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Karnala fort also called Funnel Hill is a hill fort in Raigad District about 10 km from Panvel city, 65km from Mumbai city, situated along the Mumbai-Goa highway. Currently it is a protected place lying within the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. The fort of Karnala is famous for its strange pinnacle and the bird sanctuary that is setup amidst the forest. Today, the ruins of the fort are a popular destination for hiking and tourism.This Fort is at a height of approx 1500 ft. It is a great trek for beginners and for parents who want to introduce their children to trekking and Mother Nature.
History Karnala Fort
This stunning quaint fort is one of the best specimens of the 13th century constructions. It is likely to be constructed under the rule of Yadavs and Tuglaq before the 14th century. This fort was of great strategic importance as it overlooked the Bor Pass which connected Konkan to the Vidharba region of Maharashtra. This pass was the main trade route of these areas and a person who controlled Karnala had an ‘eye’ on the trade. Till 15th century the fort was under Nizamshahi rule.
When Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, wanted to capture the fort, his army initially surrounded the fort. They built temporary obstructions and continued to attack. After a few days, they captured the fort. After that the Mughal Empire, the Angres and Peshwas ruled the fort. In 1818, colonel Prother of the British captured it. Finally the tricolour was furled here. However the cisterns here show that the fort is ancient and dates back to 12th century.
Best time for Fort Karnala Trek
During the monsoons, you can see songbirds like the paradise flycatcher, magpie robin and the malabar whistling thrush. There is also the racket-tailed drongo that can be seen. The best time to see migratory birds at the Karnala is between the months of October and April.
A variety of colorful birds such as the ashy minivet, red-breasted flycatcher, blackbird, black-headed cuckoo-shrike, blue-throat, Green bee eater, chestnut headed green bee eater, blue tailed bee eater, Purple Rumped Sunbird, Coppersmith barbet, Tailor Bird, White Spotted Fantail, Golden Oriole, Red Vented Bulbul, Red Whiskered Bulbul, White-throated Kingfisher, Cattle Egret and the blue-headed rock thrush can be spotted. The surrounding landscapes are hauntingly beautiful as the pinnacle is draped by the clouds and mist during monsoon.
Karnala Trek Details
It is a wonderful trek of 2 hour from the bottom of the hill. Once you enter the bird sanctuary there are essentially two routes that wind through the forest and lead to the trail up the mountain. The main route is a well-defined trail and goes straight through the center of the forest. The alternate route is a crude track that encircles the sanctuary before rejoining the main trail.The final climbing steps near the entrance of the fort are made safe by iron railings
Karnala fort actually consists of two forts one at a higher level and other lower. 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 and have resulted in at least one casualty in recent times.It is not advisable to cook food at the base of the pinnacle, as the smell of smoke irritates the Honey Bees.
There is a water cistern which provides fresh water all year long. There is a temple dedicated to goddess Bhavani located at the bottom of the fort. Bhavani Temple.
1 Veg Breakfast
Travel from Panvel ST depot – to Karnala fort base – and back to Panvel ST depot by tumtum / ST
Karnala Wildlife Sanctuary Entry fee
Emergency Medical evacuations if any required
Insurance and any item/event not mentioned in the inclusion list.
Camera fees and Lunch
Please carry lunch or snacks for this trek
For Registration and Confirmation transfer Rs 800 per person