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My Memorable Visit to Karnala Bird Sanctuary

As an avid nature lover and birdwatcher living in Mumbai, I have visited many sanctuaries near the city. But my most memorable experience was at the Karnala Bird Sanctuary located just 60 km away in Raigad district.

I first heard of Karnala from my uncle who is also a passionate birdwatcher. He raved about spotting over 200 species of birds there, some endemic to the Western Ghats. That intrigued the explorer in me and I instantly added it to my must-visit list.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Reaching Karnala Sanctuary

Karnala Bird Sanctuary is easily accessible by road. One can take a bus from Panvel bus stand, merely 12 km away, and reach in less than 30 minutes. The sanctuary remains open from 7 am till 3 pm so I prefer to start early.

The refreshing drive through semi-evergreen forest builds up anticipation of what's to come. A short trek leads me to the entrance gate. The tickets are priced reasonably at ₹30 per person.

A Paradise for Bird Lovers

At first glance, the sanctuary looks deceivingly tiny spanning just 12 sq km. But over 3 hours of explorations reveal its stunning biodiversity.

The dense forest comes alive with the chatter of colorful endemic birds like the Malabar Grey Hornbill, Small Sunbird, and Vigors Sunbird. I spot kingfishers, eagles, and parakeets perched on trees hunting for prey. Migratory birds escape the winter and flock here in large numbers.

The showstopper is the magnificent White-Bellied Sea Eagle soaring across the sky over the lake. Witnessing the aerobatic display by these majestic raptors is truly a magical experience.


Oh, The Thrill of the Karnala Fort Trek!

However, the highlight of my trip was undoubtedly the breathtaking trek to the summit of Karnala Fort located right inside the sanctuary premises.

The 2-hour uphill climb along the steep staircase winds through dense forests and rocky terrain. My legs ache but the enveloping silence broken only by chirping birds keeps me enchanted.

As I stand atop the historic 12th-century funnel-shaped fort, a sweeping panorama leaves me spellbound. The emerald stretches of the forest, undulating hills, and Mumbai skyline - all paint a postcard scenery. It fills me with child-like wonder and joy.

Sanctuary's Promising Future

Designated an Important Bird Area, Karnala Bird Sanctuary plays a pivotal role in the conservation of endangered species in the Western Ghats.

While threats of urbanization loom large, awareness campaigns by non-profits offer hope. With improving protection laws and community support, the native flora and fauna continue thriving in this protected paradise.


Conclusion

As an awe-inspiring getaway just outside the concrete jungles of Mumbai, Karnala Sanctuary offers the perfect refuge to nature lovers like me. The sheer wilderness here rejuvenates my senses and I relish every minute.

I urge all city folks to escape into its magical world.

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