Ankai fort is the strongest hill fort built up of stone that is located in Manmad town in Nashik district of Maharashtra, India. The fort is beautifully situated in the Satmala Hills at an elevation of more than 3000 feet. It is said to have been constructed thousands of years ago when the region was under the control of the Yadava dynasty. However, later in the years, it was captured by other dynasties like the Marathas and the Mughals until the British Empire captured it in 1818. Ankai Fort is located on a hill with perpendicular scraps on all sides, except for a narrow nose on the eastern side. The fort was an important religious place for the Hindus in the past, but today, it has become a trekking destination for tourists, and to reach the top of the fort, one has to trek from the Ankai village for half an hour.   

Ankai Fort in Maharashtra - Sheet1
View from Tankai Fort_©tripoto.com

Ankai and Tankai are joint forts built on adjacent hills connected by common fortifications to secure both. The forts were built to observe the trading route between SuratAurangabad. The famous Jain caves are located on the foothills of the fort, spanning two levels. There are seven caves, out of which the top 5 caves have idols in them. Meanwhile, the other two caves at the bottom have carvings. The Brahmani cave is situated at the entrance of the Ankai fort and has the idols of Jai and Vijay. According to legend, there is a fascinating mythological connection to the forts. It’s said that the forts were where Lord Rama met Saint Agastya and was given a sword, bows, and arrows, which Lord Rama used to defeat Ravana

Ankai Fort in Maharashtra - Sheet2
Ankai and Tankai Fort_©marathivishwakosh.org

Ankai Hill Fort

To reach the black stone fort of Ankai, one must pass through seven strong fortifications lines while passing by one Hindu rock-cut temple. The winding steps leading towards the top of the Ankai hill were easy to defend. However, the final ascent to reach the top was explicitly rugged for the Enemy as the 60-70 stone steps were only broad enough for one man, and few defenders could easily fight them off with the help of stones. The only other way to protect the hillfort was by keeping firewood at the gateways in case of a fire attack.

Ankai Fort in Maharashtra - Sheet3

After crossing the final gate, there stand remnants of a curious domed building which is said to have been a treasure chamber in the earlier times. In the middle of Ankai is a sizeable square-shaped water tank with an ancient sculpture in the middle. The water in this tank is considered holy, and pilgrims bathe in this tank before they visit the Agasti Rishi cave. 

Plateau contains up to 15 m deep rock-cut granaries and seven water tanks. The most impressive ruins are located in the far western end, where there are remnants and ruins of a Wada, a residential place of the royals with a massive pond in front of it. At the base of the hill on the eastern side of the plateau, Hindu rock-cut shrines with hermits are living here to this day. The Ankai-Tankai fort is also home to the Mothe Baba Dargah. Experts believe that the Ankai fort once has over 40 cannons, but none of them are present today. 

Tourist Experience

The Ankai-Tankai fort is an excellent experience for trekkers. It is a medium difficulty trek with no steep slopes to climb or even rock structures. The hike is rewarding because of the stunning views from the top. The best time to visit Ankai fort is during the monsoons, as the entire area comes alive during monsoons. The Government has taken proper care of the structure and the nearby places, so the experience is better than expected. The road to the Ankai -Tankai fort is a direct drive, so drivers and bikers can visit this place without worrying about potholes. 

Apart from trekking, one can indulge in exploring the fort’s history and photographing the ruined structure of the Ankai fort. From the top of the fort, one can also frame the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding villages. It is a perfect get-away place far from the city’s noise and pollution. It is a great place to savor history, nature, and spirituality.

Places to see around Ankai Fort.

Though Ankai fort is in ruins today, there is much to explore within its boundaries. From caves to temples and holy ponds to ruined palaces, one can find several tourist attractions here. The Jain caves are the most popular spots here and are frequently visited by history lovers. The caves house numerous idols of Lord Mahavir and are adorned with beautiful carvings. Other exciting locations include the ruined structure of the palace, Brahmani Caves, where one can witness the idols of Jay and Vijay, the gatekeepers of Lord Vishnu, and a Kashi pond with a Tulsi pot in the center. 

Ankai Fort in Maharashtra - Sheet4
Kashi Pond_©PC Ccmarathe,nativeplanet.com
Ankai Fort in Maharashtra - Sheet5
Jain and Brahmani Caves_©tripoto.com

Ways to Reach Ankai Fort

By Air: The nearest airport to Ankai Fort is Aurangabad, which is about 122 km. From the airport, one can either hire a taxi or catch a bus to Manmad and later catch a cab to the fort. The distance between Ankai fort and Manmad is about 8 km. 

By Rail: Manmad is well connected to all other cities and towns by rail, and hence can catch a direct train to Manmad Junction and then hire a taxi to Ankai fort.

By Road: Being a hill fort, one has to trek up the hill to reach the fort. However, the base of the fort has good road connectivity and is easily accessible by road.


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