Trek To Karnala

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The rain god had eluded us for most part of this monsoon. But it was raining heavily last Sunday i.e. 18th of Aug and apparently we had a leave on Monday for the festival of Eid. Such pleasant atmosphere and I was sitting at home doing nothing. This waste of time was making me impatient. So I asked my friends about a trek on the next day! Hemant and Anand could not make it. But Prasad and Sachin agreed.  I had suggested Karnala, since it is around 80-90kms from Vasai. Both of them were fine with it 🙂

Karnala trail

Prasad and Sachin on our way through the forest

We started on our regular time at 5:30 in the morning reaching the foothills in a couple of hours! We had assumed that this would be a very small trek and if we start early on time, we would be back home by lunch. But this was not to be. Most of the nearby hotels/stalls were still to open. We had to go further almost four kilometers to find a hotel for our breakfast. Thus loosing valuable time, we could only start our trek by around 9:00.

Karnala steps to fort

Sachin, standing at one of the entrance to the fort

It is actually a small trek, but we took our time while going up. Chit-chatting and taking occasional breaks. The area is a protected forest and comes under the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. The authorities warn all the visitors against littering around in the forest. The forest is quite dense. The trail starts from western side of the fort leading to a long ridge. Both the Eastern and the Western side of the fort is visible from the ridge. A long walk along the ridge leads us to the main fortification. After a couple of treaky rock patches we reached the main fort. It has two main bastions. The main one has a 125 ft high rock pillar which emerges as the highest peak in the surrounding area and was ideal was being used as watch tower. There are few water cisterns below the tower. The second bastion is at lower height than the first one. The view from the pinnacle is breath taking. Standing on the pinnacle, one can have a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. This fort was used to keep a watch on the ancient trade route passing through Bhor ghat to the port at Karanja.

After having spent some time on the top, we started descending and reached the base in an hour. Starting the trek early has its own advantage. First of all, we were able to avoid the mid noon heat while climbing. Secondly, when we reached the pinnacle, it was just three of us over there at that time. We had the luxury of enjoying the calmness in the dense forest, which other wise gets disturbed by noisy visitors. Where as, while descending there were many groups and families who were starting the trek/ picnic!

It took us another 2 hrs to reach home. What a fruitful way to spend the morning. This is probably the shortest time we had taken for a trek and coming back until now, but could not make it until the lunch time though 🙂

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