Sunday, 9 May 2010

Forts of Konkan 2: Kille Ranganagad किल्ले रांगणागड

Hill Fort (Approx. 795 m from Mean Sea Level)

Narur, Tal. Kudal, Dist. Sindhudurg

This fort is one of the forts from Konkan which trace back its history to ancient times. Built by King Bhoj II from Shilahar dynasty in 1175, Ranganagad has always been very important strategically as it controlled important trade route of Hanmanta ghat. This route connected ports like Redi, Vengurla, Aronda to Kolhapur which was known as Karveer in ancient times. Later on this fort was in the hands of Adilshahi of Bijapur before getting in the hands of King Shivaji. Shivaji Maharaj used to visit the fort frequently during his missions in Southern Konkan, Goa and Karnataka. He revived the trade and built new walls at important sites. But after end of Shivaji's rule this part of Konkan lost itself to political rivalries and went into obscurities. In 1695 King Rajaram's throne ceremony took place on this fort but apart from that nothing worth of mention seems to have happened at this place. British forces took this fort in the year 1844 but in the process destroyed many of its walls with their attacks of canons. The rich market town of Narur is now a small agriculturist village. There were many families of trader caste Vaishya Vani who migrated to other small nearby towns but still they have maintained links with their family deity Goddess Mahalakshmi which is located at Narur.

The fort now has many stone carvings but in broken stage and like many forts its wall are crumbling. There is a small lake and small temple of Goddess Ranganadevi. Villagers from nearby Patgaon village nowadays use this for grazing their goats and cattle. The fort offers views of beautiful valleys on its western side. Specially mentioned points are view of Manhar- Mansantoshgad, villages situated in the valleys downwards especially Narur. On a clear day sometimes one can also see waters of Arabian sea. Sometimes wild Buffaloes (Gava Reda) come to the fort and one has to be careful not to disturb them. They can attack humans. The surrounding Sahyadri ranges and Konkan valleys is a rich hotspot of biodiversity. The Hanmantghat or Ranganaghat though not in use nowadays can be converted into a motorable road and there is long standing demand by the people from both sides of Ranganagad ie Konkan as well as Desh to develop the route which will boost the tourism in the area and bring the region close to the important market towns.

Nearby attractions:
Mahalakshmi temple in Narur, Tembye Swami Samadhi Math at Mangaon, Livestock research station at Nileli, Mauni Vidyapeeth at Gargoti

How to reach:
a. From Mumbai/ Goa

  1. Mumbai– Kudal- Mangaon- Narur
  2. Goa- Sawantwadi- Mangaon- Narur (About 20 km from Mangaon)
By public transport:
Mumbai/ Goa- Kudal/ Sawantwadi (by train, ST or private buses)- Narur (by ST buses from Kudal/ Sawantwadi)
Trek routes:
Narur- Ranganagad requires a hike of about 5 km on a hill road and takes about 2.5 hours. There are other hike routes from the base villages in Kudal taluka such as Pangrad, Girgaon and Gothos but take longer, are tough and have less connectivity with the major towns.
Mumbai/ Goa

b. From Pune/ Kolhapur
Pune- Kolhapur- Gargoti- Patgaon- Tambewadi
Small trek for about 1.5 hours from Tambewadi to Ranganagad. ST and private vehicle services available upto Patgaon.

Nearby Places for stay:
Lodges available at Kudal and Kolhapur. Camping can be done on the fort.