Exploring the lesser known Ratnagiri Fort near Bangalore
Moderate trek to Ratnagiri Fort near Bangalore
It had been more than five months since I stepped out, post the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Tired of not being able to feel the fresh air and being away from nature was making me feel suffocated and drained.
I finally decided to step out with all the necessary precautions and started searching for upcoming treks. But, before confirming with a trekkers group, I ensured that there were less number of people travelling and all the necessary precautionary measures were followed by the group.
I must say, I was glad to have opted for Summiters Adventures. Everything from travel to spots we halted at to the final destination, proper sanitation measures were implemented. The group also guaranteed a safe pickup and drop service.
Ratnagiri Fort is located at the Karnataka-Andhra border, approx 130kms from Bangalore. The fort is spread over rocky and hilly terrain, fortified by 7 circular fortifications. It is an easy to moderate level trek.
There are no facilities, food stores or tea stalls available around the village, it is advisable to halt for food on the way itself. We halted at Ratna Prakash restaurant and there is no decent place after this joint where you could halt at. While returning, we halted at Namaste restaurant for a tea-coffee break. Both these restaurants are at Dabaspet.
Ratnagiri Village is located near populated Madhugiri Village. The villagers are extremely proud of the fort but though their pride resides in this, there still hasn’t been much action taken for its restoration. The structures, walls and stone gateways of the fort are in the collapsing stage and may pose danger, in case of irresponsible activity.
Route: Bangalore - Nelamangala - Dabaspet - Madhugiri - Ratnagiri
The village is located on the insides and far from the main road. The place is easy to locate with the saviour of direction guide - Google Maps. As we reached the foothills of the fort, we were extremely fascinated at the sight of the fort entrance. The entrance is a tall gateway structure that is built in the Vijayanagar style and certainly gives you the feels of the fort. We saw a drift of pink-coloured pigs who seemed scared of humans. So, if you want a good snap of them before they run away, you better be quick at capturing.
There is also a small pond or Chowki Kalyani (Chowki meaning square) located inside the village. You will have to visit inside the village to view this.
The beautiful trail surrounded by lush greenery on both sides leads you to the fort. We passed through a few temples built in the Vijayanagara style. The tiny sculptures carved on the top of the temple architecture enriches the beauty of the whole temple.
We could see the fog on top of the hill from here and that’s it. That was the moment we were sure of how beautiful the destination would be and we couldn’t wait to reach the top as soon as possible.
You will encounter ruins of the ancient sculptures and a few gateways after every few km. The gateways are beautiful rock structures which certainly become your halt points or picture spots. From every such spot, the view of nature’s magnificent beauty rejuvenates your tired body.
After a few km, to reach the top of the hill and your final destination, you have to climb this flight of stairs. It might look a little hard to climb at first but once you start climbing, it is really easy.
And there we were. At the top. There was a stone wall, probably meant for protection from the enemy and a mandapam or open pavilion on top of the hill meant for seating for relaxation or discussions or as a celebratory spot for special occasions.
The breathtaking aerial view, lush greenery, rocky hill, pleasant breeze hugging our soul and light drizzles kissing our face rejuvenated our souls and refreshed our energy. There was peace and a feeling of freedom amidst this very nature that we often tend to forget to protect.
While descending, it might be a little difficult to climb down the stairs. So take it slow and climbing down sideways helps to hold the grip.
Since the slope is steep, take the help of rock structures on the side.
Wear shoes that have a good grip. It will prevent you from slipping when the slope gets wet due to rains.
Lastly, don’t miss enjoying the view while clicking pictures. Also, do spend some quiet time on the top. Breathe in as much fresh air as you can. And be thankful that nature does not believe in taking revenge from us for destroying it.