‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ representing extraordinary fortification and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers will be India’s nomination for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the 2024-25 cycle, the Culture Ministry said on Monday.

The twelve components of this nomination are — Salher fort, Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Khanderi fort, Raigad, Rajgad, Pratapgad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala fort, Vijay durg, and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, and Gingee fort in Tamil Nadu, it said in a statement.

These components, distributed across diverse geographical and physiographic regions, showcase the strategic military powers of the Maratha rule, officials said.

The ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’, which developed between 17th and 19th centuries, “represent an extraordinary fortification and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers”, the statement said.

This will be India’s nomination for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage List for the year 2024-25, it added.

“This extraordinary network of forts, varying in hierarchies, scales and typological features, is a result of integrating the landscape, terrain and physiographic characteristics distinctive to the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Konkan Coast, Deccan Plateau and the Eastern Ghats in the Indian Peninsula,” the statement said.

The ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’ was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2021, it said.

There are more than 390 forts in Maharashtra, out of which only 12 forts are selected under the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’, and eight of these forts are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The forts under ASI are Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Raigad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala fort, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and Gingee fort; whereas Salher fort, Rajgad, Khanderi fort and Pratapgarh are protected by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, government of Maharashtra, the statement said.

“In the Maratha Military Landscapes of India, Salher fort, Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Raigad, Rajgad and Gingee fort are hill forts, Pratapgad is hill-forest fort, Panhala is hill-plateau fort, Vijaydurg is coastal fort whereas Khanderi fort, Suvarnadurg and Sindhudurg are island forts,” the ministry said.

The inception of the Maratha military ideology dates back to 17th century during the reign of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by 1670 and continued through subsequent rules until Peshwa rule till 1818, the statement said.

‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ nomination is in the category of cultural property, the ministry said.

At present, there are 42 World Heritage Sites in India, out of which 34 are cultural sites, seven are natural sites whereas one is mixed site.

In Maharashtra, there are six sites having a UNESCO tag — five cultural and one natural. These are Ajanta Caves (inscribed in 1983), Ellora Caves (1983), Elephanta Caves (1987), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004), Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018), and Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala is serial property in natural category (2012), the statement said.

There are six criteria for sending a nomination — i to vi — for cultural sites, and four criteria — vii to x — for natural sites for inclusion in the World Heritage List, it added.

The ‘Maratha Military Landscapes of India’ is nominated under criterion iii — to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization that in living or which has disappeared; criterion iv — to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that illustrates significant stage(s) in human history; and criterion vi — to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance, the statement said.