Karnala Bird Sanctuary : A Day Visit

Karnala Fort

Just some 50km from Mumbai, on the old Mumbai – Goa Highway lies a little piece of heaven, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Notified in 1968, it has thankfully grown from some 4.45 sq km to some 12 sq km now.

For some of us, the ever growing concrete all around can become suffocating and a quick break is very much needed. Being so close to Mumbai, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary is one such place. The sanctuary is made of the beautiful forests on the hill around the Karnala Fort, which is at an altitude of some 445 meters above sea level.

They say the fort was built before 1400 AD in the rule of the Devagiri Yadava Dynasty. Over a period of time the Karnala Fort changed hands from the Devagiri Yadavas to the Tughlaq rulers, then from Gujarat Sultanat to Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar and back to Gujarat Sultanat with the help of the Portugese, who later handed it back to Nizam Shah for an annual lease. Thereafter, it was conquered by Shivaji, the great Maratha ruler, in around 1670. After his death, the Karnala Fort was taken over by Aurangzeb. By 1740 or so, the Peshwas of Pune took over the fort. It remained with them until the British conquered it in 1818. I wonder in all these years what kind of structural and design changes the fort must have undergone, with such diverse people ruling it. I am sure if I dig hard enough in the old libraries, there must be some paintings and references to the Karnala Fort somewhere.

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Kaas Plateau : Valley Of Flowers

Kaas Plateau Valley of Flowers

Sometime in 2009, we were driving through rural Maharashtra searching for a location for a film shoot. Near Satara, along an unknown hill road, we noticed large patches full of yellow wildflowers. Pleasantly surprised by this phenomenon, we took photographs and moved on. Around 3/4 years later we learnt the location was Kaas Plateau and … Read more

Jhalana : Leopard Sanctuary Inside Jaipur

If there’s one place where you are most likely to spot a leopard, it’s Jhalana Leopard Sanctuary. And it’s right inside the City of Jaipur. Jaipur is a beautiful city to travel to in its own right. With fabulous havelis, palaces, shopping opportunities, food, culture and plenty of heritage. In the middle of all of … Read more

Khem Villas : A Luxury Stay In Ranthambhore

For us, forests are not just about sighting tigers. They are also about the beautiful trees, the grasses, the birds, the reptiles, other mammals… and of course being in touch with the forest itself. Not many places allow this, while giving you the comfort and good food you need. Khem Villas in Ranthambhore National Park … Read more

Chikmagalur : A Dreamy Misty Coffee Heaven

Misty trails in Chikmagalur

I never thought, for some reason, that I would like Chikmagalur, having been to Madikeri earlier. And I was more than happy to be proven wrong. Located in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri Hills, Chikmagalur has a mild climate suitable for coffee plantations. Nestled amongst the hills and valleys of the fabulous Western Ghats, Chikmagalur … Read more

Chambal River Safari : Looking For Ghariyals

Chambal River Safari

Not far from Ranthambhore National Park, barely some 60km away is the magnificent Chambal River, famous for its ravines and once considered the land of dacoits. If you are around, do make it a point to go for the Chambal River Safari, looking for migratory and resident birds, the critically endangered Ghariyal (Gavialis gangeticus), the … Read more

Visiting Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Thanks to the screening of our film ‘Bachelor Girls’ in San Francisco and Oakland, we were traveling in California. And no trip to California is complete without visiting its fabulous outdoors with Yosemite National Park on top on our list. Yosemite National Park lies in the Western part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the … Read more

Sequoia National Park: In The Snow

Sequoia Tree Trunk

One of our main excitement for visiting Yosemite National Park was getting to see  the Giant Sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganticum). These beautiful trees can grow to over 300 feet in height and about 30 feet in diameter, making them the largest living things by volume! And they are only found in select groves (most of … Read more

Lone Pine, California : A Gorgeous Town In The Mountains

Serendipity plays a huge part in traveling, and perhaps that’s what leaves you with a good feeling after a travel. We discovered Lone Pine, California, out of sheer good luck. From Los Angeles we wanted to visit the Death Valley National Park. After much searching, we couldn’t find any place inside the park, since everything … Read more