You need special shoes for hiking — and a bit of a special soul as well.Karnala fort history:Karnala fort also called Funnel Hill is a hill fort in Raigad district about 10 km from Panvel city. Currently it is a protected place lying within the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. It was a fort of strategic importance as it overlooked the Bor pass which connected the Konkan coast to the interior of Maharashtra and was the main trade route between these areas.Shivaji conquered it from the Portuguese in 1670 by building breastworks as he advanced. After his death in 1680 it was taken over by Aurangzeb. After this the Mughals occupied it for some time after which it in 1740 with the rise of the Peshwas of Pune it went to them.(https://www.facebook.com/walkingsherpa/)Karnala Site information:Type: Hill fortHeight : 439 m (1,440 ft) ASLOwner Government of IndiaOpen to the public from 06:00 am to 06:00 pmKarnala Bird Sanctuary is great for photographers and nature lovers. It is the house of more than 150 species of birds and butterflies. Very green, clean, and well-maintained. Entry Fee: Rs.20 per Adults, Rs. 15 per Child, Rs. 15 per Two Wheeler & Rs. 50 per Four Wheeler,camera charges are also applicable. There are less birds in the monsoon. There are 2 routes at Karnala. Take the easy one if you wanna find more birds. The difficult one is for trekking all the way to the top.Best time to visit Karnala Fort:If you are well-prepared for the heavy and continuous rains during the monsoon, then this is a fantastic time to visit Karnala fort. The whole bird sanctuary around the fort becomes beautifully green during the monsoon, and if you can manage to get a view from the top of the fort through the clouds, the surrounding area is lush green. Be prepared for heavy rains and a very slippery, muddy trek to the fort - wear shoes with a good grip, and carry a waterproof jacket.If you don't want to visit during the rains, then winter is a good time as well (Nov-mid to Feb). The temperature is not very hot even during the day, and you can get a clear view from the top of the fort.For bird watching : At the onset of rains, one can see the paradise flycatcher, the shama or the magpie robin and the malabar whistling thrush which is one of the most melodious birds. In winter, the migrant birds take over. These include the blue-headed rock-thrush, the bluethroat, the red breasted flycatcher, the ashy minivet, the black headed cuckoo-shrike and a host of others.(https://www.facebook.com/walkingsherpa/)How to Reach Karnala Fort:At a distance of 13 km from Panvel, 53 km from Matheran, 56 km from Lonavala, 66 km from Mumbai Central and 120 km from Pune.From pune : around its 120 Km ,it takes around 2:30 hrs by own vehicle via Bangalore - Mumbai Hwy/Mumbai - Pune Hwy/Mumbai - Pune Expy,this route has tolls.
The Karnala Bird Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Mumbai and is a great pick if you are looking for a day trip. A much closer destination than the other places to visit near Mumbai, Karnala Bird Sanctuary covers the area around the historic Karnala Fort and is great for bird-watching during the colder months when birds from higher altitudes migrate here.Distance from Mumbai: 47 kmWhere to stay: K Stars Woods Resort6. Trek to the hidden Irshalgad Fort
Small bird sanctuary (few caged birds) at the beginning of the trek.
Amazing place for avid bird-watchers and trekkers.
The Karnala Fort was an important fort in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. It has been conquered by prominent rulers dating from the 1200′s right until 1818. The Tughlaq rulers, Nizam Shah, Shivaji Maharaj, Aurangzeb, Peshwa’s and the British have all ruled this fort at one point in time. The location of the fort overlooked the Bhor pass which was a main trade route between the Konkan and the Vidharba region during that time. It took us 2 hours with leisure halts to reach the pinnacle where the fort was located. The difficulty level for the trek is easy to medium with forest trails that lead to the fort. So it is not like you make your own route. However, there are a lot of rocks and wild grass that one needs to cross along the journey. Once atop, the view is amazing like most pinnacle views are. Non-trekkers (like me) will feel proud once you reach atop, amazed at the climb you have accomplished. The fort is in a dilapidated state but has some ruins like fort walls and entrance frames indicating its historic existence. The sanctuary is said to be home to more than 100 species of birds including rare ones like Ashi Minivet and 3 toed Kingfisher. We spotted none of it on the trek. What we did get to see are some caged rabbits, sparrows and parrots at the starting point of the journey near the small canteen. The canteen has limited snacking options like bhajjia’s, tea and nimbu paani. We rewarded ourselves with 2 glasses of nimbu paani (each person) after we had finished our trek.