Ratangad Fort also known as Jewels of the Fort resides in RatanWadi Village which acts as the base of the trek, is also one of the oldest artificial catchment areas. It is located in the Ahmednagar district. The fort has been standing for 400 years.
It is a part of the Kalsubai range, which is known to consist of some of the highest peaks in the Sahyadris. Ratangad is known to give you the best view of the surrounding peaks and the Bhandardara dam. It is situated 4,255 ft above sea level and stands in the “Eye of the Needle” which is a major attraction for all trekking lovers. This trek is perfect for nature visual lovers and history lovers. Known for its architecture and rich history, the glory of this fort is unmatched.
The fort has been there for four centuries and was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle. It was an important religious center in the historical period as well as a Temple of Lord Shiva which is a thousand years old is situated there.
The difficulty level is moderate as the trail might be a little lengthy and hard for beginners. It is advisable to be with the group for a smoother and safer experience.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Ratangad fort is in winters. It is not suitable for trekking in monsoon as the area becomes slippery and during summer the climate is too and humid for the best experience.
It takes 5 hours approximately to reach the top of the fort.
The trail starts from the Pravara river which is opposite to the Amruteshwar temple. The trial paves its path through the village fields and it is fairly flat, that is until you come across the dam which has been recently built on the river. The trail goes along the water body formed due to the dam. The surrounding views are worth it and photogenic. The trail enters the dense forest where the trees provide a dense canopy which provides cool shelter to trekkers in summer. In the second clearing, you’ll find two trails and the one on the right takes you to Ratangad. After taking the right, you have to climb up the steel ladders for 10 to 15 minutes. After climbing the ladders you’ll reach the first gate of the fort. There’s a cave nearby for shelter. A few more steps to reach the second gate of the fort. This gate has the most beautiful carvings and sculptures on it. After some more walking, you reach the top of the fort. Follow the trail towards the left which leads you to the edge of the fort to witness the breathtaking view of colossal cliffs unfolding in front of your eyes. Then walk till you see the edge of the fort on the top right and take the steep ascent to reach it.
- Visit Amruteshwar temple which is one of the oldest temples of Lord Shiva and is 1000 years old.
- A visit to Bhandardara dam is a must while trekking here. The view is breathtaking.
- On the eastern side of the fort there are two caves, which can be used for overnight stay.
Precaution and Essentials
- Good trekking shoes are a must to ensure a comfortable trekking experience.
- Alcohol consumption and smoking are highly inadvisable.
- You should stay in a group as there are wild animals in the forests.
- Carry water and some food with yourself.
- Carry a double strap backpack ( no sling bag).
- Carry mosquito repellent and torches/headlamps with you.
- Carry raincoats, jackets, first aid, and some extra clothes for emergencies.
It is a friendly experience as the trail is a combination of village fields, forest, and iron ladders. It has great historical significance, hence, will be loved by all history lovers and the fort will make us fall in love with ancient architecture. It sure provides a great experience as the villagers are very friendly and welcoming. It is the best hideaway destination from your hectic life and a great way to connect to nature and endure its beauty.