Location: Karnala, Tal. Panvel, Dist. Raigad, Altitude 469 m, hike from the base 400 m.
Things to see:
The fort is part of the Karnala bird sancturay. The surrounding jungle has more than 100 bird species if one observes keenly and silently. It is famous for its 50 m high rock on the summit. The fort offers views of jungles in the surrounding hills, urban sprawl of Mumbai metropolis in the west, and Sahyadri mountains in the east especially notable is Nagphani or Duke's Nose. One can also view of Malanggad, Matheran and Chanderi fort in the north. There is one cave with water storage. The entrance is carved in black rock and has some stone sculptures. There are some two inscriptions on stone. First is in Marathi at the first entrance and second is in Persian at the second inner gate.
From the structure of the fort it has been inferred that the fort was build at some time in 13th century. Then it changed hands from local Hindu kings to Nizamshah of Ahmednagar. It was won by Maratha forces of Shivaji in 1660's. After Shivaji it has changed its ownership to Mughals then Peshvas, Angres and then again to Peshvas before getting into the hands of British in 1818 when Col. Prather's forces won this fort.
The Karnala sanctuary is visited by many tourists during the weekends due to its easy access. Not many visit Karnala fort. The place has great scope to get developed into an ecotourism destination. The fort is of course in urgent need of restoration. In the fort the high rock which is an attraction of the place has many rock bee colonies and one has to be aware of them and take care not to disturb them. The Karnala area has been a site for a famous Marathi movie Jait Re Jait.
How to reach:
With your own vehicles:
Mumbai/ Pune- Panvel- Karnala (13 km from Panvel on NH-17, Mumbai- Goa highway)
Goa- Mahad- Pen- Karnala
With Public transport:
Mumbai/ Pune- Panvel- Karnala (by ST buses, direct buses available from Mumbai, take those buses which go beyond Panvel on Goa route)
Nearby Places for stay:
It has some forest rest houses. Panvel has some lodges and on Goa highway there are some good resorts nearby.