At a distance of 24.5 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand, 50 km from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station and 19 km from Mapusa, Chorao Island is situated in North Goa.
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).
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.