Trekking and night camping @ Ratangad

रतनगड ट्रेक आणि आम्ही

Type: Hill Fort 
Height: 1192 meters / 4250 ft
Difficulty: Medium
Endurance Level: Basic Endurance Level
Base Village: Ratanwadi, Akole, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India


Ratangad a 400 year old fortress at a height of 4250ft, according to old stories additionally one of the most loved fortresses of Shivaji Maharaj. Ratangad was caught by Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle and was one of his top choices The Wilson dam and Arthur Lake, Kalsubai Peak, The Amruteshwar sanctuary and the Randha Falls - the district in the Sahyadris encompassing Ratangad is genuinely a little heaven, a mystery well kept, and Ratangad valid to its name is similar to a gem in its superb crown.
Ratangad has a characteristic rock crest with a depression in it at the top which is called "Nedhe" or 'Opening of the Needle'. The fort has four entryways Ganesh, Hanuman, Konkan and Trimbak. It additionally has numerous wells on the top. The base town Ratanwadi has an Amruteshwar sanctuary which is well known for its carvings.
The military building made strong against attack is starting point for the small river Pravara/Amrutvahini. The Bhandardara dam (Arthur dam) is based on this waterway. The first attraction at Ratanwadi is the Amruteshwar sanctuary going once again to the Hemadpanti Era - generally from the eighth hundred. The base town Ratanwadi is approached by watercraft from Bhandardara.
By boat, it is a 6 km go with quick delicate steps and further it is a 4 km short slow walk till Ratanwadi. There is a Ganesh sanctuary in a little give in. There is an alternate 1 greater hole enough open to do a kind act around 20 individuals. Rani Mahal is a structure of which just some broken dividers are remaining.
The trek to Ratangad from Ratanwadi, base town of Ratangad trek, would take around 3 to 4 hours. It's a plain and easy journey and the moving (in a wavy pattern) trail will take you through little fields and thick forests by the Pravara stream.
You may need to cross the river more than once relying upon the trail taken. Towards the end of the journey there are two stepping stools one after the other. Be watchful while traveling up as one of the trails to Harishchandragad rather than Ratangad.

Trek and Camp Experience - Ratangad 

A great trek experience with best buddies.

Day 1: 

We were 4 trekkers meeting after long time after 2-3 years since our last trek. 3 of them were coming from Mumbai via Kasara and I was the only one who was travelling from Pune. We planned to meet around 11am at Bhandardara. But to my bad luck and theirs too. 1 of the guy from Mumbai and me from Pune, woke up late and we were 2 hour late as per schedule. They reached at 11pm Kasara Railway station. They had a guy ready to pick them up from Railway Station to Ratanwadi (the base place to start the trek). Then within 2 hours they reached Bhandardara dam. Luckily 1 door of the dam was opened for providing water to the farmers.

After a late start & watching the beautiful view of Bhandardara Dam we all managed to meet by 1pm. There is mobile network issue in this area. This impacted me as I was not able to contact my friends. So after checking with 2-3 tourists 1 of them had the mobile network. I asked for help and they helped me with the call and I met my friends. Then I parked my bike at one of the our friend's relative who was driving for us from last 2 trips. We left around 1:15pm towards Ratanwadi. We reached the base place for trekking around 2:30pm. There is a hotel Prawara near the base place. They provide good food.

They have both veg & non veg food. The veg food is Rs 140 per thali with unlimted bhakri, chapati. The non veg food is Rs 160  per thali with unlimted bhakri, chapati. We had the traditional Maharashtrian food Pithla, Shevbhaji & Bhakari as most of us were veg. This place also provides tents if you are staying on the top of the fort. Rs 500 for a tent with a capacity of 2 people. They also provide food for dinner. You can either get it pack whenever you start the trek or they will bring the food on the top of the fort at the time of dinner. The cost of bringing the food for dinner is Rs 200. They have a guy who will bring your tents and food on the top of the fort for Rs 350. We did none of this we just got our dinner packaged with us and left hotel and our driver friend around 3:30pm. We were late by 1:30 - 2 hours. We felt bad that after starting such late we will be surely missing the sun set view from the top.

Shashi, our friend (who was our guide for the trek as well) had some confusion about the route due to newly constructed dam. So we hired a guide for the route till the point where the road get separates for Harishchandragad and Ratangad for Rs 350. After some time we stopped for refreshment, we got lemon juice and with refreshment we continued trekking. Then the guide left us at the decided point from there the destination was at a distance of 1 hour. With some more small breaks we were still moving. And finally after seeing the stairs we were full joy as it was just 10 minutes away to reach the top. Some of the people were returning to base as there was no place left on the fort to stay. We reached at the top and what a joy to see the entire place from top. We entered the fort first the Hanuman Darwaja followed by Ganesh Darwaja. We took blessings in Ganesh Temple and moved to Ganesh Darwaja to cross it. There are 2 places to stay. 1 is near the entrance a small cave like place. max 20 people can stay. The cave like place have near by village people. They also provide you with the dinner. They make the food there only in front of you. Another place is at the top i.e the plain ground. you can campaign the tent anywhere you want. Just see to it that the place is clean, horizontal and less covered with grass. As the fort was we crowded on an avg 150 people where present at the top. So it was difficult to find a place that was less crowded & cleaned. After a long search we found 2 places. Finally with lot of discussion we picked a place which was not so straight and it seemed little slippery. We managed on the place started eating famous Junnar Bhel. We brought some wooden sticks at the time of coming. They are found near the stairs at the top of the fort. We started the campaign fire and had an awesome dinner.

After chit-chatting, we went to sleep at 11:30pm. We woke up at 6am to see the sunrise as we missed the sunset.

Day 2: 

And finally the time arrived when we saw sunrise and it was an awesome moment. After sunrise, clicking few pictures and freshening up we moved towards Trambak Darwaja as we had a plan to go down to Samrad Village.

There are two ways to get down from the fort. 1 is the same from where you came i.e the Ratanwadi and another is the Samrad village. This is on the another side of the fort and around 6 km from Ratanwadi. Our return journey started heading towards Samrad village. While returning you will see the top view of Sandhan Valley all way from Ratangad. A small climbing is required towards Nedhe. (Eye of the Needle). After resting for sometime we started our return journey and way to Trimbak Darwaja and Samrad Village.

While returning you will see those old times stairs. After crossing the stairs the trek will get easy with a normal walk till the end. After travel of 3:30 - 4 hours we finally reached to Samrad Village where we had a plan of meeting to our driver cum friend. As mobile network connection issues, we had trouble contacting to our friend, etc. After waiting for 15-20 minutes, he came as we informed him that at 12pm if we are not at Ratanwadi just make a small trip to Samrad in  case we may arrive there. So he came and we left to Bhandardara but this time from Shendi Village and not from Ratanwadi. We had a lunch at a hotel in Shendi and we moved back to the location where my bike was parked. At this point we needed to separate and Mumbai guys left to Kasara for local train and I returned back to Junnar.

It was a perfect trip with best guys and that was too after long days. Really a most awaited trip and more energetic trip. Thank you Shashi, Aniruudhha and Arjun for such a good trip. Also thank you Aniruddha for being a photographer... :)

Some more photos.


How to Reach Ratangad
  1. Pune to Ratangad fort By Bus
    • From Pune there are direct ST (State Transport) buses available from Shivajinagar to Rajur (Ahmednagar), From Rajur there are local transport are available to reach at Shendi village, from here there are taxi available to reach at Ratanwadi village.
  2. Pune to Ratangad fort By Train
    • From Pune junction there are trains available to Ahmednagar, from Ahmednagar there are ST (State Transport) buses and local transport available to Rajur, and then follow the same route from Rajur mentioned above.
  3. Pune to Ratangad fort By Road
    • Route of Pune to Ratangad fort - Pune - Lonikand - Shikrapur - Ranjangaon - Shirur - Ahmednagar - Rajuri - Shendi - Ratanwadi - Ratangad fort.
    • OR
    • Pune - Nashik Phata - Bhosari - Chakan - Khed / Rajgurunagar - Alephata - Brahmanwada - Kotul - Rajur - Randha Fall - Bhandardara - Ratanwadi
  1. Mumbai to Ratangad fort By Bus
      • From Mumbai there are ST (State Transport) buses or trains available to Igatpuri, distance between Mumbai to Igatpuri are 121 kilometers, from here there are ST (State Transport) buses and local transport available to Bhandardara or Shendi village, from here there are local transport available to Ratanwadi village.
      1. Mumbai to Ratangad fort By Train
          • From Mumbai there are trains available to Igatpuri, from Mumbai to Igatpuri is around 121 kilometers, and then follow the same route from Igatpuri mentioned above.   
          1. Mumbai to Ratangad fort By Road  
              • Route of Mumbai to Ratangad fort - Mumbai - Naupada - Padgha - Shahapur - Khardi - Kasara - Ghoti - Bhandardara - Ratanwadi - Ratangad fort.

              Time to reach the top
              3-4 hours from the base village Ratanwadi.

              Minimum Duration
              1-2 days.

              Best time to visit the fort
              June to February, Better to go post-monsoons if you want to concentrate on photography.

              Water Availability
              Yes there are many cisterns on the fort which have water till the end of the winter season and starting of summer season.

              Accommodation Availability
              There is a bigger cave spacious enough to accommodate about 20 people.

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