Divar Island, Goa

Additional Information
Tiswadi, North Goa, India, 403403
15.531590 N, 73.906009 E
Divar can be reached by a ferry ride; the ferry on the north side of the island is at Old Goa about 7 kms from Panaji and the ferry on the south side is from Narwe.
- Ferry ride
- visit Our Lady of Piety Church
- visit the ruins of Naroa fort

The island of Divar paints a very picturesque picture of typical goa with paddy fields and hills along the roadway. It is located at around 10 km from Panjim. The island is bounded by Old Goa on the South East, on the south-west lies Ribandar and Narve on the north side. A launch also connects Divar to the city of Panjim from further north-west, in the island-village of Vanxim. The Konkan Railway passes through the village. The train station at Carambolim is the nearest stop to this village. Initially, there were three Communidades in Divar : Piedade, São Matias (now Malar), Goathias. The Piedade Communidade was later sub-divided into two, Goltim and Navelim.

Piedade (Goltim-Navelim)

Piedade, is a small village at the bottom of a small hillock. The Church of Our Lady of Compassion is located on this hillock . A beautiful view of the village n the villages around it including the Mandovi river and Old Goa can be seen from atop this hill. As a legacy, left by the years gone by, well maintained Portuguese villas can be seen on the island. The famous Bonderam festival is celebrated in Divar, on the fourth Saturday of August during the monsoon with great fanfare and attended by thousands of tourists and locals.

Church of Our Lady of Compassion, Piedade
The Church of Our Lady of Compassion is located in the village of Piedade; in Divar island. It is also known as The Our Lady of Piety Church, Divar, or ‘Nossa Senhora da Piedade Igreja em Divar, Goa’ in Portuguese. This church was originally a Chapel in 1541, and was rebuilt in 1625 and made into the Our Lady of Piety Church, Divar, Goa. Nossa Senhora de Piedade (Our Lady of Piety) is the patron saint of this church. The construction of the present church began in 1700 and was completed in 1724.The church which was designed by a Goan priest . The Feast of this church is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May every year. The Our Lady of Compassion church atop a hill offering panoramic views and is situated at the site of an ancient Hindu temple which is believed to have been destroyed in the late 15th century by the Muslims. To the south side of the church, remnants of the Kadamba era are still present. In a tiny walled cemetery there is a chapel enclosed which is believed to have been converted from a former Hindu shrine. Like all churches in Goa, this church too has a story to tell from its history books. This is how it goes,a captain of a sinking ship vowed that he would donate the ship’s bell to the first village or town that his vessel touched, if he were to survive his fate. He safely touched the island of Divar. Living upto hi promise, he donated the bell to the church of Divar. It so happened that the island was Divar. But every time the bell was struck, it shattered the windows of the church and the houses in the vicinity, and so the bell was exchanged with that of the Se Cathedral.

Malar

Another village which lies close to the village of Vanxim is São Matias. The Konkan Railway passes through Malar, the closest station being Carambolim. A ferry connects Narva to Bicholim , Old Goa and also Ribandar. This village too celebrates Bonderam in a more traditional manner.

São Matias church
This church is dedicated to St. Mathias. It is more than 400 years old and was built by the Portuguese.

Naroa
Naroa, is another tiny village on the eastern side of this island. There is a lot of sanctity attached to this place.There Hindu temple which was annually visited by devotees. It also proudly houses three parochial churches and a chapel of two images of Christ .

Naroa Fort
The Naroa fort lies in this village.It is located on the Island of Divar opposite the old city of Goa in Ilhas. It was originally built by the Muslims. It was abandoned in 1834 and now lies in ruins.The ruins of a fort are evident in the northern part of the village.

According to historians,Divar was one of the first places the Portuguese ventured to convert locals to Christianity, targeting primarily the Hindu Brahmin caste, thus creating the Roman Catholic Brahmin community.

Our Lady of Candelaria, Naroa
The The Chapel of Naroa, Divar is dedicated to our lady of Candelaria and is a round building

Temples in Divar

The Divar Island was a site of Hindu pilgrimage and many of the famous temples in goa are at Divar .
Shree Saptakoteshwar Temple
The kings of the Kadamba dynasty constructed the saptakoteshwar temple and dedicated it to shree Saptakoteshwar who was the patron deity of the Kadambas. The Saptakoteshwar idol and temple was relocated to Narve in Bicholim by the Portuguese. The present temple structure in Narve, Bicholim was funded and rebuilt by Shivaji a Maratha leader.

Shri Ganesh Sateri Temple is alo on this island at Sateri Bhat, besides two other temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh. One is at Navelim and other at Hilltop near the Church.

Other festivals celebrated in Divar

Bonderam
Divar is famous for Bonderam, a festival which attracts a large crowd from all over goa.It is celebrated on the fourth Saturday August. On this day a carnival ambiance is created with music and much fanfare. Various sections of the village has a float at the parade . The floats are accompanied by youngsters dressed in bright and colorful outfits. The festival is said to be a memoir to the fury of the Villagers over the Portuguese system of resolving the disputes. The villagers on the Island often indulged in some kind of fight over the matter of ownership of their lands. To stop the disputes the Portuguese between the villagers,flags were put at the boundaries. The villagers disliked this system. So they protested against the Portuguese by throwing stones at the flags.

Potekar
The Potekar festival is celebrated for three days before the start of Lent/ Ash Wednesday, where local youths wear homemade masks, costumes, cow bells; venturing around the village, receiving/demanding snacks & drinks from locals, and have licence to frighten the village children!

Feast of Our Lord Redeemer
The feast of the Miraculous Image of Our Lord Redeemer (Konkani: Jezu Soddvonnarachi Ojeapanchi Imaj) is celebrated every year at Piedade, Divar' in the month of November on a Sunday following 18 November. The traditional feast is celebrated by one of the village families. The image is said to have been brought by late Ferrão of Goltim, from Europe and was kept in his house which has today become the chapel.

The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Chorao island , the Crocodile Habitat and the world heritage monuments at Old Goa are nearby attractions of this popular Divar Island.