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Gem in the Sahyadris: Ratangad, Maharashtra

The fort of Ratangad is located in Ratanwadi in Maharashtra and overlooks the scenic Bhandardara. The fort sees beautiful flower cover in the month of November once the rains have ceased. The historic locale gets its name from the word Ratan that means jewel or gem and is regarded as the jewel of the Sahyadri mountains.

Ratnabai Tandal who has a small temple inside the cave on the fort is said to be the person after which this historic structure was named. She was one of three sisters. Kalsubai and Katrabai were the other two.


The best method to begin a trip to Ratangad is to arrive in Ratanwadi. It is a village near Bhandardara of the Kalsubai peak in Maharashtra. It houses the famous Ratangad fort and the popular Shiva temple called Amruteshwar. It is a famous trekking spot as it is far from the main town and has a rustic charm to it. 

Amruteshwar Temple is an intricately carved Shiva temple located in Ratanwadi, this temple is over 1200 years old. This beautiful temple was built by the rulers of Shilahara dynasty in 9th century CE. This is one of 12 Lord Shiva temples built by King Jhanj. 

Before approaching the fort, there are several waterfalls and rice fields to be seen. Trekking is simple until you arrive at the lovely fort, which is dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj who had captured it. Even though the fort is 400 years old, the memories are still vivid. Stone carvings and other decorations were still in place, as they should have been. 

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base camp is around 1000 feet. You may encounter drizzling when you reach 2800 feet. The sunset is lovely and a treat for sore eyes and a tired body. The peak has a natural cavity at the top called ‘nedhe’ or eye of a needle. Ganesh, Hanuman, Konkan and Trimbak are the four gates of the fort.

Sayings by Ganesh and Hanuman are seen on the main gates of the fort. There are many wells and rock cut cisterns also in the fort. The river Pravara or Amrutvahini originates near the fort. It is the same river on which Bhandardara’s Lake Arthur’s Wilson Dam is built. From the top of the fort one can see Alang, Kulang, Madan gad, Harishchandragad and Patta forts that are nearby.

A 10 feet deep and six feet wide natural hole is seen atop Ratangad which is caused by soil erosion. The Eastern side of the fort has two caves where one can stay overnight. The best time to visit is between October and February but one can visit anytime of the year too.

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