Ratangad is an old fort in Ratan Wadi, near Nasik and is a great place for trekking lovers. The beautiful fort is located at an elevation of 4300 feet overlooking the scenic setting of Bhandardara, which is among the oldest of artificial rainwater catchments in the area. Carbon dating done on the fort has dated it be about two thousand years old.
The natural beauty about Ratangad is that it is a nature built rock peak, which has a cavity in it at the top, referred to as the “Nedhe” that is translated to English as the “Eye of the Needle”. The name Nedhe comes from the needle eye like aperture which has as an opening. The Nedhe offers some splendid view of the neighbouring mountains. There are also caves in the fort, one which has a Ganesh temple and one so huge that it can occupy 20 people at a time. The fort also has a palace called Rani Mahal, but it is in ruins now and one can only see few broken walls of it.
Ratangad was one of the favorites of Chhatrapati Shivaji who captured this fort in battle. The village at the base of Ratangad is known as Ratanwadi, which has the famous Amruteshwar temple. The temple dates back to the time of the Hemadpant Era in about the eight century. The temple is a cultural heritage site that is famous for its carvings.
From the fort originates the river Pravara also known as the Amrutvahini. This is the very river on which the Bhandardara dam is built. To reach, there are two staircases that lead to the fort. The Trimbak Darwaza is the main entrance while there is also a smaller entrance known as the Chor Darwaza.
The best time visit the Ratangad fort is immediately after the monsoons. This way you can avoid the dangers of rains and meanwhile can also enjoy the beautiful sceneries. To reach Ratangad you will have to go to Bhandardara town and from there take a deviation before the Wilson dam. From Bhandardara, the base village of the Ratangad fort i.e. Ratanwadi is 25 kms. The trek is not very difficult and it will take around 3-4 hours to reach the fort from Ratanwadi. Towards the finish, you will come across two ladders simultaneously. Make sure you take the correct way since the other trail will lead you to Harsichandragad instead of Ratangad.
Ratangad is a must visit trekking destination. Apart from the fort, you can also view beautiful sights while trekking in monsoon. The whole mountain range is covered in a green blanket and small waterfalls dot the hills. So if you are looking for a place to trek, along with looking at breathtaking sceneries, Ratangad is the place for you.