Divar Island Goa Entry Fee
- No entry fee
Divar Island Goa Phone
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Divar Island Goa Address: Goa, 403403, India
Salt in the air, sun-kissed beaches and waves tickling the shoreline – this is what most travelers expect from Goa. However, there is another side to this beach destination. The country’s smallest state is also home to a number of river islands. Divar Island is one of those.
Once known as Piedade, Divar Island sits in the path of the Mandovi River. The island derives its name from a Konkani word that means ‘small island’. Part of Ilhas taluka in North Goa, this island is situated at an altitude of 26 feet above sea level.
History Behind Divar Island
The history of Divar Island can be traced back to the 14th century when the idol of the patron deity of the Kadamba Dynasty was moved to the village of Naroa in the municipal council of Bicholim after the original temple of Saptakoteshwar was destroyed by the Sultan of the Deccan.
At the end of the 14th century, Madhav Mantri of the Kingdom of Vijaynagara reconstructed the Saptakoteshwar temple on Divar Island, which attracted around 3,000 worshippers from across Goa during the time of the annual procession of the deity. About a 100 years later, when the Portuguese arrived on Divar Island, the temple complex was a ruin.
The island of Divar was populated by the inhabitants of Old Goa after a plague struck them and they decided to leave their former dwellings. The present-day islanders are either Goan Catholics or Portuguese-Indian.
The former pilgrimage site of Divar was home to various temples of Dwarkeshwar, Saptakoteshwar, Mahamaya and Ganesh. The pilgrims visited not only to bathe here but also to venerate their idols. In the 1500’s, the Portuguese Christianized Divar Island, along with the rest of Goa.
The native Hindu Brahmins converted into Roman Catholic Brahmins to form the Bamonn community, while the Kshatriyas converted into Roman Catholic Kshatriyas to form the Chardó community. During this time, a lot of temples were relocated to other areas by the Goan Hindus.
Divar Island Timings and Entry Fee
The island of Divar can be freely accessed at any time of the day and no special permit or fee is required to visit this place. However, if you wish to stay on this river island, you will have to book a guest house or a homestay.
Interesting Facts About Divar Island
This tiny island in Goa hides a lot of secrets, some of which are open but not known by the public. Here are some facts that will add some context to your vacation:
- Divar Island is home to about 2,250 residents only.
- The island is one of the rare locations across the state that stocks urak throughout the year. Urak is an alcoholic drink made of fermented cashew fruit. This is much milder than the popularly consumed cashew feni which Goa is famous for brewing.
- Ever since Goa was handed back to India, Divar Island has seen a rise in the construction of Hindu temples.
- The island is very lively when you visit during one of the festivals. The ‘Feast of Our Lord Redeemer’ falls in November while the Bonderam festival is celebrated in August.
- This river island has its own version of Halloween – Potekar. According to tradition, the youth wear cowbells and homemade masks and dress in costumes to frighten the residents, including children. Falling three days before Lent or Ash Wednesday, Potekar is a time for asking for drinks and snacks.
- Divar Island has 3 villages – Naroa, Piedade and Malar (which was previously known as São Matias and is also the site of the 400-year-old São Mathias Church).
- This island also has a Muslim connection. In the 16th century, the Deccan Sultanates built the Naroa Fort here to serve as a military camp. There’s a church in the abandoned fort.
How to Reach Divar Island
Divar Island is separated from the rest of Goa on all sides by the Mandovi River. While the final way to reach this river island is via ferry, here is how you can arrive at the multiple ferry terminals around the island.
By Air: Both the Manohar International Airport in Mopa and the Dabolim Airport are around 36 km away from the center of Divar Island. You can hire a cab from the top car rental companies in Goa and it will take 1.25 hours to arrive from either international airport.
By Train: The closest railway station to Divars Island is Carambolim, which is serviced by the Konkan Railways. It takes about half an hour to cover the 6 odd kilometers to the island from Carambolim.
By Bus: There are a number of bus stops on Divar Island. If you arrive in Goa via an overnight bus that stops at Panjim, you can take connecting buses to St. Pedro Ferry Terminal from where you will have to cross the Mandovi River via ferry to Divar Ferry Terminal.
By Car: If you are driving in Goa, you can bring your car to Divar Island. However, you will have to put your car in one of the transportation ferries which will also carry you across the river and onto the island. Once on the island, you can drive around freely. It is important to note that there are no bridges for pedestrians or vehicles that connect this river island to the rest of Goa. The only bridges that exist are for the railways.
By Bike or Scooty: As with cars, bikes and scooties also need to be ferried across to the island. Given the narrow streets of Goan countryside, this mode of transportation is quite convenient if you hold a two-wheeler license.
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