Visit Rangana Fort in the Sahyadri Hills of Maharashtra (2021)
The Rangana fort is in the Sahyadri hills. It is a popular destination for trekkers and those interested in archeology and ancient architecture. Many trekkers consider this as a bike-trip as well because the roads leading to the Rangana fort are excellent, for the most part. If you plan to visit Rangana fort, read on to know more.
History of the Rangana Fort
King Bhoj II built Rangana fort sometime in the 12th century. Since then, Rangana fort changed several hands, like the Bahamani Dynasty, the Adilshahi Dynasty, until the British took control of it in the 1800s.
Structures inside the Rangana Fort
The trek to the Rangana Fort starts from the Mauli Maharaj temple at the base of the fort. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had taken the blessings of the Mauli Maharaj in this temple before he began his Southern conquest.
Inside the Rangana fort, you will see a few lakes, a few temples – which have stood the test of time without any contemporary help – as well as a Shiva temple with an ancient Shivling intact. The Shiva Temple has undergone some contemporary strengthening tactics. As you move inside, you see a small well. You will also see a Ranagai temple. The Rangana fort also has a Deepmal. The existence of a Hanuman idol hints at the existence of a Hanuman temple in ancient times. The carving very much looks like the Lord Hanuman carrying the Sanjeevani mountain, but there is no expert opinion about it. There are several idols and carvings all over the place like these.
In Rangana fort, you will see fortifications and some watchtowers. There are secret pathways that lead to the top of the watchtowers. While there are regular stairs too, one would think the secret pathways came in handy when Rangana fort was under attack, to reach from one place in the fort to another. You will also see a Bandeshwar Temple, which has a Lord Ganesh and Lord Vishnu idol. There is also a dilapidated tomb at the entrance of the temple.
All over Rangana fort, you will see large stones with various carvings that date back to the time it was a place that hosted royalty. You also come across a structure that could be a dried-up lake. By this structure, you see another empty structure. The design of this structure is like the ones used earlier to house idols, so this could be a religious monument that is unused.
At the beginning of 2019, the authorities were adding contemporary fortifications to various structures in the Rangana fort. Because of the pandemic, that activity might have stopped, so there is every chance that it might resume once the lockdown opens.
Tourist Experience of Rangana Fort
The Rangana Fort is one of the few in the Maharashtra area that the authorities have taken care of well. The trek is easy, thanks to the railings, which allow the trekkers to climb up without any issue. In any case, the climb is not very steep, and anyone can do this easily. As you move up towards the Rangana fort, these railings also ensure a clear path, so you are not exposed to the trees and plants. However, because of the environment, you should ensure that you cover your arms and legs. The view all over is stunning, making for a great photo opportunity as well.
While moving up, you will see some natural waterfalls, but only during the monsoon season, thus proving that the monsoon season is the best time to visit Rangana fort.
You will see benches for the tourist’s comfort at strategic locations. Though they are not much to look at, they work well to give the necessary comfort to the tourists who are trekking to the top of the fort. There is no commercial activity once you leave the village at the base, so you will need to pack eatables and water for along the way.
The best time to visit Rangana fort is the monsoon season. Not only is the weather pleasant, but the entire scenario also changes, with the rolling valley coming alive in color, the monsoon clouds nipping at the tip of the mountains and the hills and the path covered with lush, vibrant greenery. You can also see other forts from the Rangana fort, like the Manohar fort and the Mansatosh fort.
The place, like many other paths towards the forts, get dry and very humid during the summer season. So, if you do have to travel here during the summers, make sure that you carry at least two bottles of water and suntan, sunglasses, caps, etc., that will help you ward away the heat.
Visiting these forts, you do get the idea that the authorities are slowly, but surely doing something to preserve and conserve India’s heritage. The government has already added railings and is taking care of some of the forts of historical importance, like the Rajgad and the Raigad Fort.
Surely, they do have something in mind for the more than 200 forts that exist in the Konkan region.
Places to Visit Near Rangana Fort
Rangana Fort is surrounded by several tourist places. Chief among them is the Shrine Raul Maharaj-Pinguli, a temple in memory of the Raul Maharaj. Devotees throng the temple even today, and you would spend some time looking at the local culture and activities.
You can also visit the Rangana Temple, which is at about two kilometers from the base of the fort. Experts believe that the temple is about 5000 years old and gives us a glimpse of the art and architecture of the time.
How To Reach Rangana Fort?
Rangana fort is on the outskirts of Kolhapur. Kolhapur is well-connected to Mumbai, Pune and other major locations in Maharashtra. If you plan to visit Rangana fort via Pune, you can travel by private car, bus or train. The distance from Pune by bus is around 240 KM. By train, the distance increases to about 280 KM. If you intend to travel to Rangana fort from Mumbai, the total distance you need to cover is 380 Km by bus and 400 km by train.