Karnala fort also called Funnel Hill is a hill fort in Raigad district about 10 km from Panvel city. Currently it is a protected place lying within the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. It was a fort of strategic importance as it overlooked the Bor pass which connected the Konkan coast to the interior of Maharashtra (Vidharba) and was the main trade route between these areas.
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. The presence of bee hives also makes it difficult to climb and have resulted in at least one casualty in recent times. There is a water cistern which provides fresh water all year long. From the top the forts of Prabalgad and Rajmachi are clearly visible.
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.
During the rule of the Devagiri Yadavs (1248 - 1318) and the Tughlaqs (1318 - 1347), Karnala served as the capital of the north Konkan districts of the respective empires. Later, the city was taken over by the Gujarat Sultanate, who then lost Karnala to the Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar in 1540. The Gujarat sultans then sought the help of the commanding officer of the Portuguese at Bassein to win it back, and recaptured it.
Later, a battle took place between the Nizam Shah and the Portuguese, in which the latter won. Karnala thus, came under the rule of the Portuguese; however, the fort of Karnala was given to the Nizam Shah by the Portuguese viceroy to nurture their friendship.
In 1819, the British East India Company established its rule in the region. Karnala was considered strategically important as it commanded the trade route between Bhor Ghat and the rivers of Panvel and Apta. The region was declared as a bird sanctuary by the Maharashtra Government in 1968.
District - Raigad
Height above mean sea level - 1410 feet.
Duration of trek - 1 day.
Time to reach the top - 1 and half hours.
Water/Food Availability -Water cisterns on top, for water in monsoons or just after.
Best season to visit - Anytime.
Sights to visit - Darwaja, fort remnants, cisterns, caves.
Difficulty Rating - Easy.
Endurance required - 2/5.
Shelter - None.
How to get there - Mumbai to Panvel by local train. From Panvel one can catch an S. T. bus to Karnala phata or hire a vehicle.
- There is accomodation provided at the base by government.
- The area is very well maintained and you are supposed to pay of deposit of the plastic you carry which is given back once you come back to the check post.
- There are two ways to take. One is a shorter 6km trek to the top, the other is a winding bird watching trail that joins the 6km trail in the middle and then leads to the top. The trek trail starts to the left of the main road, near a sign showing the way.
- The route is fairly easy and there are maps to guide you.
|Some monkeys near the start of the trail.|
|The start, there is an entry fee to go inside.|
|The trails which you can take are clearly shown on this map.|
|A little history.|
|The left turn for the trek. you can see my friends going that way.|
|The small flight of stairs to take to the fort.|