Historical & Ancient Ramshej
Ramshej means Lord Ram’s bedstead Because while in exile, Lord Ram had made this place as his residence for some time, which given the fort its name.
Ramshej fort witnessed the war between Mughals and Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje’s Maratha army where over 600 Marathas not only fought against 50,000 Mughals but resisted them for almost 6 years and remains UNDEFEATED in battle at the end.
When I read about this history of Ramshej, this unbelievable feat of Maratha warriors completely blew me away and my respect for the Maratha army rises even more and finally, Ramshej fort came into my wishlist.
Want to know more about how the Marathas resisted Mughals for 6 years, here is the complete story of this historical battle of Ramshej.
RATANGAD or RAMSHEJ?
With my new companion yet the experience and the mastermind about trek planning Mr. Prathmesh Main who already did a solo trek to Ramshej in summer 2019, therefore we also decide to do Ramshej trek in the OCT. 2019.
Before planning to Ramshej, we first decided Ratangad fort trek in the Bhandardara region as there was a large number of people are joining us and you need a group of people for Ratangad Trek because of overnight transport issue. There were about 8 people are ready before 2 days of trek but later on, only 5 people were available before trek which would be costly to remaining us to do the Ratangad trek. Unfortunately, we canceled Ratangad plan and Prathamesh suggested better to plan Ramshej trek as it is close to Nashik city and there is no transport issue to reach there.
We first planned to start the journey overnight and meet at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus(CST) Railway station to catch express train towards Nashik.
When I reached CST and met Prathmesh, I came to know other 3 people also get canceled due to their personal reason. Prathamesh and I, both only did one trek together to Ganpati Gadad Cave before so we barely know each other at that time and our common friend Abhimanyu who also unexpectedly canceled his plan to come with us.
I look at the Prathmesh with ‘what to do then??’ face but he replied ‘I don’t have any problem to go ahead‘ and we both then decided to continue what we planned and do the trek together but which one, that had a question mark. while discussing the destinations, we even left one express train towards Nashik.
Actually our discussion was about our next day utilization.
‘As we are now only 2, even Ramshej trek would be affordable to us but why to waste complete day on a short trek and since we are 2 people who are having trekking experiences, why should we go for other forts which has so much to explore so that we can utilize our full day.’
Firstly, we decided to catch Mahanagari express and then we are gonna continue our discussions. As we are looking to do any trek in less cost as possible, so we choose to go by general coach. But we came to know that to get into the general coach from CST, you have to stand in cue and we saw there was long cue standing for Mahanagari express. We having no other option to stand alongside with crowd in the cue.
On general asking about this crowd to the person standing before of us, we came to know one interesting thing that when people, especially from Utter Pradesh region, is going to their hometown from Mumbai, at least 4-5 people that maybe his relative or colleague will come there to see off him and indirectly we misunderstand them as passengers.
That gives us relief that now we don’t have to travel this train journey by standing. Police were also available on the platform to control the crowd and help people to get into the general coach in the cue, therefore, we two unexpectedly got side lower window seats.
The Mahanagari Express departed from CST on time 12am and its Nashik timing is 3.50 am. Now our discussions resumed as the train started. Nashik region is blessed with a large number of historical and ancient forts and places comparison with other regions of Maharashtra and we both having knowledge about most of them. We went through a number of forts depending on our expectations and came across Dhodop fort. But unfortunately, reaching Dhodop via public transportation is not available as per our research on the internet which forced us to stick with the Ramshej fort trek.
Finally, we planned that
‘If we got public transport to the Ramshej fort on time then, we’ll reach early and able to witness the sunrise from the fort and also return early to our home to surprise our family and enjoy remaining half Sunday with them.’
One of the women asks us about our destination at the start of the journey so that she and her children will get our seats after we get down at our station. It was 4 am now and she informs us that ‘Nashik station ala dada’. We checked Nashik railway signboard from the window and rushed toward the door but saw a couple with their 4-year boy slept in midway space between door and us as they didn’t get seats throughout the journey so now it became difficult task for us to get down from the train because of them. The train will halt at the station for a couple of minutes so we trying to get up all of them from their sleep and telling him again & again that we want to get down at station but they were struggling to get up from their deep sleep especially their little boy, so we thought at one point that we’ll miss our stop. Luckily they all manage to get up & leave our way and we then able to get down at the platform in the last moment. And after this funny incident, we finally able to reach Nashik.
NASHIK CITY & TRASNPORT
First, we freshen up at Nashik station and did our breakfast. As Prathmesh already visited Nashik so he knows about its transport and how to reach Ramshej fort from Nashik.
HOW TO REACH
MUMBAI – NASHIK via Train – NASHIK CBS OLD via Local Bus- PETH NAKA via ST or Auto –ASHEWADI PHATA via ST or Hitchhike – ASHEWADI VILLAGE via Walk- RAMSHEJ FORT
As per planned, we caught the local bus which standing outside the station to reach Nashik CBS OLD. The bus was crowded even in early morning. Bus fare was 20rs per and we get down at CBS old stand at around 5 am.
On the inquiry at CBS old ST stand, several ST to Peth village was canceled due to election duty.
One thing I want to note here that you’ll get satisfying answers from the inquiry counter of ST stands of specially Nashik CBS only if you are lucky enough as mostly a person sitting in the inquiry counter is very rude and moody as per my multiple experiences.
We then walked toward Peth Naka (3km) in a search of any hitchhike. Walking on the empty street of the city in the dark was a indeed peaceful moment of the journey.
‘I forgot how beautiful the silence and empty street are.’
We got Autorickshaw after walking for 20 minutes in empty streets. During this ride, we had a horrifying experience for a lifetime. Actually rickshaw rider was in hurry more than us because he was driving at such high speed that at one-point rickshaw gets hit by the unknown thing on the road in the dark and we both along with rickshaw literally fly-half in the air which literally gives us mini heart attack but luckily, we safely reached Peth Naka at the end.
After waiting for some minutes at Peth Naka, fortunately, we got hitchhike directly to the Ramshej Entrance. This ride was the best part of this journey and an unforgettable moment for both of us. We were sitting in the back of open Bolero Pickup in the opposite direction and there was still dark all around and cool breeze touching our body and silent atmosphere were charging our souls. And then I remembered about one of my favorite midnight driving songs:
Finally, after the half-hour of the peaceful ride at around 6 pm, we reached the entrance of Ramshej Fort.
RAMSHEJ IN THE DARK
We observed the outline of the border of Ramshej in the dark and on the opposite side, the sun was set to rise above the Nashik city with its red-yellowish shade. We suddenly remembered our plan of sunrise from the fort and decided not to waste our time and started walking in the muddy path towards Ramshej from Entrance.
The atmosphere all around us became foggy as we started ascending in the dark and some patch became slippery due to the previous raining.
Because of Prathmesh’s solo experiences of Ramshej, we able to negotiate route towards the top of fort even in the dark and reached Ram Mandir of Ramshej in midway in just 40 minutes.
We first take a halt at Bhagwati Devi Mandir where we had little snacks.
On resume journey, we first went to the top point of the fort where we saw ruins of Rajwada and then a number of connected rock-cut water tanks lied in the below region.
Because of the foggy atmosphere, we are not able to see surrounding views of Nashik city and Bhorgad fort.
As we descending towards Mandir, we saw a series of large watertanks and small pond but the best part of the fort is Mahadarwaja region which was still intact. Route from Maharadarja to the outside is not available but rock cut steps and fortified wall of entrance amazed me by its architecture.
We explored all fortification of the fort in just 2 hours with spending more time in silent Gupt Darwaza & Flagpoint region.
At Ram Mandir, we had a conversation with Pujari who also offer us hot tea in that cold atmosphere.
Ahead of the Mandir, there was actually the wonder of Ramshej. It having Shivling that deep into the water as there is a hole in a rock on the upper portion of the cave through which water stream that flows in the Mahadarwaja region falls into Shivling continuously.
Want to know more about all Fortifications of Ramshej fort, check out here.
In the midway journey, the atmosphere also gets worsened. Unseasonal Monsoon of the year 2019 with the cold wind already ruined our sunrise plan and raining remained till the end of the trek so we even couldn’t able view a clear picture of Ramshej fort even from the base.
But while descending, some amount of sky gets clear and we able to saw only one scenery in the foggy atmosphere that includes one hill at the right side of the picture which was used by Mughal commander Shahabuddin Firoz-e-Jung by making wooden bastion on that hill to attacked Ramshej fort by cannons during the battle with the Maratha army.
Around 10 am, we started our return journey from the entrance of Ramshej towards Railway station.
We left the number of ST bus as there was no halt for ST at the entrance so we walk on the main roads towards Ashewadi Phata and after walking 10 minutes, we reached one of Kathiawadi Hotel at the side of the road where we got share Bularo which left us at Peth Naka and charged us about 30rs each.
From here, we got Autorickshaw that gonna left us at Panchwati by charging 10rs per, and finally we caught Local bus from Panchawati and get down at Nashik Railway station which charged us 15rs per. Despite opting for multiple modes of transport, we already reached early at Nashik railway station around 11.30 am. We checked that most of the trains were half of the hour delayed that time and before that, we did a complete trek on 2-3 snacks and now only chicken dishes could able stop our hunger so even both of us are tired, still, we started roaming in Nashik station in the search of any non-veg hotel but end up in the disappointment as we able to find only 2 non-veg hotels and that too still not open at an early day. We end up eating veg food and now it’s time for the final chapter which is a return train journey.
We decided to catch Gorakhpur express which was 45 minutes delayed and when it arrived at the platform, I jumped into the general coach in running train as I having the regular habit of catching running Virar local train in Mumai. Prathmesh and other people are also followed me and caught the same coach. But before catching this train, I forgot it was arriving from Utter Pradesh(UP) region and we already dare to travel through the general coach of the train.
The coach was fully packed and because of this UP To Mumbai long route journey, the passengers inside were stinking due to no bath for a couple of days. Therefore, the smell of that coach was unbearable for us. Since there were no chances for seats, some slim people made their seats by tying their bedsheets between two upper seats and lying on it. 6 people sat in an inhuman way at 4 people seats. Despite fully packed coach and there was even no space to us to place our legs and stand properly, still, venders and beggars get into that coach & making their way through the crowd. After beautiful start of day, this overall atmosphere of that coach really made me really frustrated.
I had a thought of getting down from the train but there were no chances to even move. The train started after halting a couple of minutes and a thought came into mind that this 6 hours journey will be surely going to test my intolerance level. I was standing in one corner of seats and then one of Bihari guy sitting next to me shouted loudly near my ears to stop vender and finally in just a span of 5 minutes’ journey, I lost my control and had an argument with him.
Prathmensh was sat at the door as he having the daily habit of it. Another door was empty but I had a phobia that falling from the train door but sitting along those people would not gonna work for me, so I forced to sit at the doors of the coach which scared me at the begining but gave me some amount of relief from those people. Whenever train stops, some of the passengers get down from train for toilet purpose or to eat gutkha and as I was sitting at door, their dirty feet was touring my hand or body again & again. Therefore, even sitting at the door for 6 hours straight was really becoming a difficult task for me.
Apart from this worst experience, I able to saw some beautiful sceneries of farms or flower fields of unknown villages and surrounding mountains while sitting in the door that giving me positive vibes in that situation and also able to captured the picture of the toughest trio fort of Sahyadri mountains range ‘Alang Madan Kulang’ with highest peak of Maharashtra Kalsubai on the left and that was only the beautiful moment of this return train journey.
The train got delayed by half an hour to reach Kalyan station and unknowingly torture from those passengers to me remains throughout the journey that forcing me to check watch each n every minute and eagerly waiting to arrival of Kalyan station so that we can finally get down from that unbearable atmosphere.
Well, I don’t blaming those people for such behavior. I can understand their lifestyle is far different from ours. But I personally think as a ideal citizen of India, each and every person must know their responsibility in public places and most importantly, one must keep the surrounding clean wherever they go and we Indians need to learn that.
Still, I took these experiences positively as it helps me to have patience in such conditions and get familiar with the lifestyle of people outside of Maharashtra.
After 6.30 hours of long journey, we finally get down at Kalyan station. Usually, during every long-distance trek, more time is wasted to reach the base of the fort and then we start ascending at 10 AM but for the first time, we completed the trek so much early and return home to spend a remaining day with family as we planned.
“Despite Spiritual and historically importance, even Ramshej fort trek was one of the shortest long-distance trek but that gives me some unique and never-imagine experience for a lifetime.
Take time from your busy life and visit such historic places that still standing tall over the years..!!”
Here is a detail informative blog about Ramshej fort – RAMSHEJ – The Undefeatable One
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