Tuesday, April 17, 2007
KARNALA Barely a hundred kilometers from Mumbai is an amazing spot, which is a haven for bird watchers, picnickers, rock climbers, weekend hikers and Fort spotters. At a distance of about ten kilometers from Panvel on the Mumbai Goa highway, it has become quite a popular getaway for Mumbaikars who wish to unwind during the weekend. There are plenty of options available for those who wish to stay overnight too. I went there on Saturday evening and stayed at Hotel Karnala, which is about three kilometers from the sanctuary. As a matter of fact the owner happens to be one of the oldest hotelier or restaurateur in the area. Hotel Karnala offers the basic room with a bathroom with/without aircon at very reasonable rates. He will even organize to drop you and pick you up again on request from the sanctuary. Early on Sunday morning I started trekking up to the Karnala fort, which is at height of 445m above sea level. As per the board at the base, which gives all the details, the distance to cover to reach the fort is three kilometers. It took me around one and a half hour to reach the top. Believe me every minute was worth the effort for the views all around, accompanied by birdsong interspersed by hooting of the owls. Unfortunately I am not very familiar with the avian species; otherwise the experience would have been so much richer. I intend doing some homework on that score before going there again. The thumb shaped rock on top of the Fort is a landmark that can be viewed from a distance, and is used by rock climbers for their adrenalin rush! Having reached the top was my thrill pill and the views that it afforded were spectacular. I have tried to capture as much as I could on the basic digicam that I have, to share the wonderful moments of a thrilling morning. Enjoy!