रतनगड Ratangad

Short into:
Ratangad is one of the favorite trekking spot. The top provides the most breathtaking views of the nearby mountains and the Arthur Lake.
Its one of the best place for a night trek or new year eve trek. In monsoon, flowers bloom at many places along the trek path. Hence the name Ratangad (Jewel Fort)

Taluka: Akole
District: Ahmednagar
Distance: 58 km from Igatpuri

2016-january-ahmednagar-ratangad-fort

Best time to visit:
Monsoon and Winter: July – Feb. Summer will be extremely hot to trek. Best trekking spot for New Year.

Difficulty:
Easy – Medium. This is not a picnic zone or leisure tour.

What to see:
Ratanwadi is the base village to start this trek. One can also start this trek from Samrad village and this route is steeper than the former.
With a history of being built by Pandavas (Mahabharata), Amruteshwar temple near Ratanwadi is certainly worth a visit for its beautiful architecture.

2016-january-ahmednagar-ratangad-fort

The Ratangad fort is pretty old. It has caves where one can stay. The bigger one can accommodate 15-20 people easily.
There are also some open spaces where one can put up a tent and have fun camping with bonfire.
Apart from monsoon months, from the top one can see a beautiful sunrise/sunset and views of Arthur Lake.
Ratangad is well known for the needle hole in the rock. This hole is a result of wind erosion.
Sometimes there are food stalls by locals at the top, but it is always better to have some food with you and arrange for the same at the base village for any trek.

2016-january-ahmednagar-ratangad-fort

2016-january-ahmednagar-ratangad-fort

Guidelines for a night trek to Ratangad:
– arrange for a guide if you have never been to Ratangad before.
– arrange for dinner if you dont bring your own stuff.
– carry thick clothing as it will be very cold at the top.
– carry firewood if you plan to set up a camp fire.

Go here on your own:
To reach Ratanwadi by your own vehicle, it should take around 5-6 hours to reach from Mumbai. A same-day ‘day trek’ though possible, but after this much travelling is not the best idea.
One can consider reaching Bhandardara and staying the night there OR there are places to stay in Ratanwadi as well OR camp.
Hire a cab right from your home – affordable for a group of more than 10 people.

If you dont have a vehicle, not the easiest but quite fun way to reach Ratanwadi.
Travel by late night train to Igatpuri (general class coach). You would have to spend the night at Igatpuri railway station or the ST bus stand just 5min away.
The first bus is at 5.00am. Tell the conductor: Shendi village. Once you reach Shendi, ask the locals for boat service over the Lake Arthur to Ratanwadi.
You might have to walk to Murshet village for the boat. Be ready for a 2km walk. The locals are friendly people, dont worry.
A guide would not be necessary during day trek. There are arrow markings on the stones.
While returning, check if you can get a share taxi till Igatpuri or Bhandardara. If not, use the boat route again and reach Shendi. From here, you can surely get a share taxi till Kasara (or may be you can change at Ghoti then at Igatpuri then Kasara). From here you can catch the Mumbai local train.

If you think this walking and travelling (till Ratanwadi) is too much to do on your own; you can always opt for trek groups. However, whats the fun in going on treks in such comfort. Being scared and taking decisions by yourselves is the adventure of going to treks on your own.

Whats nearby:
Bhandardara is a great spot nearby.
Dehna/Dehene is a picturesque village to be in monsoon.
Other nearby treks include Kalsubai, Harishchandragad, Sandhan Valley.

Travel Tips:
Locals can arrange for your lunch / dinner at the top or at their home in Ratanwadi.
If you looking for a hassle free trek to Ratangad, contact the trek groups. They will arrange for your travel and camp stay.
If you plan to go here in monsoon, be prepared for harsh rains and strong winds. You probably wont get a chance to use a camera in monsoon (July – Aug).
Kindly consider the environment and DO NOT throw any kind of garbage. Carry it along with you. This is NOT a place for party. NO consumption of Alcohol here.

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