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 Karnala fort & bird sanctuary Jungle trek
Duration: 1 Day
Expenditure 800

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.

Karnala Site information:

Type: Hill fort

Height : 439 m (1,440 ft) ASL

Owner Government of India

Open to the public from 06:00 am to 06:00 pm

Karnala 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.

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.

Photos of Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Karnala, Maharashtra, India 1/1 by PANKAJ KUMAR

Air: The nearest airport to Karnala Bird Sanctuary is Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai which is 33 KM away from Karnala Bird Sanctuary.

Rail: Panvel, the nearest railway station, is a major station on the busy line between Mumbai and Roha and also on the Mumbai suburban line. Auto-rickshaws and taxis are available from the station to reach the Karnala fort.

Road: Karnala is on the national highway 17 which is also called the Mumbai-Goa highway. State-run buses going towards Pen, Alibag, Murud, etc. stop at the sanctuary gate. Shared auto-rickshaws which run regularly from Panvel to surrounding villages is another way to get to Karnala. Taxis, from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai or Thane, can be hired to reach Karnala.

From pune by train:

11026 Pune Bsl Exp

12126 Pragati Express

22150 Pune Ers Sup Ex

11101 Kanhan Valle Express

Photos of  1/1 by PANKAJ KUMAR

Getting Around Karnala Fort:

No vehicles are allowed inside the park. The only way to explore the sanctuary is on foot.

Sightseeing in Karnala Fort:

While here don't miss the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. One may also head to other nearby attractions such as Ram Mandir, Gaodevi Mandir, Ganesh Mandir, Datta Mandir and Bot Lake.

Shopping in Karnala Fort:

There are no shops at Karnala fort. There might be some local shops in the nearby localities.

Things to Carry:

water at least 3 litre(Important)

dry snacks .


full sleeves shirt,trekking ,track pants.

raincoat( In rainy season).

shoes with good grip.

medicine if required.

Photos of  1/1 by PANKAJ KUMAR

Now Start the journey:

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

I started from pune(Dehuraod) around 7 a.m. in the morning on a private vehicle. I went with mysterious Rangers group from pune on sunday.

I always like to go with this group because they are very energetic, passionate and professionally qualified people for organizing events.

Photos of  1/1 by PANKAJ KUMAR

Road trips are the most fun when you have a packed car. It is an opportunity to get to know more about your family/friends and chat like there’s no tomorrow. Eventually, there is a lull in the conversation and there’s nothing like road trip games to keep up the enthusiasm. It also helps to keep the driver yes offcourse,we were playing : Antakshari – the National Pastime during the journey.We enjoyed the entire journey by playing antakshari.

Breakfast time: All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast at 9 am we did breakfast and then we move towards to destination.

Reached there around 10 a.m,We were full of energy,we were instructed by organizer some do's and don's.

Photos of  1/4 by PANKAJ KUMAR
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entry into sanctuary , we went to the ticket counter for group entrance.So before we started to Karnala, we've read few blogs and articles on what to do and what not to do.

Photos of  1/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR
Photos of  2/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR

At the beginning of the trek there are few cages where you expect to see birds (being a bird sanctuary) however, all you find is just "peacock" But ten they are kinda unique as you don't find them everywhere.Anyhow the climb starts a little after crossing the shops and cages.

Photos of  1/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR
Photos of  2/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR

The trek is easy with 2-3 patches of rocky climb which can be a little cheeky and muddy due to rain as it makes the rocks very slippery. The climb take about 2-3 hrs depending upon the speed of the climber.

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Photos of  8/8 by PANKAJ KUMAR

And then the fun starts, we talked and walked.keep moving to reach at the top.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

We took about an 2:30 hr to climb. Reaching the top of the fort is worth all the efforts. The place offers breathtaking experience for everyone who has not gone through any such activity in life.The view from up was breathtaking. For all the selfie freaks and the photographers, the fort gives you amazing sights and places to capture and cherish for lifetime.(“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.”)

Photos of  1/3 by PANKAJ KUMAR
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We did take few pictures which turned out to be great even with the sweat.

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”

Photos of  1/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR
Photos of  2/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR

Enjoyed the view from near of the fort.

At the centre of the higher level is a 125 feet high basalt pillar. It is also called Pandu's tower. This structure was used as watchtower when the fort was occupied however now it is in a ruined condition. The presence of bee hives also makes it difficult to climb .

Bhavani Temple: There is a temple dedicated to goddess Bhavani located at the bottom of the fort. It is said that the goddess gave a sword to king Shivaji, which he then used to conquer a vast area of land for the establishment of a Hindu nation.

Photos of  1/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR
Photos of  2/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR

There are 5 resting places on the pathway made by forest department. The final climbing steps near the entrance of the fort are made safe by iron railings. It is not advisable to cook food at the base of the pinnacle, as the smell of smoke irritates the Honey Bees. The water from the southernmost rock cut water cistern is potable. First aid is available at the Forest guest house.

Photos of  1/5 by PANKAJ KUMAR
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Not really wasting much time, we headed back to the sanctuary. The return journey was amazing. Not tiring at all.

Photos of  1/4 by PANKAJ KUMAR
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Photos of  4/4 by PANKAJ KUMAR

we all are hungry ,there are shops actually on shop where you get a thali as a meal at the base of the trek,we did luch at 4:30pm.

I think 'lunch' is one of the funniest words in the world,because we do many funniest talk at lunch and offcourse we had.

Photos of  1/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR
Photos of  2/2 by PANKAJ KUMAR

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving,I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.I will come back soon.

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