The United Nations Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) has included the Hill Forts of Rajasthan in its prestigious list of World Heritage Sites. The list consists of over 700 sites worldwide which are said to have monumental, natural or cultural value of universal significance for the global community.
Hill Forts of Rajasthan – honored among the best global heritage icons
The decision was made at the 37th Annual Session of UNESCO held during June in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. There were 34 new sites up for consideration to the World Heritage list and only 19 met the final requirements. All the nominated forts of Rajasthan will be considered as a single entry to the world Heritage Sites List and will be titled, “The Hill Forts of Rajasthan”. The nominated forts included Jaisalmer Fort, Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gargon Fort and Amber Fort.
Reacting to the news, Bina Kak, state minister for Tourism said, "The nomination of six extensive and majestic hill forts together reflects the elaborate, fortified seats of power of Rajput princely states that flourished between the 8th and 18th centuries and their relative political independence."
She added, "Extensive fortifications up to 20km in circumference optimized various kinds of hilly terrain, specifically the river at Gagron Fort, the dense forests at Ranthambore, and the desert at Jaisalmer, and exhibit an important phase of development of an architectural typology based on the established 'traditional Indian principles".
Rakesh Srivastava, Principal Secretary, Tourism, represented Rajasthan at the World Heritage Sites Session in Cambodia along with Pankaj Dhirendra, a state archaeology official.
In 2010, Jantar Mantar from Rajsthan state was included in the World Heritage List as the first state protected monument in India.
Kak further elucidated on the ambitious plans of the Rajasthan state government to get further heritage sites listed in the UNESCO list. She added that "We are nominating step wells of Rajasthan at Abhaneri, Bandikui and Bundi for the next session and later, fresco paintings of Shekhawati region will also be proposed”.