Pune: United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has accepted the State government’s proposal to accord the forts of Maharashtra the world heritage site status. This will help to showcase the history of the Maratha empire and boost tourism. Also a book – ‘Strongholds of Western India -The Forts of Maharashtra’ was unveiled on Saturday.
The advisory bodies of UNESCO including International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Scientific Committee on Fortifications and Military Heritage (ICOFORT) have come up with the book, which has been compiled by Dr Shikha Jain and Dr Rima Hooja, members of UNESCO from India.
Jain said, “After working on Rajasthan forts which tell the story of the Princely State, the forts in Maharashtra tell the story of the Maratha empire. In 2013, the forts of Rajasthan were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site for their cultural significance and now, we are focusing on forts of Maharashtra. In 2016, we were planning for the same and now the UNESCO has accepted the proposal sent by the State government. After this the Fortification Scientific Committee of UNESCO will study these forts, the discussion will take place and it will be then shortlisted and around four to five years after the status will be given,”
The book is first and foremost to document and showcase the fortified cultural landscape of the State. The book not only narrates the military strategy of the Maratha kingdom and the contribution of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to Guerrilla Warfare and naval forces but also outlines the range of forts typology in the State, including complete documentation, technical analysis and recommendations of specific forts for promoting this exceptional heritage of Maharashtra.
The book was launched by Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, the descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Chairman of Raigad Development Authority, MP and Rohit Jigyasu, President- ICOMOS India.
Sambhajiraje questioned that why the forts should be inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. He commented during the event that, “Why the forts of Maharashtra should be inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, as this could lead to several restrictions.”
He said, “To restore and conserve Rs 600 crore was sanctioned for the Raigad fort by Maharashtra. The Central Archeology Department will be doing important works while the Public Works Department, on the guidelines of Archeology department will be doing other related works on the fort. From October 5, five excavation sites will be opened in Raigad. Also, a master plan and documentation should be prominently done for our future generations.”