Objectives and Goals

This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean – extending from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka to the Southeast Asian archipelago.The project will promote research on themes related to the study of Maritime Routes through international scientific seminars and meetings and by adopting a multidisciplinary approach. It will encourage the production of specialized works, as well as publications for the general public with an attempt at promoting a broader understanding of the concept of a common heritage and multiple identities.


The project will have two major units: (i) Project Research Unit and (ii) World Heritage Nomination Unit. The main objective of the project is transnational nomination of Maritime Cultural Routes, creation of a comprehensive database and UNESCO web platform on Maritime Cultural Landscapes and Routes and; linking other UNESCO cultural conventions with the World Heritage convention through this theme. A Research unit is being set up at IGNCA under the Project ‘Mausam’.


  • Reviving lost linkages with nations Countries along the Indian Ocean have shared links with each other for millennia. Project ‘Mausam’ seeks to transcend present-day national and ethnic boundaries, documenting and celebrating the common cultural values and economic ties of the Indian Ocean ‘world’. This will not only strengthen current ties between countries across the Ocean, but also set a precedent for new bridges of co-operation and continued relations and interactions.

  • Creating links to existing World Heritage sites Providing a platform to connect discrete Cultural and Natural World Heritage sites across the Indian Ocean ‘world’ by providing a cross-cultural, transnational narrative.

  • Redefining ‘Cultural Landscapes’ Identifying gaps in listing of sites and filling in lacuna by providing a holistic, multi-layered perspective and drawing relationships between the existing categories of ‘Natural’ and ‘Cultural’ Heritage. This would redefine the concept of ‘Cultural Landscapes,’ and allow for a fresh, multi-faceted approach to understanding past and present-day relationships.

  • Achieving transnational nomination under World Heritage Advocating for ‘Indian Ocean Maritime Routes’ to attain transnational nomination under World Heritage, increasing scope for visibility, research, sustainable tourism, heritage development and promoting other Cultural Conventions across the Indian Ocean region.