No matter how many times you go to Goa, there is always something new in the offering. No, I am not talking about some secluded beach. How about an island in the middle of the river in Goa? Mind boggling, right!
Let me introduce a local secret – Divar. It is the second largest island of the seven islands which are situated in the Mandovi River. Adjoining Charao Island is the largest (which more like a peninsula). Divar is connected by ferry services at four different locations, the one near old Goa is the most popular entry point to the island.
We, traditionally, hired a scooter from Madgaon station itself and started towards old goa. On the way, we stumbled upon a small hut selling local poi with bhaaji. Trust me, it was so delicious that we ended up eating 5-6 plates of it. Don’t trust me? See for yourself:
The mere picture of it sends tangling sensation in my taste buds. Anyways it took us close to an hour to reach Divar Island ferry point. The island is connected by two ferries regularly toggling between two ends and Its FREE for you as well as your bike. The ferry actually transports you to the different place altogether – a place which is a lot quieter, a lot greener and a lot prettier.
Staying in Divar
The island has many homestays to choose from and most of them are either listed on airbnb or booking.com. We choose Moradia dos Quadros. Read our experience here.
In and around Divar
Getting lost on the roads
There’s not much to see or do but biking or running along its landscape is an experience in itself. Riding for hours and then watching sunset near jetty was my favourite thing to do in Divar.
Old Portuguese villas
The island is full of large Portuguese villas on the sides of its winding lanes. These colourful gorgeous old, quaint Goan homes are a sight to behold.
Church of Our Lady of Compassion
Built in 1700, the church is akin to old Goa churches but a lot simpler. The church offers a panoramic view of Mandovi river, surrounding countryside, the churches in Old Goa and Charao island.
The island comes alive during the Bonderam festival which is celebrated on the 4th Saturday of August. The festival has a unique history associated with it. It is said that in order to solve the frequent property disputes breaking out in the village, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags, which rival groups would knock down with stones. Today, it is celebrated with flags and mock fights by villagers and those participating in the festival.
Salim Ali bird sanctuary
You can visit this bird sanctuary quite easily from Divar. The sanctuary is on western tip of the island of Chorao along River Mandovi river. It is open throughout the year and can be visited with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden, Forest Department, Junta House, Panaji.
Eating in Divar
Well, the island does not have any decent dine out restaurant but if you are game for ‘local-feel’ bars then I have a couple of suggestion. The first one is Rock Inn Bar & Restaurant. The bar is literally beneath a rock and serves decent biryani and chicken dishes. The second one is Bradlee Bar & Restaurant. They specialize in the local Konkani style fish dishes.
Psst: Bradlee uncle also has a homestay. Reach out to him on +91 7083665734 (I don’t have pictures of his property)
Do visit the island during monsoons. The paddy fields in soothing landscapes will be a treat to eyes