Explore Karnala: The Hermitage of Colourful Birds & Butterflies!
Sometimes all you need is a li’l splash of colour to brighten up your mundane life! Exploring new places is always fun & especially so when a meeting has been arranged with a variety of bright colourful birds & butterflies! Interested? Then the place we are talking about is not far away!
Karnala Bird Sanctuary, located near Panvel, is the perfect heaven for Birdwatchers & nature lovers! The kids will especially love the colourful fluttering butterflies which are in abundance here.
The sanctuary is a hermitage for 222 species of birds & 114 species of butterflies! Many migratory bird species flock here during the early summers, post monsoons or winters & are a sight to watch!
Some notable birds easily spotted here are the Grey-fronted Green-pigeon, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Blue-winged Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Lark, Small Sunbird and Vigor’s Sunbird! If lucky, you may also spot rare birds like the Ashy Minivet, three-toed kingfisher, Malabar trogon, Slaty-legged Crane, and Rufous-bellied Eagle! While a day trip is sufficient to enjoy the sanctuary, there are other activities in the vicinity which can be enjoyed too, like:
Bird watching at Karnala Bird Sanctuary requires ample of patience & a little knowledge of the Bird sightings. It’s good to visit with those who are expert bird watchers or carry along a book which provides information on various bird species. Many birds have been kept in cages for the visitors to see before they recover (if injured) & fly off again. It is advisable to carry along a pair of good binoculars & camera to spot the birds in the dense forests & truly enjoy what the place has to offer!
Manikgad or Prabalgad Trek:
Avid trekkers & adventure lovers can combine Karnala with a trek to Manikgad or Prabalgad, both of which are within 15kms from the sanctuary. The forts are old Maratha heritages & offer amazing views from the top. Both the forts have dangerously steep climbs & only experienced trekkers should try the climbs.
The fort is situated right in middle of the bird sanctuary & is a favorite climb for trekkers. There are two routes up, one easy & another tough. Beginners should stick to the easy route as the tough one is a steep climb & can be slippery in monsoons. The views from the top are beautiful & more so in monsoons!
Yusuf Meherally Centre:
It is an NGO working towards the rural upliftment of people in surrounding villages. Here you can buy some uniquely beautiful pottery, handicrafts items, candles, soaps etc made by the locals. The initiative is a voluntary organization to provide jobs to the villagers & should be wholeheartedly supported by city dwellers.
Bird watching is an acquired hobby & many of us are unaware of the natural treasures of our feathered friends that India holds. Karnala Bird Sanctuary is the perfect spot to make ourselves & the kids aware of the beautiful world of birds & butterflies. It is thus a perfect spot for an outing as well as a learning experience!
How to Reach Karnala:
Karnala lies on Mumbai-Pune highway, near Panvel. It is easily accessible by both rail & road. Nearest railway station is Panvel.
Where to Stay:
Panvel has many accommodation options in nearby areas. Karnala & nearby villages also offer some unique stay experiences on farms. There are also some resorts & agrotourism centres for tourists in the vicinity.
Best Time to Visit:
Monsoons & winters are the best time to visit Karnala as the temperatures are ideal for outing & many migratory birds fly in/out during this season.