The island of Divar lies in the Mandovi River in the Indian state of Goa. It is located approximately upriver 10 km from Panaji (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. A launch also connects Divar to the city of Panaji from further north-west, in the village of Vanxim. The Konkan Railway passes through the village and the nearest stop to the village is the train station at Carambolim.
The drive to the village is scenic, with paddy fields and wooded hills lacing the roadway, very typical of the Goan countryside. Though in a manner equally typical of modern Goa, of late the paddy fields lie fallow and overrun with weeds, along with your odd crocodile that came through when the levees were purposely broken in early 2000.
The Island of Divar was a famous site of Hindu pilgrimage and hosted the ancient temples of Shree Saptakoteshwar, Shree Ganesh and Shree Dwarkeshwar besides others. These were destroyed by Portuguese zealots in the 16th century in their drive for the Christianization of Goa. The Portuguese left crocodiles around the waters of the island of Divar and cut all food and other supplies in order to persecute the locals to get converted.
The Current Cemetery near Church at hilltop once housed Ganesh Temple which was razed by the Portuguese and the Hindus had to take the Ganesh Idol and rehabilitate it in village of Khandola near Marcel. The ancient site of Hindu pilgrimage is called Porne Tirth (Old pilgrim spot-in Konkani) even today. Rui Gomes Pereira in his book Goan temples and deities writes, " The original temple (Of Shree Saptakoteshwar) was constructed in the 12th century by the kings of Kadamba Dynasty. Shree Saptakoteshwar was the patron Deity of the Kadambas. The temple was destroyed by the sultan of the Deccan in the middle of the 14th century and reconstructed at the same locality by Madhav Mantri of Vijaynagar at the close of the same century. It was again destroyed by the Portuguese in 1540."
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. Bonderam Festival: The festival is a memoir to the dispute and the fury of the Villagers over the Portuguese system of resolving the disputes. The villagers on the Divar Island often indulged in some kind of fight over the matter of ownership of their lands. To stop the disputes the Portuguese, put up flags at the boundaries. The villagers did not like this system. So they protested against the Portuguese by throwing stones at the flags. On this day a carnival ambiance is created. Each section of the village has a float at the parade. Melodious music could be heard throughout the village. The gaily colored floats accompanied by colorfully dressed youngsters make a pretty picture.
Potekar festival is celebrated for three days before the start of Lent/ Ash Wednesday, where local youths wear home made 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 ( Jezu Soddvonnarachi Ojeapanchi Imaj ) is celebrated every year at Piedade Divar in the month of November on a Sunday closest to 18th of November. The traditional feast is celebrated by one of the village families and draws devotees from all over Goa. 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 huge bell which today adorns the Se Cathedral in Old Goa was originally donated by the master of a sinking ship who'd made a vow that, were he to survive his fate, he would donate the ship's bell to the first church village, town, or city his vessel touched. It so happened that that island was Divar. In keeping with his promise, he donated the bell to the church of Divar, which is located on a high hillock. Unfortunately though, every time the bell was struck, it shattered the windows of the church and the houses in the vicinity, so a deal was struck and the bell was exchanged with that of the Se Cathedral.
Divar Isand has a large number of temples, most prominent is Shri Ganesh Sateri Temple at Sateri Bhat which also houses Khapro Ravalnath along with Sateri Mahamaya. There are two more Temples of Ganesh one at Navelim and other at Hilltop near the Church. The Ancient temple of Shri Shaktivinayak temple at Navelim is also a famous "gram dev" of people of DIVAR.
Divar is one of few places in Goa you will find Urak (mild version of Cashew Feni) all-year round. For a small village Divar has a variety of bars, serving Urak & local food (esp. seafood). Good quality Urak available at Damien Bar, frequented mainly by Farmers and Fishermen. Mayur Bar produces their own Urak (and serve good Prawns). Alternatively there is the Julio Bar, Rock Inn, Seaview, Bradley's and Rajaram small Taverna in the Malar area, to name a few. Suresh, Step-Inn & 4 Numbers Bar for late night drinks.