Exploring Divar Island, Goa

Tucked away amidst greenery and peace, Divar island is located upriver from Panjim on river Mandovi. If you want to plan an offbeat trip to Goa away from sandy beaches, Divar island offers an unbeatable experience. Although located only a short distance from Panjim, not many tourists find their way here. Tranquil and picturesque, Divar island is divided into Piedade, Malar and Naroa villages. The island looks unchanged and unaffected by modernity and offers glimpses of rural life. The quaint winding roads welcome you to walk unhurriedly and soak in the serene atmosphere of a charming countryside.



We visited Divar island during the most magical time - Christmas and stayed in a cute home stay in Piedade village.



Though we drove down from Mumbai, we hired a bike to explore the sleepy island and could not resist stopping to chat with friendly locals and fishermen. Here is more about exploring Divar island in Goa.



History of Divar Island:
An important place of reverence for the hindus, Divar island derives its name from ‘Dipavati’ that means ‘small island’ in the Konkani dialect. Once home to a large number of the Hindus in Goa, Divar island was abandoned when the Portuguese started religious victimization and under influence of plague epidemic at Old Goa. Many ancient temples like Saptakoteshwar, Ganesh, Dwarkeshwar were plundered by invaders with Hindu inhabitants saving whatever they could. Gradually, under the Portuguese, the entire island was converted to Roman Catholicism.

What Can I See Here:
Apart from spending quiet afternoons at one of the many picturesque spots you may stumble upon while wandering around Divar island's quaint lanes, visit the Church of Our Lady of Compassion that sits atop a hill.




Church of Our Lady of Compassion


During evenings, enjoy panoramic sunset views from the church and to the southern side of the church lie the remnants of the illustrious Kadamba era.



One can also visit one of the many temples here - Ganesh temple at Sateri Bhat is one of the most famous. One morning we convinced a few fishermen to take us on a boat ride for a fascinating experience. If you are one of the early birds, take a walk around the island as the sun rises and the sleepy island wakes up.



Take a ferry to Vanxim island located at Tiswadi taluka. The small scenic island is a good spot to watch a sunset and visit the Chapel of the Miraculous Cross.




Divar island is known for bird watching especially water birds and the evening passage of harriers flying to roost. 

How Do I Get Here:
Thivim is the nearest railway station at a distance of 1 hour to the Naroa ferry (east end of the island and runs from 6 am till midnight) and Dabolim is the nearest airport at a distance of 1 hour and 20 minutes to the Navelim ferry (southwest of the island and runs from 6 am till midnight) from Ribandar. A ferry from Old Goa (near the Viceroy’s Arch) runs to the south side of the island as well from 6 am till 2:15 am. The ferries are free of cost for passengers and two wheeler vehicles but if like us you wish to ferry your car across, the cost is only 7 rupees (click here for ferry route timings). If you plan to drive down to Divar Island from Mumbai, take the NH48 to Belgaum and then SH54, SH31 and SH4 to the Naroa ferry.



Where Do I Stay:
Divar Island offers many choices. Travelers can choose from quaint home stays, convenient bed & breakfast options or a nature cure retreat and spa located on the island.



Where Do I Eat:
Choose a home stay that provides meals as there are only a few good restaurants here. Rock Inn restaurant serves fresh seafood and thali meals during lunch. Pair your food with Urak (a mild version of Cashew Feni) available at Divar all-year round.

Things To Do Around Divar Island:
Visit Old Goa by taking a ferry from Divar island. Admire the architecture and pray in peace at Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of the oldest churches in Goa and a world heritage site. Se Cathedral dedicated to St.Catherine of Alexandria, is another must visit church. In fact, the huge bell at Se Cathedral in Old Goa was originally donated by the master of a sinking ship to a church at Divar and was later relocated. One can also drive down to Panjim city or like us visit Shri Mangueshi Temple, one of the largest temple in Goa.

Viceroys Arch

Se Cathedral and Museum of Christian Art

Basilica of Bom Jesus


Best Time to Visit:
A visit to Divar Island can be planned all year round. Monsoons specially are magical as the entire island comes alive with greenery. In August, Divar island celebrates the famous Bonderam Festival with a vibrant parade and performances. Another festival, Potekar is celebrated three days before Lent and is a vibrant spectacle.

If you would like to know more about planning a trip to Divar Island do get in touch with us on contactwickedspoon@gmail.com

Comments

  1. Very nice n informative article.Will surely visit the place

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