Set amid the Sahyadri mountain range, Chorla Ghat is an enchanting tourist destination with its wet lush green forests, roaring waterfalls and water laden streams. A tropical forest and an ecotourism destination, it is located at the intersection of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
Situated about 50 km from Panjim, the capital of Goa, the ride to Chorla Ghat (Sattari Taluka) is charming as you pass by green rice fields, sparkling lakes and quaint old bridges.
But Chorla’s history is no less interesting than its scenic landscape and rich biodiversity. The name Chorla is derived from the word ‘chor’, which means thief. And Chorla means ‘of thieves’, suggesting that it was a hideout for thieves during British Rule.
Locals say that after the passing of the Thuggee and Dacoity Suppression Acts, 1836–48, thugs and thieves began to take refuge in the dense forests of Chorla, giving the place its name.
Chorla was the gateway to Kolhapur and Bijapur during the colonial rule given its strategic location.
It is also home to the 300-year-old Sada Fort, which is said to have been built by Desai Sardar, a soldier in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s army. The fort was regularly visited by Shivaji’s sons -- Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj and Rajaram Maharaj – to keep a vigil on Chorla and surrounding areas.
Sada Fort was captured by Tipu Sultan for three days.
Global Biodiversity Hotspot
At an elevation of 2,600 feet, this region is part of the Western Ghats landscape and is regarded as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot. A Nature Conservation Facility has been established at Chorla Ghat for research and long-term monitoring of the Western Ghats of the Sahyadris region and their biodiversity.
The ghat is part of the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and is home to hundreds of species of exotic flora and fauna.
Rainforests around Chorla Ghats have been declared as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. Rare wildlife and bird species are found in abundance, making it a treat for nature lovers and bird watchers.
Some of the species found here are Malabar whistling Thrush, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Indian Pitta, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Loten’s sunbird, Crimson backed sunbird, White Cheeked Barbet, and Nilgiri Flycatcher.
At least 257 species of butterflies are found in the sanctuary. Among the species found here are the southern birdwing, the largest butterfly in South India, striped tiger, common jezebel, common Indian crow, blue tiger and blue Mormon.
The animals seen in the sanctuary include the tiger, Indian Black Panther, sloth bear, barking deer, sambhar, leopard, mongoose, civet, jungle cat, mouse deer, flying squirrel, Indian pangolin, slender loris and bonnet macaque.
The amphibian species found in the sanctuary are the marbled ramanella and Maharashtra bush frog, both of which are endangered, Beddome’s leaping frog and the Malabar gliding frog.
A variety of snakes are found in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, among them the Indian Krait, Russel’s viper, king cobra, kukri, Beddome’s keelback, black slender coral, brahminy blind snake, common bronze back, Indian cat snake, common sand boa, common wolf snake, copper headed trinket, green put viper, python and ornate flying snake.
Apart from the wildlife sanctuary, the other attraction is the Anjunem Dam located on the Sanquelim-Belgaum highway. The dam has greenery all around and exudes a mystic charm.
The dam is near Vagheri Hill, one of Goa's highest peaks. There are two natural lakes near the dam which are locally referred to as swimming pools carved by nature.
Mhadei Sanctuary boasts several waterfalls. A trek to the twin Vajra Sakla waterfalls is an unforgettable experience. The waterfall cascades down into the Mhadei River. The terrain is steep and can be tricky, especially during the monsoons. But the view of the forests from the top of the waterfalls is stunning and well worth the effort.
Another spot is the peak of Lasni Temb which is popularly known as the trekker's paradise. The dense, dark forest trails are lined with damp wood and glow in the dark due to the presence of bio-luminescent fungus. Trekking on the trails, one will see a variety of butterflies, and chirping birds and feel the bracing winds.
So, if you are in the mood for leisure and want a vacation amid lush nature, then Chorla Ghat is the perfect place.