Chorão Island Entry Fee
- No entry fee
Chorão Island Phone
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Chorão Island Address: Chorao, Goa, 403102, India
Not many think of Goa as a place for island hopping. However, you will be surprised to know that this tiny state in India is home to 17 major islands. Of these, the largest is Chorão Island. Also known as Chodan, this river island lies on the Mandovi River.
Sometimes called Choddnnem, Chorão Island has a local population of about 5,345. While Konkani is its official language, Chorãocars also speak English and Portuguese, thanks to its deep historical connection with Portugal.
History Behind Chorão Island
There is a history behind the name of Chorão Island which traces its roots to the ancient language of Sanskrit. The name was derived from ‘chuddamonnim’ which is an amalgamation of headgear and necklace.
The Portuguese colonized this island from 1510 to 1961 and it was known as ‘Ilha dos Fidalgos’ which means ‘island of noblemen’. As evidenced by this name, the Portuguese noblemen dwelled on this island for over 400 years.
The anthropological mix of the island goes back to the 4th century B.C. when the Indo-Aryans migrated to Goa. This time period until the 4th century A.D. is also known as the ‘Christian Era’ which marked ‘The First Wave’ of immigration to the island.
It is said that 10 Shenvi Brahmin families initially settled on Chorão Island which was also popular during that time as a place of pilgrimage and was often called ‘Mahakshetra’ or ‘Great Country’.
This island saw its first church in 1552 as the population was Christianized by the Jesuits. By 1582, the entire island was a follower of Roman Catholicism.
Chorão Island Timings and Entry Fee
There is no timing restriction or entry fee to visit the island of Chorão. Chodnekars offer many homestays to travelers who wish to stay on this island for a longer period of time or take a working holiday. The only price you pay here is for your accommodation, meals and entry to the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary which is located here.
Interesting Facts About Chorão Island
There is some trivia about this river island that only adds to the beauty and charm of exploration:
- Chorão Island is home to a ruined fort – Saint Bartholomew Fort. Also known as ‘Fortaleza de São Bartolomeu de Chorão’, this was one of two fortresses that were built to protect the island from any advances from the Marathas.
- The island used to produce ripened cheese in the 16th century. Made from dairy cattle, this European-style cheese was called ‘queijo da Ilha de Chorão’ in Portuguese. During its heydays, Chorão cheese was exported even to far eastern countries.
However, the cheese industry on this island collapsed in the 19th century after the local cheesemakers emigrated.
- The island is made of 3 villages which were formerly known as comunidades. While the southern village was named Chorão after the island itself, the village of Caraim or Caroi is in the northeast and the village of Ambelim is in the northwest.
- The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on the island sprawls across 178 hectares and is home to more than 400 species of local and migratory avifauna. The national park charges an entry fee of only INR 10 per person. Apart from birds, one will also find crocodiles in the state’s largest bird sanctuary.
Some birds that can be sighted here are western reef heron, pied avocet, striated heron, little bittern, jack snipe, black bittern and red knot. You’ll also find mudskippers and porcelain fiddlers here.
Established in 1988, the mangrove in Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary can be explored on foot by following the paved walkway inside. It’s possible to visit this bird sanctuary every day from 6 AM to 6 PM. Some of the interesting species of flora that you will see here are Avicennia officinalis and Rhizophora mucronata.
- Chorão was also home to a castle once upon a time. As per Jose Nicolau da Fonseca’s sketch, the castle was enclosed within the walls of ‘Fortaleza de São Bartolomeu de Chorão’.
How to Reach Chorão Island
Chorão Island is located in the district of North Goa and the sub district of Ilhas de Goa. There are various ways to arrive on this island that sits at an altitude of 8 meters above sea level:
By Air: Both the Manohar International Airport in Mopa and the Dabolim Airport are 35 km away from the island and it takes 1 hour to cover this distance by a rental car.
By Train: The closest railway station to Chorão Island is Karmali at which 52 trains halt. Since this railway station is hardly 7 km away from the island, it only takes 20 minutes for the transfer.
By Bus: There are very few bus stops on Chorão Island. If you arrive in Goa via an overnight bus that stops at Panjim, the quickest way to reach the island is by going to the Raibandar Ferry Terminal from where you will have to cross the Mandovi River via ferry to the Chorao Ferry Terminal.
By Car: It is possible to bring your car to Chorão Island via ferry which can even transport light motor vehicles. Once on the island, explore the borders of this isle by driving around the Chorão Island Ring Road. Cars are also available on rent from the top car rental companies in Goa in case you do not wish to bring your own car to Goa.
By Bike or Scooty: When it comes to scooty rentals, there are currently no providers on Chorão Island itself. However, you can easily rent a two-wheeler somewhere near the island and ferry it across to help you discover this river island at your own pace.
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