Amidst the forest of Chorla Ghats

Forests are beautiful and its dwellers are even more. So is the Chorla Ghats. Situated at the intersection of three states of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka provides an excellent opportunity for rejuvenation. This was our much-anticipated nature and wildlife watching tour.

Walking trail through the forest
Walking trail through the forest

With loads of eagerness and excitement, we set off for our destination. We started from Panjim on a hired bike. We were joyfully moving through the beautiful roads of Goa’s hinterland when we met with a minor accident. Which left my husband with bruised knee and elbow and minor strain and pain on my legs and shoulder. The rest of the journey through the curvy Ghats became difficult with these injuries without any first-aid.

The view of the valley
The view of the valley

Two injured bodies moved on to the destination without admiring the amazing roads and the quaint surroundings. The hinterland with water bodies here and there, the old Portuguese Villas, the white Church, the winding roads, the mangrove forest, all passed by silently, without any wonderment and sadly, sans photograph.

On the curves of Chorla Ghat
On the curves of Chorla Ghat

The loud chirping like sounds of Cricket like insects welcomed us on the winding tracks of the Mhadei National Park. The cool shades of the overlapping foliage on the either side guided us to our destination – The Wildernest Resort. The sound and smell of the forest intensified as we moved on through the dirt track to reach the reception area.

The roads... silky roads
The roads… silky roads

Wildernest Resort is an eco-friendly accommodation with all facilities, nested within the forested valley of Swapnagandha, overlooking the Varza waterfall and the entire North Goa. They follow an inspiring concept of being one with the nature, in various ways – as following organic principles, practicing in-situ conservation, maintaining a plastic free zone, practicing garbage disposal through effective microbe composting, sewage disposal without chemical effluents, rainwater harvesting, obtaining woods (raw materials for the eco-cottages) through social forest sector, practicing the concept of dimmed and covered lighting (only illuminating the track) to prevent any disturbance to the wildlife around. The resort also provides employment to a good number of local villagers. In this way, they provide an excellent example of staying within nature and merging in too.

A pair of Coppersmith barber perched on a tree top
A pair of Coppersmith barber perched on a tree top

The infinity pool is a major attraction of this resort. The cascading pool is constructed on the edge of a slope overlooking the valley on the other side. The loungers beside the pool are placed under the thick covering of foliage. The eco-cottages are built in a scattered way within the woods. This endearing ambience with the sight, smell and sound of the forest had cast a spell to erase off our physical pain caused by the accident.

The sparkling water of the Infinity Pool
The sparkling water of the Infinity Pool

The Cloud 9, the small garden bar beside the restaurant is built in a typical wooden pub style while the restaurant is a big hall decorated with traditional kitchen items of the native villagers. Buffet meals are served in earthenware with a spatula made of coconut shell connected to a wooden shaft as the handle. Meals comprise of local vegetables and fish and chicken, cooked in an indigenous way.

Namdev, a resident of the nearby village, and an employee here was the guide for the forest trek and the birdwatching trip. Our forest trek companion was a jovial group of four ladies from Russia. They were enthusiastic and highly energetic on this rocky, hilly, thick forest track. They managed to communicate well with us in broken English. The forest was mostly green with few dry patches around. Some Malabar whistling thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii) were whistling some sweet tune, perched within the thick canopy, obscure from the human eye.

Namdev, leading us to the forest walk
Namdev, leading us to the forest walk

Namdev familiarised us with some of the native floral species. The Slow Match Tree (Careya arborea), ‘Kumbhi’ in Hindi was seen all around with guava like fruits. The hot favourite of the macaques… they eat and disperse the seeds and thus helps in maintaining the lifecycle. The pink plastic like flowers which we walked over were the real ones. By looks, touch and fell it all seemed to be artificial, later when we saw it in the trees we realised they were real. So strange is the Nature, it never fails to awe and surprise us.

A 'Kumbhi' fruit that fell from the tree
A ‘Kumbhi’ fruit that fell from the tree

The ever active weaver ants were busy in their nesting while the termites were resting within their forts… Yes, the mound were like mini forts 🙂 . Meanwhile, various species of Genus Calotes (forest lizard) made its appearance. The air was heavy with the smell of ‘Kokum’ (Garcinia indica). This is an indigenous tree mostly found in the Western Ghats of India. Known by various names in the different region, the fruits are used for culinary purposes. Our friendly guide was giving us a good overview of all – be it Kokum, or fig, or wild Berries, or Blueberries, or some local medicinal trees – all known to him.

Smelling a 'Kokum'
Smelling a ‘Kokum’

After a little rock climbing, we reached the dry bed of the otherwise full, strong and roaring – Varza waterfall. During monsoon, this dry bed overflows with gushing water and the stream flow by to form a cascading waterfall beneath. The comparatively narrow gorge at the base of the falls had little sign of water. Water was sprinkled on us from the top (the origin of the waterfall) in droplets. Taniya, our Russian friend gave some extraordinary poses on a coracle parked there.

The rocky, dry bed of the waterfall
The rocky, dry bed of the waterfall

As I was preoccupied in capturing the vibrant Rangoon Creeper, I missed the Malabar Giant Squirrel, that paid a visit to the trees near the restaurant. It was a rare sight and I repented on my mistiming. But I guess luck was favourable to me. The early morning bird watching trip the next day, again with Namdev, showered me with luck. Although the birds eluded, the Giant squirrel showed up after a good run through the thick forest. The pricks of thorns and bites of mosquitoes were rewarding enough.

The vibrant flowers of the Rangoon Creepers
The vibrant flowers of the Rangoon Creepers

Reaching the sunset point was yet another short steep trek. This place offered an excellent view of the valley, the Anjumen Dam, the far away Mandovi River and on clear weather – even the Sea. This was a summit of a hill and the base for standing was narrow. High winds and the subdued colour of the sunset was creating a magical atmosphere.

Malabar Giant Squirrel
Malabar Giant Squirrel

Our adventure filled holidays in this forest was over. Now we have to return. To me, it is the most hated part of any trip. Our wounds became a bit bothersome without proper treatment. We chose not to ride back to Panjim but get dropped by some vehicle from the resort. Our return from Panjim was at night. So we spent the whole afternoon, rediscovering the roads of Panjim (Read about my walk through Panjim), limping and panting in the scorching sun.

Chorla Ghat at a glance, with travel information.

The setting sun, taken from the sunset point
The setting sun, taken from the sunset point
Real flowers that seemed artificial
Real flowers that seemed artificial
Glassy Tiger butterfly
Glassy Tiger butterfly
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Nest of the Weaver Ants

 

Some species of Genus Calotes
Some species of Genus Calotes
The termite's nest
The termite’s nest
A huge bee-hive on the rocks of the waterfall
A huge bee-hive on the rocks of the waterfall
The buffet dinner spread in the dimly lit restaurant
The buffet dinner spread in the dimly lit restaurant
A coracle parked on the bed of the waterfall
A coracle parked on the bed of the waterfall
The Chorla Ghat
The Chorla Ghat
The view of the surrounding hills
The view of the surrounding hills
The valley views from the Infinity pool
The valley view from the Infinity pool
Taniya, posing on the coracle
Taniya, posing on the coracle
The Swapnagandha Valley
The Swapnagandha Valley
33
The colours of sunset

Chorla Ghat at a glance, with travel information.

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10 thoughts on “Amidst the forest of Chorla Ghats

  1. Very nice photos and its soothing to read about this eco friendly resort but I am not for them having it in the forest… but great to read your experience. I am sure you guess healed from those injuries in the resort only. The drive too seemed very beautiful you would have enjoyed it more if you did not have the accident.

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    1. Thank you Maria for stopping by… I agree with your thought of having resort in the forest, even though they claim to preserve the ecosystem and coexist harmoniously with the wildlife, there will definitely be some disturbance… Yes, we did healed up in the resort and could have enjoyed more without the accident. Thanks for your concern 🙂

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