Nature lover’s paradise – Karnala Bird Sanctuary & trek to Karnala Fort, Maharashtra

Karnala bird sanctuary Panvel

Karnala Bird Sanctuary, near Panvel, is a paradise for nature lovers wanting to spend a peaceful day amidst lush greens. Just before the coronavirus outbreak, we visited this popular tourist spot in January 2020. What a memorable trip it was. We not only explored the bird sanctuary but also trekked up to the Karnala fort and touched the Thumb Mountain, literally!

Karnala bird sanctuary is best visited in winter if you plan to trek to the fort. Although, in the past, we had visited this place in monsoon and the beauty was irresistible. Little waterfalls, thick greens, and colorful butterflies make you pause and just revel in the beauty. Add to it, the beautiful singing of birds, and the ambiance becomes breathtaking. In fact, we saw a peacock opening feathers and dancing. That was the only time I ever saw this mesmerizing dance.

While in winters too, you can spot quite a few exotic birds, provided you stay patient. Besides, the sanctuary also displays a few birds on its premises. After spending a day at the Go Green Nursery, India’s first every garden mall, we made our way to the Karnal Bird Sanctuary.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary Trek –Points to remember

Karnala fort trek is worth taking at least once if you are a trekking lover. For beginners, this trek would seem a little difficult. It takes a little more than an hour to reach the Karnala Fort. Situated approx. at 1500 ft., it is an easy trek with just a few difficult rocky climbs, as wet rocks make the route slippery. There are quite a few trails that you can trek; the best is the Karnala Fort Trail if you wish to climb up. We somehow missed the trail and took a different route, which made the trek a little longer and harder too! However, it was worth an uphill climb as the view from the top was mesmerizing.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary Trek – Start early

If you plan to trek all the way to the Karnala fort, you should start, as early in the morning as the trek is a little challenging, especially if you have been out of form. We trekked with our four-year-old and we had a time of our life. While she is an outdoor enthusiast and cooperates well, after a point, she started to throw tantrums, as she was tired of walking the steep rocks.

My husband had covered this trek in the past and was adamant that we finish it, and so we did!

Karnala Fort Trek – Beware of monkeys on the way

Monkeys are a regular sight in and around the vicinity of Karnala bird sanctuary. They might intimidate you and make you want to turn around, but do not fret and venture ahead. Remember, not to keep loose packets of chips or any food item in your hands; these monkeys are good at snatching stuff. The best is to carry a backpack. Carry essentials only as you would not want to load your bag while climbing. Water bottles, dry snacks, etc. would suffice. Also, do not litter the surroundings, it is so beautiful and we should not rob its beauty with ugly chip packets or mineral water bottles.

Essential things to carry:

  • Water bottles
  • Trekking shoes (Psst… we randomly decided to trek so no proper trekking shoes :P)
  • Hat/Cap, Goggles,
  • Rainwear (if trekking in monsoon)
  • Dry snacks/dry fruits
  • Masks, Gloves, Hand Sanitizers

Other key information:

Karnala bird sanctuary timings: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Entry fee: Rs. 35, Camera charges: Rs. 100

Karnala bird sanctuary official website: Karnala Bird Sanctuary (

Karnala bird sanctuary best time to visit: July to August & October to February.