Divar & Chorao

The island of Divar or Divaade (derived from the word Dipavati or ‘small Island’ in Konkani) lies in the Mandovi river in the Indian state of Goa. It is located approximately upriver 10 km from Panjim. The Island is connected to Old Goa on the southeast side, Ribandar, on the southwest side and Narve on the north side, all by ferry. 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 and the nearest stop to the village is the train station at Carambolim. Initially, there were three Communidades in Divar : Piedade, São Matias (now Malar), Goathias. The Piedade Comunidade was later sub-divided into two, Goltim and Navelim. According to legend, the original inhabitants of this island were people who once lived in Old Goa but had to desert during a disastrous pestilence that heavily decimated the population of Old Goa.

Chorão, also known as Choddnnem or Chodan, is an island along the Mandovi River near Ilhas, Goa, India. It is the largest among the other 17 islands of Goa. It is located 5 kilometres away from the state capital, the city of Panaji and 10 kilometres away from the city of Mapusa. Chorão is accessible by the ferry from Ribandar. Chorão village is known for its Luso-Goan churches and houses. It is also known for its bird sanctuary.


The original inhabitants of this island were people who once lived in Old Goa but had to leave during a disastrous plague that greatly reduced the population of Old Goa. They are mainly of Luso Indian and Konkani descent. It is believed that the Island of Divar was once a site of Hindu pilgrimage – one of many in India – and hosted the temples of Saptakoteshwar, Ganesh, Mahamaya and Dwarkeshwar. During the Christianization of Goa, in the 16th century, many were shifted, by the Goan Hindus, to other locations. It’s also said, that the current Cemetery near Church at hilltop once housed a Ganesh Temple. The Hindus rehabilitated it in the village of Candola near Marcel. Shirali, a village near Bhatkal in Karnataka also houses a part of the Shree Ganesh Mahamaya temples of Navelim and Goltim. The ancient site of pilgrimage is called Porne Tirth (Old pilgrim spot-in Konkani).

The Shenvi Brahmins were the early settlers of Chorao Island. The island was Christianised by the Jesuits as they did the adjoining islands of Divar and Salcete. In 1510, this area was one of the first to be conquered by the Portuguese and by 1552, the island of Chorão had a population of just above 3,000, 300 of whom were Christian and by this time, a small church was built. By the end of 1559, over 1,200 had accepted baptism in total. The following year, in 1560, the first bishop from the Jesuit order, Dom João Nunes de Barreto set up residence in Chorão, which eventually became a Noviciate.

*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)


Airport: Dabolim Airport is the only international airport in Goa and it serves as the only flight connection to reach Divar and Chorao Islands.

Rail: Carambolim Railway station is the nearest railway station to both the island. It lies on the Konkan Railway and is well connected to major cities in the neighbouring states.

Road: Artery roads run through the islands with lanes connecting the interior part of the localities within the islands.

Ferry: There are four ferry terminals in Divar Island. The terminal at the northwest side connects it to another small island called Vanxim. The Piedade or Goltim terminal connects it to Old Goa, the Navelim or St Pedro terminal connects it to Ribandar and the Naroa terminal connects it to Narve. There are ferry services at a regular interval of 10 mins. Chorao Island is connected to Ribandar and few other parts of the mainland through ferry. Ferries to both the island are well equipped to carry vehicles in them to facilitate movement within the islands.

Local: Getting your own vehicle is the best way to travel within the islands while the other option is taking a walk through the beautiful lanes.

Tourist Interest:

The natural surrounding and the beautiful set up of the Portuguese Villas and residential buildings within the unsophisticated native greenery is more than any definite place of interest in these islands.

Divar: Places of tourist interest in this island are the Chapel of Our Lady of Candelaria, St Mathias Church and a few temples.

Chorao: Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is the most important place of interest in Chorao, while the others are St Bartholomew’s Church, Capela de Nossa Senhora da Saúde and a few other churches.

Tour Planner:

These are small islands and each can be leisurely covered in a single day starting from Ribandar Jetty in the mainlands.

Read my experience in Divar and Chorao.