Divar Island is located at a distance of 10 km from Panjim, the Capital city of Goa. Tucked away in dense, lush green woods amidst the beauty of nature, Divar Island is a piece of heaven on earth. Connected to mainland Old Goa through ferry service only, the place leaves you spellbound with its calm serenity and tranquillity.
Divar Island is often recognised as a ‘village stuck in time. Being disconnected to the city by the travel of any other means apart from ferry services the area to date stays largely unexplored and unspoilt by commercialisation or heavy tourism which the residents of the island feel are a blessing.
The term Divar is derived from the Konkani word Dipavati which means ‘small island’. Vintage Portuguese-style houses and traditional churches are surrounded by evergreen paddy fields, the calm peaceful surroundings are in total contrast with the presumed loud and hippie culture of Goa.
The place in its entirety is an epitome of peace and makes the wanderers explore it. Irrespective of the fact that Divar Island does not boast a plethora of sightseeing spots, the ethereal beauty of the narrow winding roads, the tiny tea stalls and the overall enchanting aura of the place will make you wish to just stay back and let all your fatigue fade away leaving you aptly rejuvenated.
The only way to get to Divar Islands is by one of the 3 ferry services available from old goa Ferry can be boarded from; Piedde/Goltim terminal at south-east between Divar and Old Goa from 6.00am to 2.15 pm
Navelim/St.Pedro terminal connects to Ribandar 6.30am – 12.45pm.
Naroda terminal in the North 6.00am to 12.00 am.
Amboi terminal connects to Vanxim Island 6.00am to 11.35 pm.
In case of an emergency at any time of the day or night, one can ask for a special dedicated service.
When on Divar Island do visit the village of Piedade, a replica of a Portuguese-time Goan village. It is a beautiful hamlet dotted throughout with well-kept houses. The village of Piedade houses the ruins of the Kadamba dynasty. Another worthwhile place to visit in Piedade village is the church of ‘Our Lady of Compassion”. It has a beautiful chapel wherein prayer services can be conducted. The place is usually kept locked but the priest opens it on request.
One of the most unique features of Divar Island is the fact that they have some festivals of their own, which are celebrated only on the island and not the rest of the Goa. Bonderam is like a local carnival that is celebrated on the 4th Saturday of August. The villagers bring out floats and there is a colourful parade with music, dances and social messages at its core.
Potekar festival is almost like Halloween. It is held 3 days before Lent. The locals dress up with scary costumes and roam around the village space.
Saptkoteshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Saptkoteshwar, the family God of the Kadamba dynasty rulers was once a very popular religious site. You can witness its ruins and listen to some local legends around it if you speak to any villagers.
The Goan village of yore Sao Matia is now known as Malar village is another village on the island still stuck in the olden time warp. The village is home to the 400-year-old church, the Sao Mathias located in the heart of the village.The structure of the Church is absolutely spectacular and unique. Through this picturesque village passes the Konkan railways though it has no stop.
Naroa is amongst the three villages on this island. The history of the village dates back to the 12th century when it used to be a pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees. The village has two shrines,’ Chapel of our lady of Candelaria’ and the Fortress Chapel. Other spots to visit are the Naroa Fort and the Kosi Tirtha Tali which at one time is believed to have a total of 108 temples.
To explore the island more closely take a leisurely walk through the narrow roads surrounded by old Portuguese-style homes and vast green agricultural fields. The locals are very hospitable, simple people who go about their daily chores without being bothered. Their style of life has mostly been unchanged with modernisation and they continue to keep their traditions alive.
taste the real Goan Food at some of the local Eateries or have a swig of the local brew ‘Urak’ at the old taverns.
All in all WORTH EVERY SECOND OF YOUR VISIT