Ratnadurg Fort, situated barely a few kilometres from Ratnagiri town is housed amongst lush greenery and on the shoreline of the Arabian Sea. Picturesque and marvellous in its creation, it is also known as Bhagwati Fort or Ratangad among the local population. Spanning across an area measuring 1300 metres in length and 1000 feet in breadth, Ratnadurg Fort looks like a horse shoe from above. Flanked by the main entrance, the fort is encircled by weaponry or munitions from all sides spanning from the west to south east end. Ratnadurg fort has several citadels or bastions and one particular citadel has a beautiful lighthouse known as Siddha bastion. The fort is a splendid edifice in itself.
Expected to be built around the Bahamani kingdom’s reign, Ratnadurg fort was seized and exchanged hands several times; first by Adil Shah, the king of Bijapur followed by Maratha warrior and Bhonsle king Shivaji in 1670 and later his offspring Shambhaji resided in the fort till 1680. Shortly after this, it was claimed by Kanhoji Angre from 1710-1755 who was defeated in the year 1753 by the Peshwas aided by the British and the fort finally was acquired by the British since 1818. It is also believed that the queen of Jhansi, Rani Laxmibai travelled to Ratnadurg fort to seek blessings of the goddess at Bhagwati temple housed on its premises before the historic battle or revolt/ Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
The lighthouse is still operational and tourists can visit it while touring the fort and a spectacular view of the fort and the shoreline is visible from the mound behind Hanuman Temple in Ratnadurg fort. The fort also houses the famous Bhagwati temple which enshrines the deities of Ganpati and goddess Bhagwati who are worshiped and visited by devotes throughout the year. The temple’s architecture is enigmatic and the fort offers a panoramic view of sunset over the horizon. The fort opens for tourists from 9: 00 am in the morning. Although in recent times the fort is lying in a neglected condition and tourists have ruined certain portions of the fort by committing nuisance.
Still, Ratnadurg fort is worth visiting and it is 4 kilometres away from MSRTC bus depot and can be reached in a few minutes via walking or auto rickshaws.
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