Busy lifestyles of Mumbaikars often need them for a tranquil time-off in the midst of an offbeat destination. If you are a nature buff and looking for some wacky getaways near Mumbai, Karnala Bird Sanctuary may be the place of your quest. Let’s catch a glimpse of Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary: An Overview
Located nearly 60 kms from the main city, Karnala Bird Sanctuary is a popular weekend getaway near Mumbai. Sprawled over 4.6 sq km areas, Karnala Bird Sanctuary is basically nestled in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, which is in close proximity to Karjat and Matheran. With its dense bush environs near Sahyadri range and steep trekking trails, Karnala Bird Sanctuary has become an absolute delight for trekkers, hikers and bird watchers. Besides its spectacular birding site, the Bird Sanctuary also offers you a unwind blend of Nature Interpretation Centre and Karnala Fort, which are situated near the sanctuary.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary is undoubtedly an offbeat weekend destination near Mumbai. Delimited by endangered flora and fauna, the afforest region of Karnala offers you an excellent blend of wildlife, greeneries, and adventure. People do visit this place for picnicking as well.
Despite being a small bird sanctuary near Mumbai, the dense bush of Karnala is an abode to more than 180 migratory and resident species of birds. Some of the alluring wildlife in this sanctuary include king vulture, eagle, peregrine falcon, wild boar, white-cheeked barbet, Nilgiri woodpigeon, Malabar grey hornbill and sunbird. In addition, barking deer, African monkeys, red breasted flycatcher, langur and four-horned antelope can also be spotted in the midst of Karnala’s dense woods.
It is reported that nearly one hundred thousand visitors flock at Karnala Bird Sanctuary every year from the places like Mumbai, Pune and many other neighbouring destinations of Maharashtra. Visiting the location during peak season will offer you a wide range of migratory birds across the dense bush. A blend of colourful birds humming around the tall stand trees will not consume much time of yours to fall in love with such fascinating ambience.
Visiting Hours and Entry Fee:
You can visit Karnala Bird Sanctuary from 7AM to 5.30PM. Try to enter the place before 2PM. The reason being, from 2PM-3PM the Sanctuary sees too much footfalls of visitors.
The entry fee to the sanctuary for child is INR 15 and for adults the fee is INR 30. Visitors who are carrying still and video cameras will be charged an additional amount of INR 100 and INR 150 respectively. There is a separate parking zone as well where you can park your two and four wheelers by spending a mere amount of INR 15 and INR 50 respectively.
Best Time to visit:
For a true nature and rain lover Karnala Bird Sanctuary can best be revealed during monsoon. Intense rainfalls make the surrounding greenery quite mesmerising for visitors. On the other hand, if you want to visit this place for bird watching, the best time to flock here is either after the monsoon or during winter i.e. from October to February or till early March.
Travel Pointers: While entering the sanctuary, you will find small stalls showcasing various eatables like Vada Pav, Poha, tea, juice and much more at very affordable prices. In addition, few small shelters are also set up on the way where visitors can sit and take a short meal break. No vehicles are allowed inside the sanctuary. So, the best way to explore the Karnala Bird Sanctuary is on foot. If you are here by your own car, separate parking zone is available near the sanctuary.
Things to Do:
Well, the attractions in Karnala Bird Sanctuary are not limited to the cited wildlife. The surrounding mounds and challenging trails add some more spices to the presence of adventure freaks. Let’s take a look on some of the thrilling opportunities in the midst of Karnala.
#Trekking at Karnala Fort
The soaring buildings of Mumbai hardly space you for something audacious. If it’s been quite long you are in quest of such spacious destination to emerge out your daring persona, the trekking trail of Karnala Fort is just the place of your choice.
Perched at an elevation of nearly 476 meters, Karnala Fort or Funnel Hill is an absolute delight for trekkers and hikers. During its prolonged existence, Karnala Fort has witnessed a variety of Portuguese, Maratha and Muslim rulers.
Trekking in Karnala is always awe-inspiring. It takes nearly 2 hours time to reach atop the fortification. The trail is comparatively easier to scale, but during monsoon the slippery trails turns more challenging for trekkers. Upon reaching the fort you will get to see two gateways. In addition, Marathi and Persian inscriptions are also there in the fort that pulls plenty of travellers at the Funnel Hill. If you head towards the middle at the zenith, you get to notice a 125 feet high basalt pillar, which is known as the Pandu’s Tower. It is said that the pillar once used to be the watchtower when the fort was occupied by different rulers of that time. Even today, the relics of the tower successfully grab the attention of many history lovers and visitors.
Apart from these, many other nearby attractions are also there that you can explore. Some of these leading attractions near Karnala Bird Sanctuary include Bot Lake, Rose Garden, Gaodevi Mandir, Datta Mandir, Ram Mandir and Ganesh Mandir.
Travel Pointers: Please be informed that once you reach the fort it is difficult to find anything to eat/drink. Hence, it is advisable to buy something to eat/drink before you start for the fort. There is a small stall at the starting point from where you can buy some eatables. Additionally, don’t forget to wear proper trekking costumes and carry sufficient drinking water on the go. Travellers can also take absolute pleasure from camping amidst the green environs.
Imagine a destination offering you a blend of vibrant greenery, a diverse range of bird species and relics of historic fort. Doesn’t it sound breathtaking? An abode to various wildlife and natural abundance, Karnala has become a picturesque destination for the people near Thane, Panvel, Vashi and other adjoining locations of Mumbai. The soothing environs of the place not only offer you a captivating vista, but eventually blow your mind with its nearby cliffs, rock, waterfalls and bridge. Besides, from the pinnacle point of the Karnala Fort, you can also have an overwhelming panorama of Karnala region and its adjoining greenery.
If you want to make your weekend more happening like never before, don’t forget to be there with your buddies and a quality camera. The place has many untold stories to reveal. In short, this is a perfect and tranquil weekend getaway from city’s hustle-bustle where you should pay a visit.
#Foods to Taste
There are few quality eateries and dhabas close to the Karnala Fort where you can try various delicious Maharashtrian platters and Chinese cuisines. In addition, a blend of Konkani seafood, mouth-watering meats and North India dishes also allure lot many foodies near the food courts here. When in Karnala, don’t forget to visit some of the popular restaurants that include Neel Kamal, The Village and Hotel Fort View.
Situated on the Mumbai-Pune Highway to Goa, getting there to Karnala Bird Sanctuary is not a major concern for Mumbaikars and other travellers residing outside the state.
Here is how to get there:
By Air: Travellers who want to visit this beautiful weekend destination near Mumbai by air, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the nearest airport for them. Located nearly 58 Kms from Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has got convenient air connectivity with all major destinations in India and abroad. From airport, one can hire a taxi or auto-rickshaw to travel further near the destination.
By Train: Thanks to the Central Railway Trains. To reach Karnala Bird Sanctuary by train, you can board a train from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station and deboard at Panvel, which is merely 12 Kms from the destination. From Panvel, you can hire a taxi or get into an auto-rickshaw to reach Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
By Road: NH 17 connects Karnala with its nearby locations like Mumbai, Murud, Alibag etc. There are plenty of state run buses from Mumbai Central that ply to Karnala. In addition, you can also hire a cab or taxi from Thane or Navi Mumbai to reach Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Before getting into a bus, make sure the bus has a stoppage at the sanctuary. By car it will take 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours to reach the Sanctuary. However, depending on the mode of commutation and route, the travel time may vary.
Places to Stay:
Karnala is frequently visited by the tourists from Maharashtra and other parts of India. Keeping in mind the growing footfalls of visitors, number of cottages, hotels and rest houses are owned near the highway by the Forest Department. In addition, some of the comfortable accommodations for a night long stay can also be availed at Vashi and Panvel. Depending on the type of accommodations and amenities you avail, the charges may range here from INR 650 to INR 1200 or more.
For your convenience, some of the pleasant staying options are listed here:
Plot No 16, Sector No 12,
New Panvel, 410206
Plot No. 16, Sector 12,
Panvel Matheran Road,
New Panvel, panvel, 410206
Mumbai – Goa Road, Near Karnala Bird Sanctuary,
Panvel-Taluka, Raigad District,
Kalhe, Maharashtra 410221
#K Star Woods Resort
Next to Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Kalhe Gaon,
Mumbai – Goa Highway, Panvel,
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400014
Karnala Bird Sanctuary is undeniably a refreshing break from city’s busy and monotonous way of life. So what are you waiting for? Plan your next weekend trip to one of the popular destinations near Mumbai. Let’s plunge into the natural exquisiteness of Karnala and make this trip an eternal one like never before. Rousing trekking trails and a rich variety of endangered birds, Karnala Bird Sanctuary is just a plan away from you.
Have a blissful weekend!