Popular with bird-watchers and trekkers, Karnala Bird Sanctuary lies 60 km from Mumbai and 12 km from Panvel. The sanctuary is also famous for the 11th century Karnala Fort. Straddling the Mumbai-Goa highway, the sanctuary is quite small and is spread over 12.11 sq km in Raigad district of Maharashtra.
Even so, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary is home to over 150 species of resident and 37 species of migratory birds. Three rare birds — Ashy Minivet, Three-toed kingfisher and Malabar Trogon — have also been sighted at the park. Nestled in the Sahyadri hills, Karnala is a popular picnic spot. It is categorized as an easy climb and even though some stretches of the trail can get tad difficult, this is a great place for an amateur to start trekking.
The sanctuary itself comprises moist deciduous forest and the forest department has made efforts to educate the visitors by tagging several trees inside the forest.
While it is a bird sanctuary, other forms wildlife also exist. Wild boars, langurs and rhesus monkeys are common here. There are four nature trails in the sanctuary. Though safe, it is advisable to hire local youths as guides for the long trails.
The trail leading to Karnala fort, also called Funnel Hill, is most popular. The 125-feet high basalt pillar at the center of the fort, sticks out like a thumb which earned it the nickname of Karnala ‘Thumbs Up’ point.
Karnala used to be a great rock-climbing destination but several bee hives have made it risky. The two distinct seasons for bird-watching are the monsoons (good for spotting the Malabar whistling thrush, the magpie robin and the paradise flycatcher) and winters (when you can spot the migratory birds) when the blue throat, the black headed cuckoo-shrike, the blue-headed rock-thrush, blackbird and the red breasted flycatcher flock to the sanctuary during winter.
BEST PLACES TO STAY NEAR KARNALA BIRD SANCTUARY
There is not much to do in the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. You wont need most than a few hours to see everything the park has to offer. Staying inside the sanctuary is neither necessary nor advisable. Staying at Panvel will be a better option. There are plenty of options when it comes to budget and mid-range options to fit your criteria.
BEST PLACES TO EAT NEAR KARNALA BIRD SANCTUARY
There are no options to eat inside the park. Visitors generally carry food and water. Kamat hotels and several other dhabas are located on the way to the sanctuary. If you’re planning to trek, make sure you carry at least two liters of water.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Karnala Bird Sanctuary is as given below. The best time to visit Karnala Bird Sanctuary is also specified.