The island was later known as the Ilha dos Fidalgos (Island of Noblemen) because Portuguese noblemen lived on this largest of Goa’s seventeen islands. Islanders preferred to call it Chodan and Chodna; the Portuguese conquistadores later christened it Chorão. Lavish beauty lurks in the surging topography made up of very little flat horizon, except for the lush mangrove region harbouring the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Cut off from the mainland on all sides, bereft of bridges either to reach Bardez in the West or Ilhas in the South, the island sports a quaint 24 hour ferry service to and fro. Approaching the island from Pomburpa, one sees two-wheeler-borne boys and girls heading for the famous Mayem lake.
On the emerald island one road snakes northwards to Mayem and Bicholim. The other moves uphill to pass by the 16th century church of St Bartholomew. The magnificent landmark was erected in 1569 and remodelled in 1649.
One gets a ravishing birdseye view of the lay of land across hills, dales and rivers until the view melts in the blurring hilly distance, behind a church or a convent or cathedral dome. A masonary arch, erected in 1937 in honour of St Matheus Evangelist, leads to the larger-than-life statue of Christ the King, reigning from an altar built on a square platform.
The magical Chorão, a place embedded in natural grandeur and a rich heritage, is now home to the picturesque ‘Viva Chorão’ .