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Monday, July 9, 2012

Ankai and Tankai forts great place to visit

A close view of ankai fort
There is little known about the early history of the impressive twin forts - Ankai-Tankai hill forts. Nowadays both wonderful table-top mountains serve as extraordinary destinations for weekend trips but just a few centuries ago there happened wild battles to conquer these windswept plateaus - once upon a time some of the best protected forts in this part of India.
Land of hill forts Satmala Range (former Chandor Range, also Chandwand Range) south from Manmad is a range of table-top mountains running from west to east. This range contains many impressive and beautiful ancient hill forts.

Two impressive table-top mountains of this range - Ankai and Tankai - rise up to 275 m high above the surrounding landscape. The highest summit is located on Ankai - 961 m above the sea level and here opens a wide view on valleys of Khandesh and Godavari. Both hills from all sides have nearly vertical walls with several steps and only the narrow saddle between both hills makes them ascendable. Ankai is located more to the west. The uneven plateau on its top is up to 700 m long and approximately 200 m wide. Eastern side of plateau contains a steep hill which is rising some 45 m above the other plateau.
Train crossing near Ankai
Tankai is located to the east and is somewhat larger. It is up to 800 m long and up to 600 m wide. Surface of Tankai is more flat, windswept. At the base of Tankai there are located several 700 - 10000 years old Jain rock-cut temples, some more Hindu rock-cut temples are on Ankai - see description at Ankai-Tankai Caves. Both hillforts nowadays are easy to ascend. Most tourists ascend from the Kusur (Ankai) village to the south from the saddle between both hills. First they pass by the Tankai Jain Cave Temples and through arched entrance door then reach the saddle and have a choice to ascend either Tankai or Ankai via path of stone-cut steps. For most part of the year the area is grey and desert like but during the monsoon miraculous change happens - even the plateaus on top of both hills are covered with lush green grass with some low shrubs in some places.
a natural thums up structure near ankai
Known history : In 1635 both forts were captured by the general Khan Khanan of the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan - the builder of Taj Mahal. The last time when forts were captured was in 5th April 1818 when Brits (unit of Lieutenant-Colonel McDowell) took them without bloodshed. This was great luck for Brits as the fort had large amount of ammunition and neighbouring forts were ready to take up rebellion if Ankai would start it. Forts were dismantled in 1827 - only in Ankai there was left garrison for some longer time. Nowadays both hills serve as wonderful tourist destinations - but tourists are required to respect this wonderful monument of past. 
 
Ankai and Tankai forts (900 ft tall and situated at a height of 961 m - 3125 ft above sea level) of Satpuda/Chandwad range are situated about 8 km south of Manmad. It has ancient caves, a lake and a Temple of Agastya Muni, who has the honour of being the first Aryan to cross the Vindhya Mountains. These were said to be strong forts of that time and command a view of Khandesh and Godavari Valley.
How To Go:-
  • From Manmad:-
  • Reach Manmad station which around 60 km.from Nashik.after getting there catch passenger train which goes through 'Ankai kila' Station.Or else you will get a rikshaw from Manmaad station.Distance of ankai fort from manmaad is around 8 km.  
This range runs to the north of the Nashik-Manmad railway line. Running west to east it has many beautiful forts. It was known as the Chandor range and the Balgan area in the past. The Maratha and the Mughal forces captured various forts and fought bloody battles on these passes. The twin fort of Ankai Tankai nestles herein this range.Ankai-Tankai (961m-3152ft) These twins hills form a part of the Chandwad range and are situated about 8 km south of Manmad. The fort of Ankai can be reached from the railways station of Ankai near Manmad. A flight of steps leads to 8 Buddhists caves at the base of Tankai caves. Climb the steps further to reach a well fortified common entrance of the forts.It has ancient caves and a temple of Agatsya, the sage who is credited with the achievement of the first crossing of the Vindhya Mountains. Both the twin hills are very attractive to visit, with Buddhist caves at their base.These were said to be the strongest hill-forts. They command a wide view of the Khandesh and Godavari valleys. The rock is so completely eroded on all the sides that it presents perfectly perpendicular walls on all its four faces. There is a big temple, a mazar and the Agatsya tank.To the left is Ankai, which is a beautiful place to visit.
 

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