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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Karnala Fort and Bird Sanctuary Ultimate Travel Experience

Karnala Fort and Bird Sanctuary

Exact date of formation is not know but likely it predates 1400 CE as under the Devagiri Yadavs(1248–1318) and under the Tughlaq rulers (1318–1347), Karnala was the capital of the north Konkan districts of their respective empires. It later fell under the command of the Gujarat Sultanate but in 1540 was taken over by Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar. The Gujarat sultans then requested the help of the Dom Francisco de Menenzes the commanding officer of the Portuguese at Bassien(modern day Vasai) to win it back. He ordered 500 of his soldiers to Karnala fort and they were able to capture it. The fort was left in charge of the Gujarat Sultanate but with Portuguese garrisons. 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. It remained under the command of killedar (garrison commander) Anantrao until a colonel Prother won the fort and established the rule of the British East India Company there in 1818.


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. There is a water cistern which provides fresh water all year long. From the top the forts of Prabalgad and Rajmachi are clearly visible. The fort has two inscriptions one in Marathi and the other in Persian. The Marathi inscription which has no date is seen on the lower gate on the inner side. Its words are indecipherable. The Persian writing is on upper gate reads "Syed Nuruddin Muhammad Khan, Hijri, 1147 AH (1735 CE) and probably dates from the Mughal occupation of the fort.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

History
Karnala is a refreshing break from the big city - come here to watch the birds and wildlife, come here to picnic and to trek, and while you are enjoying all this, do spare a thought for preserving the ecology and tranquillity of the sanctuary. Just a short drive outside Mumbai on the Mumbai-Pune Highway to Goa, is the densely forested Karnala Bird Sanctuary, a pleasant surprise away from Mumbai's concrete jungle. Karnala is a tiny sanctuary, barely 4.8 sq km, home to over 150 resident bird species and about 37 types of avian migrants.

Landscape
It is located in the mountain range of the Western Ghats. It is surrounded by many hills and is a trekkers paradise. Climbing Karnala can be a great experience for trekkers. Trekking can be dangerous in the rainy season so it can be done in the rest of the year. While climbing the fort you come across many species of birds in nature. River Patalganga is towards the east of the fort. Greenery covers and surrounds the fort of Karnala.

Flora and fauna
Vegetation typifies moist deciduous forest and is characterised by species such as Koshimb, mango, nana, kulu, kalam, asana, umbar and teak in the top canopy. The ecological conditions of the tract favour a large variety of bird population. The forests are also ideal as a harbourage to wild animals. A casual walk through the forests is an unfailing source of joy, with the list of bird-song ringing in the air. The sanctuary abounds in bird life and during the migrating season from October to April as many as 140 species of birds have been recorded. Though Karnala is principally a bird sanctuary, many other interesting forms wildlife like wild boar, the four-horned antelope, the muntjak and the common langur also occur here.

information source : wikipedia

How To Reach
Trek : Karnala , Type : Hill Fort, District : Raigad
Height above mean sea level : ~ 1410 ft (~ 429 m)
Minimum Duration : 1 day
Transport : Kalyan to Panvel (road, 35 km)- Karnala base (road, 12 km)
Time to reach the top : 1 1/2 to 2 hrs from base
Water Availability : Water cisterns are available at the top
Best season to visit :Any time except summer
Sights to visit : Darwaja, fortification, Buruj's etc
Difficulty Rating : Simple
Shelter : Cave at the top, govenrnment rooms (Forest dept) at the base.

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