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Karnala Fort Trek

Monday, November 28, 2011

My colleagues and I, along with some former colleagues, planned to see Karnala Fort.

Karnala Fort is located at a distance of 55 km from Mumbai in Panvel at the base of Karnala Bird Sanctuary.

We decided to go by train to Panvel and from there board an ST bus to the fort.
Group Photo, starting from right Vickas, Porus, Viren, Lennart, Inder and Me
We boarded the 6:44 am local at Andheri and alighted at Wadala junction on the Harbour Line. From there we boarded another connecting train to Panvel. After 2½ hours, we reached Panvel station, where we waited for1½ hour for Vikas, a colleague who lives just 30 minutes away from Panvel. He finally showed up without a rucksack. We politely told him that it was a trek and he had to bring water and snacks.

There was more waiting to be done. At the ST bus depot, we waited for 30 minutes for the bus. These buses are usually crowded so one must cooperate with the locals in the bus. As there are no direct buses to Karnala Fort, one needs to board a bus going to Pen, Alibag or Roha to reach Karnala.

Always check with the bus conductor if the bus will be halting at Karnala. Rickshaws will also take you there, but they will bore a huge hole in your pocket, so the ST bus is preferable. Thirty minutes later, we were at the entrance of Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
Map of the Karnala Bird Sanctuary
A light rain began, and stayed until we reached the top. Unfortunately, we could not catch sight of any birds. The rain had sent them hurrying for cover. We did spot a few caged birds and rabbits though. Later we decided to take the rocky path to Karnala Fort.

Now the climb was getting steep and we were getting tired. We could not make out the scenery on the way up as it was raining heavily. The entire area was covered with fog so thick that you could not see a person standing 10 feet away.

When we reached the entrance of the fort, we could not make out anything because of the fog. After some time the fog started clearing out and we were able to see the most breathtaking view. We felt as though we were walking in the clouds.
The pinnacle in the Fog
The fort was very small and the entrance was via a steep staircase with a shaky metal railing on the left-hand side. We were afraid but we still climbed up.

Strangely, it took us 2 hours to reach the fort, 45 minutes to see it, and 1½ hour to return to the entrance of Karnala.

Viren, one of my colleagues, had brought a packet of Maggi Noodles along. But the heavy rains prevented us from cooking and we had to make do with the dry snacks which we had carried. 
Other trekking groups atop the Fort
Atop the fort there is a pinnacle which is inaccessible to the general public. Only those who possess mountain climbing skills are allowed there. There are a few houses there and a number of water tanks. The place is also home to monkeys who wait for an opportunity to steal your food.

The view, from up here, is amazing. I was glad to see plenty of trekkers who had come there to spend a day at the fort. Sadly I could not get a glimpse of any cannons there. :(

We finally decided to make our way down. What goes up has to come down. The climb looked easy but the descent would not be so.
Caves and Water tanks
The staircase was steep so we came down as slowly as we could. This was the most difficult part of the journey. The rest was a walk in the park in comparison. By 3:00 pm, we were at the entrance of Karnala. From there, we boarded a tum tum to Panvel station.
Monkeys atop the fort
The tum tum driver insisted on charging us Rs 100 per person. Since we were six of us, it would have taken the damages to Rs 600. Hearing his demand, Viren refused. The driver immediately agreed to accept Rs 100 for the six of us. After this, I learned to respect Viren’s bargaining skills.

We then boarded a train to Andheri and headed home.

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Sheldon Quinny said...

Hey, Nice Trek,
I been to the Karnala Bird Sanctuary but lately you wont get to see ny birds , I was there in my 80's was great at that time.

Great Post Keep it up.

porus said...

it was really nice during the monsoon

Shashank Gore said...

Nice post and written as well ... thanks for recollecting my memories of karnala fort ... we wer thr in august this year ..

Jagdish Jadav said...

Nice trek and nice writeup!..... keep it up...... Jagdish Jadav

mervin pates said...

If u cannot spot birds there, then why the hell it is called Bird Sanctuary. Having said that, i must admit the place is abolutely breathtaking. Thanks 4 d update about this one. Looking fwd to visit this place someday.


Thanks Everyone

Chandan Kala said...

good work merwyn, keep writing.....

Konkan Travel Guide said...

Really informative writing get more information about Konkan forts at


Thanks KOnkan Travel Guide

resorts in Karnala said...

Nice Blog! Karnala is the best picnic spot for bird lovers. The Bird Sanctuary is best after monsoons, when the forest is green and pristine. An easy trek to Karnala fort through thick forest is invigorating.

Resorts in Karnala said...

I have just read the blog and i find it to be great. Thanks a lot for such a helpful information.


Thanks Resorts in Karnala

Unknown said...

Is it possible to see the fort and return to panvel if we start from panvel around 2.00pm. I have a train to catch from panvel station at 10.00pm. Kindly help me out.


Hey Rama,
Thanks for reading my blog.
It is possible, provided you don't waste time

Unknown said...

Hey...Beautifully described ya...!
I just wanted to know that whether we need a local guide..or the road is accessible..?!


Thanks Aniket, for reading my blog
The road is accessible. no guide needed.

Unknown said...

Looking to visit someday...!! Nice post

Buy Contact Lenses Online said...

Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

Unknown said...

Thanks.. it helps a lot

kiranKCR said...

Well described

The Wanderer Yogi said...

Road is very straightforward and now there are marking on path till top. Forest department is taking very good care.

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