Welcome to Divar Island

The largest settlement on the island is sleepy but picturesque Piedade. But Divar, whose name stems from the Konkani dev and vaddi (translated as ‘place of the Gods’), has an important Hindu history that belies its modern day tranquillity.

Before the coming of the Portuguese, Divar was the site of two particularly important temples – the Saptakoteshwara Temple (moved across the river to Bicholim when the Portuguese began to persecute the Hindus), as well as a Ganesh temple that stood on the solitary hill in Piedade. The former contained a powerful Shivalingam (phallic symbol representing the god Shiva), which was smuggled during the Inquisition to Naroa on the opposite side of the river, just before more than 1500 Divar residents were forcibly converted to Christianity. It’s likely that the Ganesh temple, meanwhile, was destroyed by Muslim troops near the end of the 15th century, since the first church on this site was built in around 1515.

The church that occupies the hill today, the Church of Our Lady of Compassion, combines an impressive facade with an engagingly simple interior. The ceiling is picked out in plain white stucco designs, and the windows are set well back into the walls, allowing only a dim light to penetrate into the church; the views alone, however, make Piedade and its church worth the trip.

Beside the church, a small cemetery offers one of only a few fragments of the once grand Kadamba dynasty. The small chapel in its grounds was converted from an older Hindu shrine, and the carving, painted plaster ceiling and faint stone tracery at the window all date from before the death of the Kadamba dynasty in 1352. Look around for the priest, who’ll unlock the chapel for you to take a look.

Divar Island Retreat, a divine family-run homestay in a beautiful old Portuguese mansion, is reason enough to stay on Divar. The 12 individually decorated rooms come with bathroom and flat-screen TV and are arranged around a pretty garden and pool. It’s in the main village but there’s no sign – call ahead.

Divar Island can only be reached by one of three free vehicle ferry services. A boat from Old Goa (near the Viceroy’s Arch) runs to the south side of the island, while the east end of the island is connected by ferry to Naroa in the Bicholim taluka (district). Another ferry operates to Ribandar from the southwest of the island. Ferries run frequently from around 7am to 8pm.

Top experiences in Divar Island

Divar Island activities

$31 Cultural & Theme Tours

Cycling in Goa - Explore Divar and Chorao Islands

Divar island has historic importance with its proximity to Old Goa. There are some nice churches and temples to see around. The unique local culture and festivals like Bonderam are added attractions. Chorao island hosts the famous Salim Ali Bird sanctuary. The bird sanctuary in itself is too dense to get great bird sightings. The wetlands on the outskirts of the sanctuary are great for bird watching as well as just breath taking in their natural beauty. Cycling is just the perfect way to explore these areas. Walking, you can’t cover enough area and with any motorized transport you will lose out on being one with nature and assimilating the memories that will last a life time. This 4-hour experience of cycling in Goa is an exploration of the Divar and Chorao islands that starts at 7:00 am. Arrive at the meeting point next to Our Lady Succour Church in Aradi. You will be provided with cycles, excellent helmets, locks and supplementary emergency tools. There is a cycle for all terrains, purposes and people. The guide is a passionate cyclist who will take you through the streets of Goa, dipped in history and the organic patterns of the city.Things to Bring • Valid ID proof • Drinking water • Personal medication, if any  

$89 Private & Custom Tours

Private Custom Goa Shore Excursion Tour with guide

9 am: Pick up from the Mormugao Port10 am- 12pm: Fontainhas Heritage Walk with Breakfast.The tour starts with your arrival in Panjim, which is the capital city of Goa. Enjoy breakfast at a Heritage hotel, followed by a Heritage Walk through Fontainhas.Fontainhas is an old Latin Quarter in Panjim that to this day maintains its Portuguese influence, particularly through its architecture. It includes narrow and picturesque winding streets like those found in many European cities, old villas and buildings with projecting balconies painted in the traditional tones of pale yellow, green, or blue, and roofs made of red coloured tiles, etc. Fontainhas' heritage ambience represents the traditional Portuguese influence in the area.Get access to the heritage homes and appreciate the stunning Portuguese architecture. Also, get an incredible experience to meet wonderful people and explore the cultural side of Goa like never before.Get an exclusive chance to meet a renowned Goan musician who will perform Fado and Latin music.12pm- 1:30pm: Divar Island TourLater, catch a ferry and cross the Mandovi River to Divar Island.It is located approximately upriver 10km from Panjim. The Island is connected to Old Goa on the south-east side, Ribandar, on the south-west side and Narve on the north side, all by ferry.Experience this gem of old world charm, and explore various paddy fields, ancient temples, pretty churches, hidden caves, small houses and winding roads through our Divar Island Tour. Divar Island is so blissfully green and tranquil that you will be enticed to slip into the realm of peaceful meditation.1:30 – 2:30 pm: Lunch at a home in DivarEnjoy a home cooked meal prepared by a warm and welcoming host, at a traditional 100-year-old house. The host will serve you a some delightful Goan - Catholic dishes.2:30- 3:30 pm: Visit the two most renowned churches in Goa at Old Goa.Now is the time to seek your blessings at some of the very renowned churches of Goa. Take a ferry across to Old Goa and witness a World Heritage site housing some of grandest and oldest churches in the region. Among these are the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Sé Catedral.The Bom Jesus Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. It is perhaps Goa's most famous church and among the most revered by Christians worldwide. It is partially in ruins but still a model of simplicity and elegance, and a fine example of Jesuit architecture.Then visit the Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina, known as Sé Cathedral, which is the cathedral of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and the seat of the Patriarch of the East Indies.3:30 pm- Head back to the port.4:30 pm – Drop off/ Reach the Port

Divar Island in detail