A relatively hidden gem of Goa to the annual tourist scattered along the beaches, Divar island is still unscathed by tourism, but yet a must visit for those captivated by serenity, peace and history. The unusual winding roads of this island, give us a glimpse of an island unchanged and unaffected by modernity, still holding true to its origins in terms of architecture and structure. Legend has it that the name ‘Divar’ is derived from ‘Dipavatti’, translating to a village of lights, while some argue that it comes from ‘Devola’ that means Hindu temples. Not helping the dispute is the third assumption that says the island gets its name from a term that translates to, a place (vatti) surrounded by many islands (devippa). Primarily home to three villages namely Piedade, Malar and Naroa, Divar over time was subdivided into four villages with Piedade splitting into Goltim and Navelim.
On out trip to this beautiful Island, we explored to our hearts content and here are a list of activities that you can to to have a memorable trip just like we did.
Things to do at Divar Island:
1. Ride on a ferry
Well, this isn't really a choice, as the only way to get to this sere island is via a ferry ride across the Mandovi river. A five minute breezy ride on a ferry along with your vehicle is the best start to the further exploration of the beautiful Island of Divar.
2. Visit the historic caves on the Island
Laterite, rock cut caves are the oldest man-made structures that adorn this terrific island. The Island was blessed with these historic monuments by the travelling Buddhist Monks in the 7th century. The architectural structures of these caves represent their purpose such as that of meditation, prayer and preaching the buddhist words of wisdom. These caves that bear a human footprint are the only caves in Goa with a sky light. A visit to these caves when on the Island will take you back a few centuries and help you explore the beauty of ancient history.
3. A visit to the Saptakoteshwar Temple
Built in the early 12th century as a mode of worshiping Lord Shiva by the then ruling Kadamba kings, this beautiful Temple was a sight to behold. However, the long Portuguese rule in Goa saw its destruction. Fortunately, a local from the village rescued the linga of the original temple back then which is now placed in the reconstructed structure. Currently under the Archeological survey of India as it is being refurbished cameras aren't allowed at the site, Hence, to witness the actual beauty of this structure a visit is a must.
4. The Church of Our Lady of Piety
A visit to Goa devoid of churches cannot be counted as a visit. Every village in Goa has a church and the same applies to Divar. The Church of Our Lady of Piety is the official church of the Island where prayers are offered by the locals. Ancient architecture is the highlight of this church along with the peculiar story that surrounds the bell. It was once narrated that a sinking ship was floating across the shores of divar. The captain endlessly prayed for the ship to dock to safety and as an answer to that it landed at the divar island. Thus, the captain donated the bell that the ship carried to the church at that place. However, as the bell was too large for that church and the sound it made shattered a few windows and ceilings it was then transferred to the Se Cathedral at Old Goa.
5. A visit to the candle making factory
Candles are extremely important as a mode of worship among the Catholic community. However, candles are also a very important source of light. A single candle making factory resides on this Island making the ‘Mend vati’ , i.e. the humble candle. This factory was established in the 1990’s and runs till date. Initially all candles were made manually, and only until recently machines have been introduced. If you visit this place you will receive an enchanting tour on how candles are made right from scratch.
6. A stay at the Moradia dos Quadros
The Moradia dos Quadros is an old Portuguese style guest house located on the Island and a perfect stay for a memorable trip. Along with having a scenic staying ground with beautiful rooms and verandas it also has a lot of activities to offer.
You can go fishing at the beautiful Eco dream lake located in the backyard of this elegant house.
A rejuvenating mud bath in the loose clay of the adjacent mud lake is another exciting activity that you can take on.
We did both of these and had the best time, as moments like these for city dwellers like us come less often. Hence, if you do visit the Divar Island, a visit or stay at the Moradia dos Quadros is a must. You can search the web for further details on this.
Do check out our Divar Island adventure on out blog 'We explored the magical, uncharted Divar Island in Goa | Goa travel vlog | Things to do in Goa' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyKEJsmn7MI&t=940s