|Karnala Bird Sanctuary|
Public Transport : We had gone using public transport.We assembled at Panvel station on Mumbai's suburban harbour line. The trekkers arrived from various parts of Mumbai. After the initial introduction, we were all off to Karnala bird sanctuary via local auto rickshaws that carried around 6-7 passengers. It cost us around Rs 10.00 per seat. The frequency reduces after 6 pm. So, one is advised to wrap up ASAP and mostly you be able to wrap up as well. On the way, we stopped over at Dutta Wada Pav centre. It is the famous wada pav centre, which is "the eatery" of anyone who is in for a long drive on Mumbai-Goa road. After having a good breakfast, we were back on the road to Karnala bird sanctuary.
Entrance : Within 15-20 minutes we were at the entrance of Karnala bird sanctuary. There was a huge parking lot present. The entry fees to the sanctuary was around Rs. 20. One thing good about Karnala was, the authorities were keen to preserve the nature. If one had to carry a plastic bottle one had to make a deposit of Rs. 50 and register in their log near the entrance.The deposit would be returned only if you manage to get the plastic bottle on your way back. Quite a neat and effective way to ensure no throwing of plastic.
At the base of the fort :
|Goddess Karnai temple|
The final ascent :
The climb to the fort from the base of the fort was slightly tricky one. On one side was earth and on the other side there was a free fall. Although, it wasn't dangerous, one could only fall back to the base of the fort. That's when the organizers stepped in. They placed their volunteers at strategic places, so as to help fellow trekkers valuable support. Even at the entrance, it was their volunteers who stood there and gave hand to every trekker to get in. And there we were, one by one each of the trekkers entered the Karnala fort.
Within the fort : After passing through a series of openings, with a little jumps here and there, we were in front of the central structure of the fort, which was a tall pillar like structure, always known as pinnacle. In olden days, it was used as the watch tower. Climbing on the pinnacle was not allowed, as it is said to have taken lives of the climbers. There were two water holes right next to the pinnacle. One must acknowledge our ancestors, every fort you go, how they used to store water in indigenous but enterprising ways. To pass from one section of the fort to other one had to pass through a corridor, with free falls on both sides. The wind were a lot stronger in those corridors, which made it difficult to pass from one section to the other. There was an open space at the far end of the fort. Most of us went to the other end. It was an open & plain land, we had our lunch there. We spent rest of the afternoon relaxing on the plains, where as some of the more enthusiastic lot continue to take more pictures, explored places around the fort.