort had witnessed many battles between Shivaji Maharaj’s forces and the navy of the Siddhis.