Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ratangad - Mystic Peak of Sahyadri


I, Shridhar Purandare ,am back with one more trekking destination for travelers and that place is Ratangad in Ahamadnagar District.

Here are some details about the place before you will get baffled by the beauty of it.

Type Hill Fort
District Ahmadnagar
Height above mean sea level 4255 feet
Base Village Ratanwadi, Samrud
Minimum Duration 2 Days
Region Igatpuri
Transport By road :
From Pune 220 kms Route : Pune -(140km by Nashik highway)- Sangamner (by kolhar ghoti road) -Akole - Rajur -Shendi - Samrud -Ratanwadi

By rail: Igatpuri station then take bus to Bhandardara and jeep to Shendi or Ratanwadi
Time to reach the top Ratanwadi route : About 3 hours from the base (easy)
Samrud route: About 4 hours from the base (medium)
Water Availability Water cisterns are available at the top
Best season to visit July to December
Sights to visit Darwajas (Gates), caves, nedhe (natural hole to the hill), Amruteshwar temple, Bhandardara lake.
Difficulty Rating Simple to medium
Shelter Caves at the top (1 small for 3-4 people and one big cave for 10-15 people)

Few interesting things people do not know about this area:

Ratangad was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle and was one of his favorites. The base village Ratanwadi has a beautiful Amruteshwar temple which is famous for its carvings.It is around 1000 years old dating back to the Hemadpant Era Roughly from the 8th Century. The fort is origin for the river Pravara / Amrutvahini . The Bhandardara and Nilonda dams are built on this river.

Indian mythology has said that, once Agastya Rishi meditated by consuming only water and air for a long tenure. Due to his incredible devotion, Lord Shiva appeared, blessed him, and left a stream of Ganga that is now known as Pravara River. Locals say that treasure looted from Surat is kept on this fort.

Our experience:

This was not my first time to trek in Bhadardara region. I have done Alang,Madanm,Kulang and Harishchandra gadh before. With the experience I knew it would be no more than paradise.

Team members: Dhawal(aka Bona), Aditya(Abu),Rahul(Lancer),Prashant(ex Builder) and I(Lambda).

All of us are profound trekkers so we were not worried about Monsoon clouds. We decided to climb up from Samrud route and descend by Ratanwadi route.

1st august 09 :

After few treks you will take not more than few minutes to pack you sack. Make sure that you take as less luggage as you can and en wrap all things with polythene.

We left Pune by 10.30 pm. Nashik highway is pretty well maintained. With few stops we reached Sangamner by 1.30am. Mosquitoes kept us awake till 6am.

2nd August:

Staying at Bus stand, Using leaves of trees as Toilet paper,Drinking water from any source you may find,not caring about how people look at you when you wear shorts and carry big sack, maintaining uncomfortable position on bike or in ST bus for hours, sleeping in most uncomfortable place as if you are sleeping on your bed, traveling when rest of the world is sleeping are few habits of Trekkers wait wait... and even after all this enjoy the beauty of nature to the fullest makes trekkers special.I am proud to be a trekker.

With the route described above we drove to Samrud village. Yashwant rao , local villager help us to park our bikes safely and prepared lunch for us. Rice chapati ( Tandalachi Bhakari), Cabbage and Thecha(recipe made from chilly) made the menu.

It was an awesome experience. By 11pm we left for Ratangadh. We took off some time to see famous Sandhan valley. We bathed in the icy water. Yahswant rao was leading us as the path is very misleading sometimes.

After chilling for half an hour we moved ahead. Yashwant rao showed us various Ayurvedic plants like Hirda( for Cough). Surroundings are grand. You can spot Ajoba, Alang,Madan,Kulang and Kalsubai on the way. Waterfalls welcome you after every few minutes. But most of these waterfalls are subject to good rain.

Cliffs similar to konkan kada also can be seen. This route takes some skills. We also spotted smallest poisonous snake in the world – Saw Scaled Viper . Nature always will test your mettle.
But it gives miraculous beauty in return. Fresh air,foggy atmosphere,clean water,peace and joy every bit of these is priceless. Prashant was inches away from this snake.If you behave well with it then everything is fine.

As we moved further to top of Ratangadh wind speed increased drastically. We crossed tryambak darwaja by 4pm.

Some steps before that makes the trek interesting. These broad and tall steps and take every chunk of your stamina. We went to top to see the Nedhe (Natural hole in the hill). On the way to it wind started flowing at 60-80kmph. I literally had to bend toward wall while walking. At one small patch it was partially successful to blow me off the track. Luckily my grip and Dhawal saved me.

The Nedhe is beautiful and wind flows through it. On a clear day views from top are marvelous.
We were somewhat tired now and headed to cave.

On the way we saw Kunda (Water tank) which is source of Pravara river.

When we reached cave the seen was not that good. Small cave was occupied completely and big cave was covered half by one group. So we occupied place in front of cave door. After unloading sacks and other stuff we were ready to go for crab hunting.
Yashwant rao took us to different areas of fort for hunting. We roamed around covering Kalyan Darwaja and few more water cisterns. We also saw water tank where treasure is hidden (according to Yashwantrao).

After one hour we were able to catch 4 crabs. Two of them were big and and two small.

With successful hunting we came back to cave for cooking. Dhawal and prashant were looking dull and uneasy. They slept till 8pm. We started preparing for dinner. Crab Curry,Maggy Rice,Bread Jam and other snacks made the menu. Vegitarian ate rice while we wiped out Crab Curry and rice. Visibility was decreased to few feet level by that time. Cool breeze was making us shiver time and again.I went to bed by 9pm.

3rd August: We woke up by 7am and hurriedly started return journey. 7 hours tiresome bike ride to Pune was still remaining. With some ladder fun initially rest route was piece of cake for us.

Within 90 minutes were cruising and were just 10 minutes away from Ratanwadi. I decided to cool down in the spring while others were taking snaps.

Ratanwadi has one of the most exquisite surroundings in Monsoon. I was endlessly clicking pics for 15 minutes. Epitome of sculptures, Amruteshwar temple which is about 1000 years old still facinates the tourists.
It is surrounded by rice farms and springs. Indrayani is the rice brand grown out of this area.Jeep was waiting for us to take us to Samrud. With heavy lunch we left for Pune by 1pm. With the prestine environment around driving was a pleasure.

One thing to mention here : As the forts are becoming more and more accessible to people who are not matured enough to go there, plastic pollution is on the rise on moost of the forts. Same is the case with Ratangadh. Public need to be tought about trekking manners which are very simple.

Few Lines about Trekker's manners:

1. Do not throw plastic/undegradable waste anywhere on the planet
2. Plastic includes Beer bottles/Water bottles and polythene too.
3. Do not use your carving skills on the walls/doors/caves of the forts.
4. Make sure to not bring people who do not follow above manners to forts.

We reached Pune by 9pm and readily dispersed to sleep tight.

As always you can contact me for any queries/information. Comments/Suggestions are expected. :)

Shridhar Purandare


  1. Nice Photo future dear Shridhar ....!!
    Arun Sawant

  2. Great compilation man, feels as if I was there ! I love the way you draft every trek of yours.
    go on ..

  3. Excellent...liked the post...I have been to Bhandardara many times ...but never gone beyond that....after reading this I will surely think of it next time!

  4. A very good chronicle..Appreciate the way you get candid on your every topic.. A key to write passionate articles..

  5. Super trip report and photos !! keep it up ! and thank you for sharing with other trekkers

  6. gr8 dude., u r simply passionate abt this adventure.u rock man !!!

  7. I'd like to know where u parked ur bikes?
    is it safe enough?

  8. you can park at any locale's house at ratanwadi or samrad ...

  9. well its very nice to get about you Sridhar.You are really very passionate about trekking as i can see in your should visit to himachal, a hill state and i am sure here you'll hv a memorable trekking visit.
    @ Manjeet
    Camping in BIr BIlling



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