Grade : Moderate
Region : Bhandardhara
Base village : Ratanwadi/Samrad
Landmark : Bhandardhara Dam
Number of Routes : 2
Highest Altitude : 4260 Feet (1297m)
Trek Duration : 3.5 Hours ascend, 3 hours descend
Surrounding Peaks : Alang, Madan, Kulang, Kalsubai, Ajoba, Harishchandragad, Khutta Pinnacle, Vishramgad, Katrabai, Sandhan Valley
Ideal Season : June to February (Monsoon months are good weather wise and Winter months for clear views). September is the best month to visit when the Sonki flowers bloom in huge numbers.
Major Attarction :
Ratangad has a natural rock peak with a cavity in it at the top which is called 'Nedhe' or 'Eye of the Needle' Apart from that the whole Mountain is covered with Sonki flowers in the month of Septemer or October depending on the rains. Caves at Top, 360 View from Top of Different Mountain Ranges including AMK, Kalsubai, Katrabai, View of Bhandardhara Backwaters and Ancient Amruteshwar Temple at Base.
Water Sources :
There are many rock cut water cisterns on the fort. However water is not potable at times hence it is recommended to carry water from Base Village itself.
Special thing about structure/route :
While ascending the ladder route (Ratanwadi route), after the second plateau area, the route going to the left goes to Harishchandragad fort while the path in the front goes via the ladder route to the first entrance of the fort. Idol of Lord Ganesh is carved on the door and after we enter the route to the caves is to the right and the left route goes to another doorway. There are two main routes to reach the fort. One route starts from village Samrad and the other from village Ratanwadi. The fort has four gates Ganesh, Hanuman, Konkan and Trimbak.
Other Special things :
There is a beautiful Amruteshwar Shiva temple in the village (at Ratanwadi) built in the 9th century in Hemadpanti architectural style. The carvings on black stone of the temple structure bring out the ancient art depicting stories from religious Hindu books like Samudramanthan, idol of Yakshakinnar etc. adjacent the temple there is a beautifully built water tank named as Vishnutirth. There are many corners in it to place idols. And also drive from Bhandardhara to Ratanwadi is home to countless waterfalls in Monsoon season, Nanhe Ghat Waterfalls and Necklace Waterfalls are two famous ones in that region. It falls in the Ghanachakkar hill range. The fort is origin for the river Pravara/Amrutvahini. The Bhandardara dam(Arthur dam) is built on this river and the same is visible from the Fort.
History Info :
Ancient Name & Meaning (if any) :
Ratan means Jewel in Hindi. This hill fort is indeed jewel in all the hill forts here in Sahyadri (due to it's strategic locations, surroundings and size)
The fort is more than 400 years old (16th century)
Brief War History :
It is said that the fort was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle, the famous Maratha king, from the Mughals. Very little is known about the same.