In celebration of the 350th anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's Coronation,
Maharashtra eagerly anticipates the UNESCO World Heritage designation for a series of 14 Maratha forts that adorn the Western Ghats and the picturesque Konkan coast.
The Western Ghats UNESCO Site
The Western Ghats achieved UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012, covering a vast green hilly expanse spanning from South Gujarat to North Kerala,
with substantial portions in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Iconic Maratha Forts
These 14 forts, symbolizing "Maratha Military Architecture," have made it to UNESCO's tentative list since April 2021.
Await formal recognition as WH sites.
Raigad (the Capital of Maratha Empire)
Lohagad (all Pune)
Mulher (all Nashik)
Sindhudurg (Sindhudurg district)
Strategic Coastal and Ghats Setting
The Arabian Sea coastline and the Western Ghats, extending into Marathwada, offered an ideal backdrop for guerrilla warfare tactics.
During the Medieval Period, various foreign entities, including Arabs, Turks, Europeans, and Africans, arrived in the Konkan region and ventured inland.
Shivaji Maharaj and the Maratha Empire
Shivaji Maharaj established Swarajya (self-rule) and resisted the powerful Mughal Empire's advances.
The Marathas effectively utilized the hilly terrain, constructing forts on plains, hills, and long coastlines, thwarting the Mughal Empire's expansion.
In 1674, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj founded the Maratha Empire, which, within 75 years of his death in 1680, covered one-third of the Indian Subcontinent.
The Marathas employed guerrilla warfare to achieve significant political and territorial outcomes.
They even resisted the later British Empire for some time, with battles like Bhima-Koregaon, before eventually succumbing to Anglo-Maratha conflicts.
The British, Portuguese, and French eventually established control in various pockets of the region.
The UNESCO recognition of these Maratha forts would honor their historical significance, boost tourism, and promote conservation efforts, further benefiting Maharashtra's local economy.