Karnala Bird Sanctuary and Fort – Year 1968 Declared as a Bird Sanctuary

Karnala Bird Sanctuary and Fort – Year 1968 Declared as a Bird Sanctuary

At 8:20 am we were at Bandra and at 9:45 am we were at Palsape Phata, Mumbai – Pune Highway having breakfast at Shree Datta Snacks Corner.

Rs. 80 for two Misal Pav and Rs. 10 for tea.

At 10:30 am we reached Karnala Bird Sanctuary.

Bandra (Mumbai) to Karnala Bird Sanctuary is a 53 km distance by Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark motorbike.

At the entrance of the sanctuary, we parked our motorbike and paid entry fees for two including a parking ticket. Rs. 55 the cost. And a little further we paid Rs. 10 for two people to co-operate in cleaning the sanctuary plastic and garbage-free – very important.

Ganesh Jadav is a guide, and he was ready to join us to enhance our knowledge about the park. He charged us Rs. 100. We enter the sanctuary area and turn right and cross a wooden bridge and a watchtower. We climb and saw the first glimpse of Karnala Fort and the lush green surroundings around. Wow – natural 100%. I was happy.

Currently, there were no birds around because it is August month and the rainy season but yes, tourists were there, especially youngsters. Ganesh advised us – Best Time to Visit Karnala Bird Sanctuary is in the month of December to watch birds.

As we walk further, the guide enhanced our knowledge about some medicinal plants – Ghaneri, Apta, Murudsing. And further we walk he showed us more plants such as Palash, Sagwan (teak), Ukshi, Bahava, Safed Kuda, Kadol, Asana, Dekamali, Lokhandi.

He also enhanced our knowledge by rubbing leaves of teak commonly known as Sag (साग) in the Marathi language. He said the leaves are used for making dyes.

During the walk, we also saw a crab and then many crabs crossing muddy paths and big spiders on trees.

As birds were not there guide further enhanced our knowledge about birds like Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Indian Grey Hornbill, Black Drongo, Golden Backed Woodpecker, Small Blue Kingfisher, Golden Oriole, and many other presents during the winter season. The display boards also present nicely written details about birds. It is home to a variety of birds.

During walks a few times we cross a small stream of water too. In short, a walk inside a green sanctuary away from city life is a nice pleasant experience to refresh ourselves.

We stop at the canteen. Read the canteen menu list and had Batata Bhaji with Tea (Rs. 20+ Rs. 7) and Nimbu Sharbat (Rs. 10). Excellent – the taste.

There are two rest houses inside the sanctuary and one is available for the general public but in-advance permission is required from forest officials.

We requested the guide to join us for the Karnala Fort trek but he was not interested and suggested not to go because of mud due to rain we said we will try and if not possible to reach the fort we will return and walk while saying bye to him and paying Rs. 100. Thanks.

It took us one hour and fifteen minutes to reach Karnala Fort from the base’s nearby canteen. There were many trekkers on the way. Though I have been on a few treks, this one will be one of the best treks also because I find it very natural with no man-made modern paths. Just pure natural as you walk up and up. Yes, the climb initially for half an hour is steep, and then later onwards steep and flat.

Just before the fort is the Goddess temple. Prayer and we walk further toward the fort.

(History of Karnala Fort narrated in English by Rahul Patil – a friend from Pune, Maharashtra)

Karnala Fort is situated on the Mumbai-Goa National Highway, about 10-12 Km from Panvel. Its altitude is 445 meters above sea level. Its peak is a thumb-shaped massive rock soaring high in the sky.
In the old days, this fort was used to guard the trade routes from Panvel and Boar ghat to ports like Mumbai and Chaul in Maharashtra.
From the Kingdoms of Bhoj, Shilahar & Devagiri to the rule of Marathas and then the British, the fort has witnessed various regimes.
In the year 1968, it was declared a bird sanctuary.
From Karanala Fort one can see peaks like Matheran, Prabalgad, Rajmachi, Malang-gad & Manikgad.

In the past 1200 years, the fort has witnessed various regimes.

Rulers of the fort
1248 – 1318 – Yadavs of Devagiri
1318 – 1347 – Muslim rulers of Daulatabad.
After this, it was under the Gujarat rulers.
1540 – It was taken by the troops of Ahmednagar
Gujarat rulers regained the fort with the help of the Portuguese.
1670 – Shivaji Maharaj took over the fort from the Mughals. But later he hand it over to Mirza Raje Jaising in a treaty signed after the battle of Purandar. Shivaji Maharaj again took the fort.
Aurangazeb took it over after the death of Shivaji Maharaj.
1740 – Peshwa rulers.
1803 – British took control of the fort, and it remained in their control thereafter.
The grandfather of revolutionary Vasudeo Balwant Phadke had been in charge of the fort till 1818.

You know the view from the fort is breathtaking. Panvel, Raigad, and the surrounding area are lush green with forests and reservoirs. What I found the best and most exciting was the return downwards via steps from the main fort. One can watch the deep valley on both sides as you climb downwards. The stairs are a little narrow and thick but thanks to Sanctuary officials for making railings around the stairs because maybe without railings for many it was not possible to climb or climb downwards. Thanks again.

We started climbing down around 1:35 pm, and it took us one hour (2:40 pm) to reach the base.

In total, I guess 3 hours is the minimum requirement to and fro the trek to Karnala Fort.

Very interesting, and very natural. I will surely visit again in December to watch the birds.

We met Ganesh Jadav – The guide again and he further enhanced our knowledge that on 26th January, 15th August, and 1st May there is no entry fee inside the sanctuary for the visitors FREE FREE FREE.

We also question another visitor – How to reach Karanala Bird Sanctuary if coming via Panvel Railway Station?

He said – one has to take a bus from the Panvel bus depot nearby Panvel Railway Station. Any bus going towards Alibagh, Pen will drop you at Karnala Bird Sanctuary.

Thank you – said I.

While returning, we were very hungry.

At 3:30 pm we stop at Himalayan Punjab Family Restaurant, Palaspe Phata, Mumbai – Pune Highway, and had Chinese Sezwan Friend Rice, Chinese Lollypop, and a cold drink. A fruitful visit and a happy tour. Thanks to Mahesh – a friend who joined me on tour to Karanala Bird Sanctuary and then to trek to the fort. Thanks again.

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