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Karnala - Places to Visit

It is ideal for day trip or for a short weekend break. Karnala is principally a small bird sanctuary (around 4 square Kms) under the protection of Forest Department (They charge Rs. 20 /- as entry fee). If you are into birding, you should visit Karnala either before the onset or in winters (peak season). Before the onset of monsoons you can sight Paradise Flycatcher, Magpie Robin or Malabar Whistling Thrush. During winters, lot of migratory birds including blackbird, the blue-headed rock-thrush, the bluethroat, and black-headed cuckoo-shrike can be sighted.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

The Karnala Bird Sanctuary is located in Panvel Taluka of Raigad District, near Matheran and Karjat. This sanctuary is located in the total area of 4.27 sq. km. It contains a total of 150 species of resident and 37 species of migratory birds. Popular birds found at this sanctuary include magpie robin, malabar whistling trush, paradise fly catcher, golden backed woodpecker and many others. The most popular spot in this place is the thumb shaped pinnacle present at its top.

Karnala Fort

The Karnala Fort is a popular hill fort situated at a distance of 55 km from Mumbai and 10 km from Panvel City, in the Raigad District. This fort is also known as the 'Funnel Hill' and is located within the protected area of Karnala Bird Sanctuary. This fort was built in the 12th century under the rule of Nizamshahi but later on it was captured by Shivaji. The fort is situated on the Mumbai-Goa Highway and is surrounded by dense forests along with various species of flora and fauna. The way that leads to this fort always remains adorned in strands of mist and cloud.

The location of this fort also has a strategic importance as it overlooks the Bor Pass connecting the Konkan Coast to the interior of Maharashtra along with being the trade route between these areas. Its interiors comprise of two forts; one at a higher level while the other on the lower. In its centre, there is a 125 ft high basalt pillar known as the Pandu's tower, which worked as the watchtower in ancient times. Top of this fort provides a clear view of the Prabalgad and Rajmachi towns. The Marathi and Persian inscriptions present on the walls of this fort are also its unique feature. The Marathi inscription is present on its lower gate while Persian is on the upper gate.

Shiva Temple

Shiva Temple is an ancient and revered temple located in Ambarnath, near Karnala. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built by Manmuniraja of Shilahara dynasty in 1060 AD. This temple is famous as the cults of both Vaishnavites and Shivaites, offer their prayers here. The interiors of this temple display various ancient carvings while its exteriors include sculptured images of stories associated with Vaishnava and Shaiva Puranas. Its most visited day is the festival of Shivaratri.

Bhavani Temple

The Bhavani Temple also known as the Bhavani Khadageshwar Temple is located near the Karnala Fort. The main deity of this temple is Bhavani, who is one of the forms of Goddess Lakshmi. It is situated at the peak of the hilly regions of Karnala Bird Sanctuary and is reachable after an hour's trek to the sanctuary. Its one of the most popular attraction is the rock cut Buddhist caves and a number of water cisterns present in its surrounding areas.


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