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Chorao Island, Goa Overview

Located at a distance of 5 km from the state capital Panaji, Chorao Island is the largest of the 17 islands present in Goa. Boasting of old world charm, dainty cottages and narrow muddy pathways, the island is a slice of heaven tucked away in time. The island has a very prominent Portuguese air about it which reflects in the architecture of its ancient white washed churches, solitary graveyards, picturesque Portuguese villas and dilapidated buildings. The highlight of the island however, is the very grand and notable Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary that accounts for major tourism boost in the region.

Also known as Chodan or Choddnnem, Chorao Island also has a flourishing vegetation of the mangroves forest and boast of a rich wildlife with diverse species of flora and fauna. Besides, the island also holds significant historical importance and is home to a number of Hindu Temples. However, it can only be reached through a ferry or a boat ride from the village of Ribandar as there are no roads leading to the place.

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Mythology of Chorao Island

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.

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at the Chorao Island

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
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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.

Other Things to Do at the Chorao Island

  1. Chorao Village

    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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bhagwati Temple

    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.

Best Time to Visit

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.

How to Reach

There are regular public buses that ply from Panaji to the village of Ribandar regular. You can take one of these to reach Ribandar from where you can take the jetty to the Chorao Island.

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