A Trip to Divar Island
The Mandovi river with ferries crisscrossing it, carrying people and their vehicles across, is always a picturesque sight to behold. Finding people waiting for ferries to reach their homes on the other side was one of my favorite sights and it roused my desire to find what lay on the other bank. Also, I wanted to get onto the ferry once and when I heard there was an island on the other side, I couldn't wait to go!.
A ferry ride may well seem like a very touristy thing to do but here in Goa ferries are part of the public transport system and are free of cost for everyone. A charge of Rs.10 is levied if you are taking a car or any other heavy vehicle across.We decided to go on a two wheeler so took our bike and reached the jetty to catch our ferry just in time.
|Our ferry all set for its journey|
|Divar island from a distance|
As the ferry slowly veered away from the roads, buildings and traffic, it felt like we were getting transported to another world. After hardly 10 minutes, our ferry tugged on to the land on the other side and a narrow muddy path was now visible amidst the greenery.
|A lonely crane deep in contemplation!|
As we got out and kicked up the bike, we were taken by surprise by the landscape around us. The green mass of the island, which looked like some tropical jungle from a distance, suddenly gave way to plain land, full of paddy fields. As we zoomed past the fields, we could find farmers busily tending to their crops.
Our destination was an old church on top of a hillock. Once we cross the fields, the road gradually climbed up leading to a quaint village called Piedade, revealing tree lined roads, with charming Portuguese villas adorned by pretty little gardens . It was late afternoon and there were hardly any people around; probably still enjoying their mandatory siesta!
Our Lady of Piety Church
As I took in the beautiful sights around, I knew that our little mid noon expedition hadn't gone in vain. The church known as 'Our lady of piety' church is a beautiful white-washed structure set amidst greenery and a tranquil location.
|Our Lady of Piety Church|
Divar was once a bustling town with several temples and a huge temple was supposed to be there on the site of the church, which was demolished during the muslim invasions. Later when the Portuguese came, they decided to build a chapel here, which was later rebuilt into Our lady of Piety Church in 1724.
There is a small walled cemetery next to the church and it is said that the ruins of the old temple can still be seen there. Well, the explorer in me did try to look for the ruins but wasn't successful.
|An old banyan tree next to the church|
|Beautiful views of the Mandovi river|
There were very few tourists around when we arrived and the church hadn't opened yet so we had enough time to stroll around and enjoy the beautiful panorama. As we stood quietly by the parapet wall looking at the river and the city beyond, the sun started its descent, reminding us that it was time to leave and hop onto our ferry.
The trip felt like a ride back in time and made me wonder how just a few minutes away from the city buzz, there was this little island shrouded in history and old worldly charm.
The ferries are quite frequent and you can take either your two-wheeler or car. I would definitely suggest a two wheeler since that is the best way to enjoy the country side views and fresh air.
Also, there are a couple of ferry points in the Ribander area, depending on the route of the ferry you need to take. For Divar island, go to the ferry point just opposite to the 'River Isle' restaurant. The ferries ply almost till 11:30 in the night.
Just across the road from the ferry point there is the River Isle restaurant. Go for any of the riverfront restaurants along the road to enjoy beautiful views of Mandovi, as a perfect ending to your ferry trip!
Since a day trip should be sufficient to visit the island, you can choose to stay in Panjim or opt for a portuguese style villa stay at Ribander. But then if you really want to spend a day on the island, there are a few options like Devaaya Ayurveda and Nature Cure Centre or the Divar Island Guest House Retreat.