Grade : Easy
Region : Panvel
Base village : Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Landmark : Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Number of Routes : 2
Highest Altitude : 1440 Feet (440m)
Trek Duration : 2.5 Hours to ascend, 2 hours to descend
Surrounding Peaks : Kalavantin and Prabalgad
Ideal Season : June to February (Monsoon months are good weather wise and Winter months for clear views)
Major Attarction :
Karnala Bird sanctuary at the base of the fort. The sanctuary covers an area of 4 km. More than 150 species of birds have been observed here.
Peaks within the Mountain :
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 in a ruined condition.
Water Sources : There is a water cistern at top of fort. which provides fresh water all the year. However water is not potable at times hence it is recommended to carry water from Base Village itself.
Special thing about structure/route :
Karnala fort has a thumb like structure.
Other Special thing :
There is a temple dedicated to goddess Bhavani located at the bottom of the fort. It is said that the goddess gave a sword to king Shivaji, which he then used to conquer a vast area of land for the establishment of a Hindu nation. Enter the bird sanctuary. From here two ways go to the top of the fort. The way to the right goes through the forest, whereas a more simple way goes to the left. As we proceed from the left, we reach to the temple of Karmaidevi in one and half hour.
History Info :
Ancient Name & Meaning (if any) :
The fort was likely constructed before 1400, under Devagiri Yadavs(1248–1318) and the Tughlaq rulers (1318–1347), Karnala was the capital of the north Konkan districts of their respective empires.
Brief War History :
It was a place of strategic importance since it overlooked the Bor pass, which connected the Konkan coast to the interior of Maharashtra on the main trade route between these areas.
- After Tughlaq rulers, Karnala 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 soldiers 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 Gujarat sultans fled to Vasai, surrendering the fort to the Portuguese. The loss of Karnala enraged Nizam Shah, who sent 5,000 men to reclaim the fort and the surrounding countryside. The attempt was unsuccessful, and the Portuguese continued to hold the fort. Deciding that the forts of Sangli and Karnala were of little strategic value, however, the Portuguese viceroy agreed to return them to Nizam Shah for an annual payment of Rs. 17,500 (or 5,000 gold Pardoas).
- Shivaji Maharaj conquered it from the Mughals 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.