A complete guide to the Karnala Fort – Monotonous routine and immense work pressure in our daily lives not only makes us feel frustrated and bored but also drains us out of energy. Nothing soothes the exhausted mind and body of ours like travelling. It not only helps us imbibe with positive energy but also gifts us with memories worth cherishing forever.
Importance and History of Karnala Fort
Located 10 km from the city of Panvel, Karnala Fort is situated on a hill in the district of Raigad, Maharashtra. The importance of the historical fort lies in its strategic location, which was preliminary build to keep an eye on the Bor Pass which was an important trade route during the medieval period as it connected the Konkan Coast with Maharashtra.
The fort is dated back to the early 1400 and was built by the Devagiri Yadavas and the Tughlaq rulers. Karanala Fort was ruled by Gujarat Sultanate until Nizam Shah captured it in 1540. The Gujarat soldiers took the aid of the Portuguese soldiers and with their help took back the fort, and it came under their supervision once again, but the Portuguese army protected it.
After the complete capture of the fort by the Portuguese army, the Gujarat sultanate fled and Nizam Shah attacked the fort again but unsuccessfully. Later when the Portuguese viceroy realized that the fort was no longer much necessary for their business, they sold it to Nizam Shah.
After Shivaji Maharaj captured it from the Mughals in 1670, it was taken over by Aurangazeb in 1680. Later the Peshwa of Pune occupied it and soon after the British East India Company established its rule in 1818.
The architecture of Karnala Fort
Lying within the periphery of the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, the Karnala Fort is mostly in its ruins today. However, the fort is not a single piece of architecture but a combination of two forts, one located on a higher level than the other.
In the centre of the forts, there is a tall watchtower which is about 125 feet tall and is made from Basalt rock. It is believed that the watchtower was used to keep an eye on the Bor pass. A water cistern is present in the fort providing fresh water.
Karnala Fort Entry Fee
The Karnala Fort is located inside the premises of the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, and thus the entry fee is included within the fee of the sanctuary. The price of a ticket for an adult to enter the sanctuary is Rs 30, and a child is Rs 15.
Karnala Fort Timings
The Karnala Fort is open for tourists on all weekdays and can be visited from 6.30 am in the morning to 6.30 pm in the evening. The sunrise and sunset view from the fort is a mesmerizing view to witness.
Karnala Fort Trek
Located at an elevation of 445 meters above the sea level, the Karnala Fort is a thumb-shaped Fort situated on a hill and creates an immense tough environment that attracts tourists who favour trekking and hiking. It takes a little more than an hour to trek from the base of the hill to the top of the fort.
The forest department looks after the trekking trail and has created five resting places on the pathway and are made safe by building iron railings alongside them.
Monsoon is considered to be the most appropriate time for trekking as numerous birds can be heard chirping and singing songs. The forest around lushes with green during monsoon and the environment imbibes with the rich flora and fauna.
There are two routes that run from the entrance of the sanctuary to the fort.
The first route is the main path that goes from the centre of the forest.
The second trail is the alternate way that encircles the sanctuary and is a longer route.
Best Time to Visit Karnala Fort
The best time to visit the Karnala Fort is during the winter when more than 40 migratory birds visit the Karnala Bird Sanctuary for migration. The most desirable and comfortable months are from September to April.
The month of May must be avoided as the temperature remains very hot, and the scorching heat makes it impossible to trek.
How to Reach Karnala Fort
Located at a distance of 48 km from Mumbai, Karnala is well connected to the nearest cities.
The nearest airport to Karnala is Mumbai airport, which is located at a distance of 57.2 km only.
Driving on the Mumbai-Goa national highway, Karnala can be reached once you cross the village of Shirdhone and is easily accessible by cabs and taxis due to its popularity among tourists.
The nearest railway station to Karnala is Panvel. After you reach the Panvel railway station, you can board a rickshaw or private cab to reach the Karnala Fort.
Places to Eat Near Karnala Fort
There are two eateries in the Karnala Fort, one just beside the entrance, run by the local women and provides good breakfast and snacks along with tea to the tourists. The second eating shack is located on the start point of the trek before the Karnala Fort.
Places to Visit Near Karnala Fort
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
A popular destination among tourists, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary is located encircling the Karnala Fort and considered to be a paradise among the bird watchers.
Home to more than 222 species of birds, the sanctuary also attracts more than 40 species of migratory birds from all over the world. The sanctuary also has about 112 species of butterflies.
If you are a person who loves cherishing the beauty of nature, then this is the perfect place for you. Located at a distance of just 3.2 km from the Karnala Fort, the Kharghar Hills has a waterfall that attracts nearby tourists and hikers.
During monsoon, the waterfall drops at its might and creates a mesmerizing scene for the tourists. The Kharghar Hills is also a popular spot for trekking and photography.