Karnala is 120 km from Pune and 13 km from Panvel. Between Pune and Panvel lies the Fort Karnala.

Just 10 km off the busy Mumbai-Pune highway a sign welcomes visitors to the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. As the road winds up a little ghat on Mumbai-Goa highway, travel-weary visitors feel a sudden freshness in the air as they enter this pocket-sized Eden.

Karnala is dominated by a fort, which rises up from the sanctuary at its base. The sanctuary is around 82 ft high from the sea level. On a clear day, the Mumbai coastline, 30 km away is absolutely visible from the peak of the fort. To the east of the fort, on the bank of the River Patalganga, is village Apte, on the west is Ransai while on the north is Vichwan. The whole area is lush green and rich with natural habitation of various birds like Red Vented, Bulbul, Horn Bill, Myna, Owl, Robin McPie and many others.

The fort of Karnala and its steep rocks have always been a challenge for trekkers. Its close proximity to Mumbai makes Karnala an ideal spot for a one-day picnic. During the monsoons, the pathway leading to the pinnacle of the fort is almost permanently wreathed in wisps of cloud and mist, giving you an absolutely exhilarating feeling.

Karnala fort actually consists of two forts one at a higher level and other lower. At the centre of the higher level is a 125 feet high basalt pillar. It is also called Pandu's tower. This structure was used as watchtower when the fort was occupied however now it is a ruined condition.

The fort has two inscriptions one in Marathi and the other in Persian. The Marathi inscription which has no date is seen on the lower gate on the inner side. Its words are indecipherable. The Persian writing is on upper gate reads "Syed Nuruddin Muhammad Khan, Hijri, 1147 AH (1735 CE) and probably dates from the Mughal occupation of the fort.

Location info:

Address:120 km from Pune and 13 km from Panvel
District: Raigad
Nearest City: Panvel
Best time to visit: November to February


Pleasant & Humid


Its exact date of formation is not known but likely it predates 1400 CE as under the Devagiri Yadavs(1248- 1318) and under the Tughlaq rulers(1318-1347), Karnala was the capital of the north Konkan districts of their respective empires. It later fell under the command of the Gujarat Sultanate but in 1540 was taken over by Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar. The Gujarat sultans then requested the help of the Dom Francisco de Menenzes the commanding officer of the Portuguese at Bassien(modern day Vasai) to win it back. He ordered 500 of his solidiers to Karnala fort and they were able to capture it. The fort was left in charge of the Gujarat Sultanate but with Portuguese garrisons.

The loss of Karnala enraged the Nizam Shah and he took back the fort and the surrounding countryside by sending 5,000 of his men. The Gujarat sultans fled to Vasai in panic and gave up any claims of the fort to the Portuguese. In the subsequent battle between the Nizam Shah and the Portuguese, the latter were victorious in repulsing further attacks of the Nizam Shahi army and the fort remained with the Portuguese. However the Portuguese Viceroy determined that the forts of Sangli and Karnala were of little value to them and decided to give them to the Nizam Shah for an annual payment of Rs. 17,500(or 5,000 gold pardoas) to further their friendship.

Shivaji conquered it from the Portuguese in 1670 by building breastworks as he advanced. After his death in 1680 it was taken over by Aurangzeb. After this the Mughals occupied it for some time after which it in 1740 with the rise of the Peshwas of Pune it went to them. It remained under the command of killedar(garrison commander) Anantrao until a colonel Prother won the fort and established the rule of the British East India Company there in 1818.


Interesting things to do:

  • Karnala is a bird watcher's paradise and even the casual picnicker is rewarded with sights of colourful bird species.
  • The fort of Karnala and its steep rocks have always been a challenge for trekkers so u can trek the place.

Interesting things to Visit:

  • Karnala bird sanctuary.
  • Karnala Fort

Mobile range info:

How to reach?

Nearest Railway Station:Panvel (13 km)
Nearest Airport:Mumbai (49 km)
Road Transport:49 km Mumbai.Mumbai-Pune highway

Nearest Visiting places:

  • Alibag.
  • Murud-Janjira.

Nearest Petrol Pump:


  • Nil Kamal Hotel
  • Utsav Hotel
  • Mamta Hotel
  • Woods Resort

Things to carry:

  • Better to carry binoculars.
  • Ideal for adventure sports at Karnala fort.
  • Ideal for one day Picnic.

Tips & Suggestions:

Help Line/Phone Number:

Police Station:100

Nearest Hospital:

  • Rege Hospital
  • Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital
  • Shreyas Hospital
Society/Community Phone Number