karnala bird sanctuary

History :

Karnala is a refreshing break from the big city - come here to watch the birds, wildlife and greenery, come here to picnic and to trek, and while you are enjoying all this, do spare a thought for preserving the ecology and tranquility of the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is just a short drive from Mumbai on the Mumbai-Pune Highway to Goa. Karnala is a relatively small sanctuary, barely 4.8 sqkm in area, home to over 150 resident bird species and about 37 types of avian migrants. Many of these, however, might not be in view.
They do have a small caged area but this is to help injured or orphaned birds recover or be independent before releasing them, rather than to serve a zoo-like function.

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. Care must be taken while trekking during the monsoons - though you might be rewarded with some great climate and views of the Sahyadris. 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.

Climate :

Karnala has two distinct seasons from the point of view 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.

Getting There:
By Air: The nearest airport is at Mumbai (62 km.).
By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Panvel (12 km.).
By Road: Buses ply between Mumbai and Panvel and taxis and autos are available from Panvel.
  
Places to see nearby:

Karnala Fort
The Karnala Fort stands at a height of 445 metres and was built during the 12th century. In the olden days this fort was of strategic importance by virtue of its position and was a vantage point to govern the trade route between the BhorGhat and Mumbai and also the trade route on the river passing through Panvel. Between 1248 and 1318, the fort was under the command of the Devgiris. Then the Muslim rulers from Daulatabad took control of the fort and stayed put from 1318 to 1347. Subsequently, warriors from Gujarat took charge but in 1540 the baton to govern it passed to those from Ahmednagar.

Not to be cowed down, the Gujarat forces joined hands with the Portuguese army and re-conquered the fort. With the Portuguese rulers now stationed here, all subsequent efforts to regain the fort by armies from various states were nullified. However, after several years of rule, the Portuguese decided to let the ruler of Ahmednagar take over the fort in exchange for a handsome sum of money. In the years to come, the fort was claimed by Shivaji Maharaj in 1670 and then by Aurangazeb till the British stepped in and made it their own from 1818. The fort now belongs to the government but it seems that its true rulers are such raptors as the Peregrine and Shikra who, perched high on its ramparts, overlook the region surrounding it with a majestic bearing.



LocationPanvel taluka, Raigad District, Maharashtra, India
Nearest cityPanvel, Matheran and Karjat
Coordinates18°54′31″N 73°6′9″E
Area446 square kilometres (172 sq mi)
Governing bodyMaharashtra State Forest Department


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