Monday, August 26, 2013

U, Me and Karnala..!

This was supposed to be a Lavish weekend(going out to some resort and get pampered all the while). But Arohi had something else in her mind. On thursday she suddenly suggested that we can go to Karnala. I was surprised since she is usually a little reluctant for trekking, considering her adventures with both the knees over the past 15 months.

So we started at 9:00 AM from Mulund and went straight past Panvel to reach Kshanbhar Vishranti to have our breakfast. After a oil-rich breakfast of Thalipeeth and Misal, we headed to the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Thats where the real surprise started. There were allocated parking lots where we got one small place for our chariot. The next surprise was the entry booth. The cop(actually a forest guard) asked for an ID card to check my identity. He also noted my address and checked if the person on the ID was me ..!! This was by far the very first time that I was showing an ID card to climb a hill in Maharashtra. He charged us Rs 90, but also informed that we will have to pay Rs 10 more ahead. The third and a bigger surprise was still awaiting - immediately after the Rs 90 booth, we came across another set of cops who frisked us and checked our backpacks..!!!! (again a first time experience before climbing a hill). We were specifically asked by the Rs 10 booth that we should not throw plastics anywhere and we should not light any kind of fire.!!!!!!! Still more - they asked us to sign at one place in a large notebook where our details were also noted.


To add to the surprises, there was a small handwritten board - It displayed a list of about 20 odd individuals and the crime they committed in this protected area. Also mentioned were the charges that were recovered from them in due course. We went past the booths and started our journey. The very first section is a tar road walk of about half a kilometer to reach the base where there are some caged birds and a rabbit. The We walked past the board that said - way to Karnala fort and started climbing a gradual slope. The path is good and well trodden(though it is still a hilly path). At regular intervals, there are shades for intermediate breaks.

Langoors and other birds, insects keep making sure that there is no silence and it feels good to see thee very thick forest cover. After about an hour’s hike, we reached closer to the Fort. The Karnala pinnacle was not visible much due to the fog, but the view was sheer Romance..! Till now, I had missed one thing which I usually get to see at popular places -  plastic wrappers and bottles. We checked out some area around the fort and found it equally clean. There are some water tanks around the base of the pinnacle -  which are well covered by the forest guards with a safety grill..! (Awesome..!! ) 

Inspite of this, a group of a$$holes tried entering the grill and entered the caves. However they did not make too much of a noise and due to the fog, nobody really noticed them(until someone informed the security about them later). We saw a few places around and had a small brunch of biscuits and dates. Then was an elaborate photo session which was the best part of this day -  all greens and amazing pictures..! covered and uncovered by fog.

The crowd that had come to visit the fort was equally good. I mean no drunkards, no errants and Picnickers. most of them were maintaining the required silence and added to the tranquil. The forest department has taken enough care to write boards reminding people to stay away from throwing plastics and feeding the monkeys.

We started back and reached the base in about an hour and 15 mins. It rained a little during our descend and the route was wet all along making it a little slippery than before. At the base, we were greeted by the monkeys and local dogs. In a while we knew why the monkeys and dogs have come together -  Food and humans. A local group of ladies staying near the entrance booths serve a small canteen. We had pohe and tea to fill our screaming tummy. Although Arohi was scared of the monkeys, she later was even more scared of the dogs and hence we ate the Pohe even more quickly. ..!

This was our very first trek together(just the two of us..!) and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We started back towards home and were back at about 5:00 PM. Overall a good and clean experience at Karnala. Recommended place for a Green - simple - clean outing..!

Link to All Pictures:

Karnala Aug 2013 | Arohi and Ameya

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