The honour of “High Mountain Range” is going to Ghanchakkar-Gavaldev/Muda-Katrabai hill range. This range starts from Bhairavgad Fort (Shirpunje) to Katrabai via Ghanchakkar, Gavaldev-Muda hills.
This high endurance range trek ends at Ratangad Fort.
Basically, Ghanchakkar is a long plateau of approx. 10+ km with Ghanchakkar and Gavaldev are the two highest points on this plateau and further this plateau descends towards Kumshet the base village to Ajoba (Aaja Parvat) and Katrabai mountains towards the Ratangad-Harishchandragad trek route.
Lord Bhairoba on Bhairavgad Fort behind Shirpunje village is the deity of the people of nearby villages. So due to this, the way to Bhairavgad Fort is well-trodden.
The road has steep steps and railings in some places. There are many steps carved in this way. An hour, we reach the col between Bhairavgad Fort and the side hill.
There are many water cisterns on the fort & carved caves. Some caves also have an arched entrance. On the upper side of caves, there are some Hero Stones having all four sides are carved. The worn-out idols of Lord Ganesha are kept near Hero Stones.
There is an equestrian idol of Lord Bhairoba in the cave. This idol is very well carved painted and is well maintained by the villagers.
Harishchandragad and Pabargad forts are visible to the south from the top of the fort.
Ghanchakkar is the 5th highest mountain in Maharashtra. Its height is about 4954 ft. from MSL. There is a wide plateau between Bhairavgad fort and Ghanchakkar peak. It is about 5 km west of Bhairavgad. A special type of crystal is found on this plateau. Like Quartz and Mica. There is no tree to rest for a while in this entire plateau.
Adjacent to Ghanchakkar, Muda-Gavaldev is a massive mountain, it is the third highest mountain of Maharashtra.
There is a gorge in the middle of Ghanchakkar-Gavaldev; descend in that valley and climb up Gavaldev from the south-west. The last stage is a bit slippery so we need to be careful while climbing.
Gavaldev top offered us mesmerizing views spanning 360 degrees. Views of Bhandardara Dam, Ratangad Fort, Alang-Madan-Kulang-Kalsubai range, Pabargad to the north and Harishchandragad range at the south.
Having the highest rock exposure in Sahyadri, the Katrabai wall stands next to Ratangad fort in the Bhandardara region. Mount Katrabai, which is about 4200 feet high, has a beautiful view of the surroundings. High mountains, deep valleys, Bhandardara dam and many surrounding forts can be seen.
A narrow valley descends from the heights of Katrabai into the Konkan; this should be the deepest valley in the Sahyadri landing in Konkan. Its depth is about 1200 feet.
As the name suggests, this is truly a ‘Jewel’ amidst the forests in the region. It is an interesting fortress, situated at the edge of Ghats with numerous water cisterns and caves. It also commands an excellent view of all surrounding areas, overlooking the Konkan plains, Bhandardara Lake, Katrabai cliff, Alang-Madan-Kulang and the huge wall of Ajoba.
Ratanwadi is the base village for the Ratangad fort trek. A steady uphill climb of about 3 hours leads to the top. One must negotiate the small chimney to enter the fort.
A thumb-like pinnacle (Khunta of Ratangad) facing Alang at 4037 ft., is an interesting proposition.
The robustness of Sahyadri can be experienced only from a few forts and Ratangad is one of them. Standing in the “Eye of the Needle” is a major attraction.
The trek begins from Ratanwadi village. Make your way to Amruteshwar temple once you reach the village.
Amruteshwar temple is an intricately carved Shiva temple located in Ratanwadi; this temple is over 1200 years old. This beautiful temple was built by the rulers of the Shilahara dynasty in the 9th century CE. This is one of 12 lord Shiva temples built by king Jhanj.
Stay in tents
Breakfast, Meal after the Trek
Shivajinagar > Aundh > Nashik Phata > Ale Phata > Rajur > Shirpunje (Base)
22:00 – Shivajinagar
22:30 – Aundh
22:59 – Nashik Phata
Please come 15 minutes before at your pickup point to avoid getting late.