Karnala Fort, Panvel

The Karnala Fort is also well-known by the name of ‘Funnel Hill’. The Karnala fort is now the ruins of the original fort on the hill-top in the district of Raigad, about ten kilometers from Panvel town. Amidst greenery and hills, this place is absolutely thrilling and enchants tourists with its breat taking view and the attractions inside. You can view birds as well as go for some adventurous trekking. This hill fort is often puzzled with the navel fort of Arnala near Virar.


Karnala Fort Map Photo

Karnala Fort Map

Karnala Fort Location and Directions

Karnala fort is located 55 km from Mumbai and 12 km from Panvel.

Nearest Airport : Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai.

Nearest Railway Station : Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai.

State transport offer buses that frequently ply from Mumbai and Pune to Raigad.

While driving, follow towards Sitaram Bhairu Lane which is south-west on LBS road then onto Station Road. Drive left onto Eastern Express Highway/NH 3 exiting to Priyadarshini Bridge. Keep following the signs to reach Karnala Fort from the bridge.

Karnala Fort History

The exact structural of this once-great fort is not known but it is likely that this fort was built before 1400 CE. The district of Karnala was the capital of Devagiri Yadavs (1248–1318) and also the Tughlaq rulers (1318–1347). Post them, the Gujarat Sultanate took control over this fort. It was seized by Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar during the year 1540. The Gujarat sultans asked for the assistance of the Dom Francisco de Menenzes, the then commanding officer of the Portuguese at Bassien, to re-capture the fort. Eventually the Gujerat Sultans won it back with the help of the Portuguese.

After the defeat Nizam Shah got furious.  He took back the fort and the surrounding countryside by sending 5,000 of his men. After a fierce battle the Fort was captured by the Portuguese, again .

Shivaji conquered it in the year 1670, from the Portuguese, by building fortifications as he progressed. It was taken over by Aurangzeb after Shivaji’s death, in the year 1680. In the year 1740 the Peshwas of Pune won the fort over the Mughals. Finally in the year 1818 British captured this fort while establishing their rule over India.

At present the fort is entirely protected by Karnala Bird Sanctuary.

Karnala Fort Picture

Karnala Fort

Karnala Fort Weather

Karnala experiences severe monsoons. It offers a humid summers and comfortable winters. So avoid visiting this place during the months of June, July and August.

Karnala Fort Attractions

Here is a virtual tour of the forest, the bird sanctuary and the entire grid of this tourist attraction.

Karnala Fort

The Fort houses 2 forts within its walls, one at a higher level and other lower. The location of this Fort has a strategic significance as it looks out on the Bor Pass, which connects the Konkan Coast to the heart of Maharashtra. It also served as being the trade route between these areas. At the heart of the once-grand-structure lies a 125 ft high basalt pillar known as the Pandu’s tower, functioning as the watchtower in periods. The top of this fort oversees the Prabalgad and Rajmachi towns.This There is a water cistern which provides fresh water throughout the year.

There are 2 inscriptions seen in the Fort, one in Marathi and the other in Persian. The Marathi inscription has no date and is seen on the lower leveled gate as well as inside. Those inscriptions can hardly be read anymore. The Persian writing is on upper leveled gate, reading “Syed Nuruddin Muhammad Khan, Hijri, 1147 AH” (1735 CE) and possibly dates back during the Mughal occupation of the fort.

This fort has many citadels and there is enough spacing between the two levels. The fortification has huge holes from where cannons were fired during the wars.

Images of Karnala Fort

Karnala Fort Image

Bird Sanctuary

The Sanctuary envelopes four square km of area. It is maintained by the Forest Department and has an entry fee Rs. 20. Migratory birds like blue throat,  blackbird, blue-headed rock-thrush and black-headed cuckoo-shrike flock this place during winters and mild summers. Just before the monsoon pours the district, Paradise Flycatcher, Ashy Rain War Blue, Magpie Robin, horn Bill, Owl and Malabar Whistling Thrush are seen free roaming in here.

Forest Dept sells honey from the this forest, at the counter, which is famed for its purity.


Karnala is popular among nature lovers, picnickers and trekkers love to come here. The small climb to the Karnala Fort from the bird sanctuary is adventurous during monsoons. One can see plenty of waterfalls, rich covering and thick flora that make the climb absolutely thrilling. The 3 kilometer climb can be easily completed it in less than 2 hours. View of the Sahaydri Mountains from the tops of the small climb is breath taking. Haji Malang as well as Matheran also comes within the visual range.

Flora and Fauna

The forest is marked by species such as kulu, koshimb, mango, asana, nana, kalam, umbar and teak on the upper levels of the altitude. The ecological condition of the area favors a large variety of bird population. The forests are also ideal as a shelter to wild animals. Interesting forms of wildlife like wild boar, muntjak, four-horned antelope and the common langur are also commonly seen in here. There are many nurseries in and around this Fort.

Shiva Temple and Bhavani Temple

A very celebrated Shiva temple is located in Ambarnath which is believed to be built by Manmuniraja of Shilahara dynasty during the 1060 AD. Both Vaishnavites and Shivaites offer their prayers in this shrine. Epic stories and themes related to Vaishanava and Shaiva puranas are inscibed on the exterior of this temple.

Photos of Karnala Fort

Karnala Fort Photo

The Bhavani Temple, also known as the Bhavani Khadageshwar Temple, is presided by Maa Bhavani. It is located at the peak of the hilly regions of Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Apart from Maa Bhavani, this temple is also frequented for the stone craved Buddhist caves and ample water cisterns near the surrounding areas.

Karnala Fort nearby Attractions

You can also tour around the the nearby attractions outside the Karnala Fort.

  • Jagadishwar Temple
  • Ganga Sagar Lake
  • Matheran
  • Lonavala
  • Prabalgad
  • Alibaug
  • Kihim
  • Kolad

Karnala Fort nearby Accommodation

There are a few modest accommodations in the town that comes in affordable price as well.

  • Kshanbar Vishranti
  • Rishi Garden Resort
  • K Star Woods Resort
  • Shalom Resort
  • Karnala Forest Guest House

Pictures of Karnala Fort

Karnala Fort Picture

Rejuvenate from your tiresome daily life and re-ignite the spark of adventure in you in this Fort.

Contact Details

For bookings related to trekking or any other queries please visit the official website of Maharashtra Tourism.


Written By  

Last updated February 6th, 2013

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