Six Rajasthan hill forts figure in UNESCO World Heritage List

Six hill forts of Rajasthan "exceptional examples of centres of Rajput power and control" have been selected for inscription on UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage List, Union Minister for Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch announced on Thursday.

The forts of Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Jaisalmer, Amber and Gagron located on rocky outcrops of the Aravalli mountain range in the districts of Chittaurgarh, Rajsamand, Sawai Madhopur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jhalawar date back to 8th-19th centuries.

Incidentally, the serial nomination of these forts was last year rejected by the UNESCO. The Ministry of Culture had written to the UNESCO, objecting to the rejection as factual errors were found in the reasons listed for the rejection.

"India has been trying to get them inscribed on the World Heritage List for the last two years and we are immensely pleased that it has been done. This is the first project from Rajasthan to get inscribed on the list," Katoch said.

A statement issued by the ministry says these forts represent "military hill architecture" and are reflections of courtly culture and patronage of art and music and Rajput mercantile business. "The structural remains/ ruins range from 8th to 19th century and comprise multi-gated approaches through massive and high fortification walls, palaces, temples, memorials and water reservoirs. The extensive fortifications up to 20 km in circumference exploit the contours of the hills, and specifically the river at Gagron, dense forest at Ranthambhore, and desert at Jaisalmer," the ministry's statement said.

There are 29 world heritage sites in India with 23 in the cultural category and six in the natural category. India's other nomination of the Great Himalayan Natural Park in Kullu-Manali region has been deferred after queries were raised on certain aspects like buffer zones and its unique factors. Katoch said the ministry would address these queries to ensure that the Himachal Pradesh park finds place on the world heritage site next year. Last year, the Western Ghats were inscribed on the list in the natural sites category. The Majuli islands of Assam are also currently in referral stage.

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