Updated: May 20, 2021 11:27:00 am
The state government will soon initiate the process for seeking World Heritage Site tag for 12 forts in Maharashtra dating back to the era of the 17th-century Maratha king — Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The state government’s Directorate of Archaeology and Museums will prepare a detailed dossier for nomination and send it to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which will then forward it to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) through the Union government’s Ministry of Culture.
Officials from the Directorate said the process for preparing the dossier will begin soon.
The move comes after the ASI shortlisted a tentative proposal in the regard, sent to it in April 2020, last month, said an official.
“The theme for the serial nomination of these forts is ‘Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra and Guerrilla Warfare’,” said Tejas Garge, director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums. With this theme, the directorate will highlight how the formation of Military Landscape in the form of hill and sea forts as a response to hilly terrain in the area is of outstanding universal value, he added.
The 12 forts, which were sent for the tentative serial nomination to ASI last year, included Shivneri (the birthplace of Shivaji); Raigad (the capital fort rebuilt for the coronation of the Maratha king), Torna (the first fort of the Maratha empire), Rajgad, Salher-Mulher, Panhala, Pratapgad, Lohagad, Sindhudurg, Padmadurga (Kasa), Vijaydurg and Kolaba.
Garge further said that the ASI, which received 18 proposals in all, has shortlisted five proposals. “Last month, the ASI communicated to us that our proposal is included in the shortlisted five proposals. So, we will now initiate the process to prepare a dossier required for sending the detailed serial nomination of the proposal,” he added.
Officials said that the dossier for the nomination will include reasons why the structures have outstanding universal value. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is likely to be roped in for preparing the dossier, which can run into a thousand pages, said an official.
Last week, Garge also briefed chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on the proposal, who directed that five forts be selected in the first phase for conservation and preservation, and monitored through the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Welcoming the move, historian Pandurang Balkawade said it would put the Maratha warrior king’s history on the international map and would further increase its importance. “The Maratha king’s history will inspire the younger generation. Besides, it will also boost tourism in the state and will provide employment to the local youths in the respective areas.”
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