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Karnala Bird Sanctuary|
Karnala Bird Sanctuary 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.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
is a major attraction to the visitors of Mumbai, Thane and other nearby towns.
About one hundred thousands local tourists visit the sanctuary every year. Karnala
is a paradise for bird watchers. One can also visit Nature Interpretation Centre
and trek down to famous Karnala Fort located amidst sanctuary.
Pinnacle offers refuge to endangered birds like the peregrine falcon, king vulture
and the crested serpent eagle. The four-horned antelope, wild boar, common langur,
African monkeys and the muntjak or barking deer are amongst the commonly seen
wildlife, while the leopard is spotted rarely.
Apart from being a place
of interest to the naturalist, Karnala is redolent of martial history. Karnala
Fort or the 'Funnel Hill' as it is called, stands 475 metres high. Its command
of the high road between Bhorghat and the rivers of Panvel and Apta, must have
from the earliest time, made Karnala a place of strategic importance. Two gateways
one at the foot and the other at the top of the rock-hewn steps lead to a dual
gateway with a chamber in between. There are two inscriptions in the Fort, one
in Marathi and the other in Persian. The Fort has a chequered history of having
passed through the hands of Muslim, Portuguese and Maratha rulers.
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.
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.
Karnala has two distinct seasons from the point of viess of the bird-watcher.
At the onset of rains, one can see the paradise flycatcher with its fairy-like
white streamers, the shama or the magpie robin and the malabar whistling thrush
which are some of the most melodious avian songsters. A variety of other birds
is also seen nesting in the forest.
In winter, the migrants take over
and the pattern of bird life changes. The migrants include a variety of birds
such as the blackbird, the blue-headed rock-thrush, the bluethroat, the red breasted
flycatcher, the ashy minivet, the black headed cuckoo-shrike and a host of others.
Monsoons are very severe in this part of the world. So you can avoid
them during June-August. Best time to visit: October to April.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary is 60 km from Mumbai, on the Mumbai-Goa Highway,
NH-17. This is a 2-hour drive via Thane Creek and Panvel. Central Railway trains
from VT Station stop at Panvel, 12 km from the sanctuary; from here you can catch
autorickshaws, taxis and buses. State Transport buses run from Mumbai Central
to Karnala. You can hire an Taxi from Mumbai or Pune and shouldn't be very expensive.
From Vashi (New Mumbai) - 32km. (one Way)
From Panvel regular buses
and autorickshaws(6 sitters) going towards Pen will drop you at Karnala, but the
frequency is very less after 6.00-7.00 PM. The fare is around Rs.10.00.