If you are tired with the cacophony of urbanism and need a small break to venture to the land of birds and nature’s bounty, then Karnala Bird Sanctuary, which is just by the Mumbai-Goa Highway is an ideal place.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Karnala is just 12 kms from Panvel and one can see numerous species of birds all year round. Karnala was established as a sanctuary in 1968 because of consistent efforts of famous ornithologist Dr Salim Ali. Karnala bird Sanctuary is nothing less than a paradise for bird lovers, bird watchers, and ornithologists.
What To Experience In Karnala?
Karnala is famous as a birds’ haven, so you will surely come across hundreds of bird species. You visit any time of the day the sounds of birds will enchant you, even during the night the noise of nocturnal birds will thrill your mind.
The sanctuary has got its name from the Karnala Fort, which is located inside and hence a must visit place. The name Karnala is due to a big funnel-shaped rock inside the fort, which is called ‘karn’ in Marathi.
The sanctuary has 222 species of resident birds and some 46 migratory bird species visiting every year. Karnala has been notified as an Important Bird Area and the 12.11 sq. km region here is a protected area.
Among the bird species, some famous ones which you can sure spot are the Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet, White-cheeked Barbet, grey fronted green pigeon, Malabar Lark, Small Sunbird, and vigor’s Sunbird. There are also rare bird species like the 3-toed kingfisher, Ashy minivet, Malabar trogon, Rufous-bellied eagle, and Slaty-legged crane found in the jungles here. The sanctuary also has recorded hundred and fourteen species of butterflies. A leopard has also been spotted in Karnala.
The Karnala forest is rich in a variety of trees and plantations. In monsoons, the whole place is covered with lush green forest cover.
Karnala is also an interesting place for adventure seekers, who can go on nature trails and hikes here. The sanctuary offers some guided trails like Hariyali Nature Trail and Mortaka Trail. Those who enjoy trekking can climb the Karnala Fort Trail, which is not treacherous at all but amazingly beautiful. The Karnala Fort is a historic structure built in the 12th century located at height of 445 meters. In ancient days it was of strategic importance as a governing point for trade between Bhorghat and Mumbai.
When To Visit?
Karnala Bird Sanctuary can be visited all year round. The resident bird species are more visible during the monsoon months from June to October. It is also the season to enjoy trekking and trail walk in the sanctuary. The migratory birds are usually seen in the months from November to March. There is a nominal fee to be paid at the gate for entry to the sanctuary. No plastics are allowed inside, so be sure to not carry any.
How To Reach?
This Bird Sanctuary is just 55 kms away from Mumbai and can be easily reached using either public transportation or private cabs. One can take the Central Railways’ local trains to Panvel, which is 12 kms away from the sanctuary. Many autos, taxis, and buses are available from Panvel to reach Karnala. There are state transport buses from Mumbai, which go to Karnala. It is an easily accessible place and a one-day trip is quite sufficient. But in case you want to spend more days, then you can stay in any budget hotels in Panvel.
If you are a bird lover or simply want to enjoy melodious bird sounds over the noises of city life, then head to Karnala. Just a day visit to this sanctuary will freshen up your mind and your lungs as well.