|Location:||Western Ghats, Ratan Wadi, Maharashtra, India,|
|District:||Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra|
Also called Jewels of the Fort, Ratangad is one of the most beautiful hill forts in Maharashtra. With an elevation of about 4300 feet, it is located on the border of Ahmednagar district at a distance of around 160 km from the main city.
Nestled wonderfully amidst the lush green expanse of the Western Ghats, this marvelous fort dates back to 400 years and houses several ancient sites, such as temples. It is covered with squashy grasslands and colourful flowering plants.
Ratangad has a natural rock peak with a cavity in it at the top which is called ‘Nedhe’ or ‘Eye of the Needle’. The fort has four gates Ganesh, Hanuman, Konkan and Trimbak. The sculptures of Lord Ganesh and Hanuman are seen on the main gate. It also has many wells on the top. The main attraction at Ratanwadi is the Amruteshwar Temple, famous for its carvings, dating back to the Hemadpant Era – roughly from the eighth century. The fort is origin for the river Pravara/Amrutvahini. The Bhandardara dam (arthar dam) is built on this river. From the top of the fort neighboring forts like Alang, kulang, Madan gad, Harishchandragad, Patta are seen easily. The view of entire Bhandardara dam (Lake Arthur) gives sheer pleasure.
The fort is 400 years old. Ratangad was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle.
Places to visit on Fort:
There are many rock cut water cisterns on the fort. Some of them store potable water throughout the year. There is a natural hole in the mountain top probably caused by wind erosion. It is 10 feet high and 60 feet wide. Due to its shape it is called Nedhe (or eye of the needle in Marathi).On the eastern side of the fort there are two caves, which can be used for overnight stay.
How to reach:
There are two main routes to reach the fort. One route starts from village Samrad and the other from village Ratanwadi. The base village Ratanwadi is approached by boat from Bhandardara or by road from Ghoti-Bhandardara road. By boat, it is a 6 km journey and further it is a 4 km walk till Ratanwadi. The trek route from Ratanwadi is the simplest one, it passes through dense forest along the northern bank of the Pravara river, till it reaches a scarp. The final climb is made easy by the iron ladders constructed by the forest department. The trek route from village Samrad is quite difficult one, it passes over the narrow spur and finally reaches the Trymbak darwaja. The entire fort can be seen by taking a path which moves around the ridge of the fort.
Related Video (Ratangad Fort):
Best time to visit:
This fort can be visited in any part of the year however the beast season is from October–February when the temperature is cool and the vegetation has not dried up.