Chorla Ghat

Chorla Ghat is a nature destination located at the intersection of the borders of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra. It lies to the north-east of Panaji, Goa (about 50 kilometres by road) and nearly 55 kilometres from Belgaum, Karnataka. It is a part of the Western Ghats in the Sahyadri mountain range and is at an elevation of 800 metres. Chorla ghat boasts of a few rare species of wildlife in its sub-tropical forests. The Nature Conservation Facility has been established at Chorla Ghat to facilitate research and long-term monitoring of the Western Ghats of the Sahyadris region and their biodiversity and is intended at providing a platform for ecologists and wildlife biologists by way of fully equipped field station for this area. The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary overlaps with this region. The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is a 208.5 sq km of protected area. The sanctuary is an area of high biodiversity and is being considered to become a Project Tiger tiger reserve because of the presence of resident Bengal tigers. This area is noted for its many waterfalls, especially the twin 143 m Vazra Sakla waterfalls and the Virdi Falls. The 143 m Vazra Sakla falls are one of the most distinguishing landmarks of the region. These water of these falls is fed by the Haltar nullah and joins the Valvanti River in Virdi village of Maharashtra. The Valvanti River then joins the Sakhali River and later meets the Mhadei River. The rock faces and cliffs that envelop the Vazra falls are home and nesting grounds of critically endangered long-billed vultures. The average temperature ranges from 19 °C to 28 °C. There are no public tourist facilities in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, but there are Forest Department rest houses at Valpoi and Keri. There is an Irrigation Department rest house above the Anjunem Dam. The Anjunem Dam is located on the Sanquelim – Belgaum highway SH-31 in Chorla ghat at about 10 km from Sanquelim town. There are three private eco resorts in Chorla ghat, the Wildernest Nature Conservation Facility the Adventure Resort and the Swapnagandha Resort.

Fauna: This region is part of the Western Ghats landscape, and is regarded as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot, as well as an area of high endemism by Conservation International. The mammal species found here are Black Panther, Sloth Bear, Indian Gaur, Leopard, Ruddy Mongoose, Asian Palm Civet, Mouse Deer, Jungle Cat, Giant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Indian Pangolin and a variety of Macaques. The birds found here are Nilgiri wood-pigeon, Malabar parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill, grey-headed bulbul, rufous babbler, white-bellied blue-flycatcher and crimson-backed sunbird. All the four venomous snakes in India are found here – Indian krait, Russell’s viper, saw-scaled viper, spectacled cobra, While many other species are also in abundance with few rare species like barred wolf snake (Lycodon striatus). Endemic species of amphibians in the sanctuary include the endangered marbled Ramanella, the vulnerable Maharashtra bush frog, Beddome’s leaping frog (Beddome’s Indian frog) and Malabar gliding frog. The southern birdwing plus the striped tiger, common jezebel, common Indian crow, blue Mormon and other species of butterflies can are found here. Prominent among these is the blue tiger butterfly.

Flora: Sacred groves were once common at almost all the nearby villages. Among its variety of flora are towering trees such as shidam (Tetrameles nudiflora) which support various other life forms in the grove. Creepers like garkani (Entada scandens) with their sword-like pods are found on the shidam. During the monsoon, bioluminescent fungi growing on dead wood glitter at night. Today, because of encroachments, the size of the groves has decreased, while the sculptures lie exposed to the vagaries of nature. The groves formerly spread across a large area, is now confined to a small patch where the vulnerable species hedu (satinwood), khait (Mimosa catechu), and chafara (red frangipani) trees are found. Majestic trees such as bhillo maad (coconut) have already been felled.

Threats: Multiple threats to the unique ecology and biodiversity of the Chorla Ghats include: illegal heavy vehicular traffic mismanagement of private lands, illegal mining and tree felling, monoculture plantations, industrial activities, poaching, and dams and river diversions, notably the Malaprabha Reservoir Project and The Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.

Transport:

Airport: The nearest commercial airports are Goa Internation Airport at a distance of 76 km, Belgaum Airport at a distance of 60 km, Hubli Airport at a distance of 140 km.

Rail: Thivim railway station in Goa is the nearest railway station to Chorla Ghat. This station is connected to major cities across India.

Road: North West Karnataka State Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) is supposed to restart bus services between Belgaum to Panjim via Chorla Ghat. The NH4A starts from Belgaum and ends in Panjim through the Chorla Ghats.

Local: KTC runs locals bus through the villages here. Other than this private tour operators provide vehicles and bikes on hire from Panjim.

Tourist Interest: The greenery, the wildlife watching, the Varza Sakla Waterfalls (in and after the monsoon) and the stay at any of the three resorts namely Wildernest Resort, the Swapnagandha Resort and the Adventure Resort are the main attraction here. The stay in these respective resorts include activities like Jungle Walk, Bird watching, Trek and hike.

Tour Planner:

This tour planner is made on the basis of the location of the destinations. One can make changes as per their interest, convenience and accessibility and duration of the trip. The other place of interest is the peak of Lasni Temb and the Anjunem Dam.

Day 1: One can make a day trip to this place. While those interested in all the above activities has to make a night halt at any of two resorts.

Day 2: The early morning bird watching trip, the afternoon forest walk and the evening sunset point trek can be done in a day.

Day 3: Return to Belgaum or Panjim.

Hotels: The two eco- tourism resorts here are Wildernest Resort and the Swapnagandha Resort. There are Forest Department rest houses at Valpoi and Keri. There is an Irrigation Department rest house above the Anjunem Dam.

Read My Journey to Chorla Ghat.

Advertisements