Time to visit:
Mon – Sun
1 – 2 hrs. (suggested)
Nov to Feb
Dec to Jan
Summer: 30°C – 40°C
Winter: 20°C – 25°C
· Moderate Activity
Chorao Island is an island along the river Mandovi near Panaji. The Chorao Island was called Chudamani meaning stunning precious stone in Sanskrit. Legend says that the island emerged from the diamonds thrown away by Yashoda, Lord Krishna’s mother. The Islanders call it chodan or chodna. It was the Portuguese who called it Chorao. The Portuguese noblemen were the founders of the Chorao Island and created it as a pleasurable place to live. Thus, the place derived its name as Ilha Dos Fidalgos (Island of Noblemen).
Courtesy: Mackvin Fernandes
Chorao Island is the largest island among other 17 islands of Goa. The earliest settlers with the island had been 10 households of the Goud Saraswat Brahmins. The Chorao Island is attractive primarily because of its amazing flora and fauna. In the western part of the island, on an area of 178 hectares, the largest Salim Ali bird sanctuary is located. It is full of dense mangrove swamps and the best way to navigate is by a canoe. The Sanctuary is home to a variety of birds, animals and quite a few muggers the Goan crocodiles.
The Chorao village on the island is a small collection of mud and thatch houses and some exquisite Portuguese villas. There is also a small village Church. The road through this picturesque village finally leads to the crossing on the other side of the island which takes you to the famous Saptakoteshwar Temple at Narve.
The St Bartholomew church was erected in 1569 and founded by the Jesuits on this Island. The magnificent landmark reflects the grandeur of Mannerist Neo-Roman architectural style. The Chorao Island also preserves the traces of a very interesting ancient history, Indian Brahmin and Portuguese colonizers. The Island has several old houses, Catholic churches of the 16th century and dozens of Hindu temples. It is also well known that once the branch of famous University of Sanskrit and History of Literature was built on the territory of the Island.
One can reach the Chorao Island by taking a ferry from Ribandar which is around 6 km from Panaji. There is also a ferry linking Chorao to Pomburpa on the island’s west. One of the roads moves northwards to Mayem and Bicholim and the other road passes uphill by the majestic 16th century church of Sao Bartholomew.
There are several myths and legends associated with the Chorao Island. The most popular one of which goes to say that Goddess Yashoda- Mother of Lord Krishna threw a handful of diamonds in the sea. And out of one them, emerged the pristine the Chorao Island.
Entry Ticket- INR 50
Guide- INR 1000
Sprawling over 178 hectares of land area, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is not only the highlight of the island but is also the largest bird sanctuary in all of Goa. The sanctuary is inhabited with over 400 avifauna species, both local and migratory which include osprey, striated heron, red knot, pied avocet, brahmini kite and black bittern etc. Besides, it is infested with the very gorgeous mangrove forests that are a delight to the eyes. You can also spot other aquatic inhabitants here like crocodiles etc. The best time to visit the sanctuary is a few hours before sunset or in the very early morning, when the birds are the most active.
Chorao Island has a tiny hamlet that is a sleepy village which will transport you back in time. Here you can explore the mud hatch houses and cycle on the narrow ruddy pathways, or take a peek into the local lifestyle. Basically, you can cut yourself off from the outer world and spend a day or two in complete solitude and ataraxy. As the village was occupied by both the Portuguese and Indian Brahmins, you will find both churches and temples here.
St. Bartholomew Church
St. Bartholomew is one of the more popular tourist spots in the area. Boasting of neo-Roman architectural style, the church was built in 1569 by the Religious of the Society of Jesus.
Another attraction at the island is the ancient Bhagwati Temple that is enshrined by Goddess Bhagwati and is known to be around 500 years old. The presiding deity has eight hands and is called Astabhuja.
Winter Season that starts in October and goes up to March is the best time to visit the island as a lot of migratory birds gather at the island. The low tides also make it possible for the birds to leave their habitats and come to banks to drink water.
- Nearest Airport: Goa Airport
- Nearest Railway Station: Vasco Da Gama Railway Station
- Nearest Bus Station: Kadamba Bus Stand
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