Creative Thoughts

Creative Thoughts

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Hello everybody,

Thank you for all the wonderful comments on the last post.  Glad to know some "Anonymous" readers found it informative.  The following post has long been due.  Meant to do this much earlier but have been somewhat restricted by the sudden and very painful onset of osteo-arthritis in my right knee. 

Joe and I visited north Goa early December last year.  He visits Divar Island at least thrice a year.  It was my first time.   

This is Karmali station.  On the left lay paddy fields and cows browsing with egrets in attendance. 

We took the night train from Mumbai and arrived Karmali Station, Goa, at around 10.30 am the next day.
We took a taxi to the Old Goa jetty to take the ferry.  There’s one every 10 mns. and its free for passengers.  Vehicles are charged Rs. 10 one way.  The crossing takes about 5 minutes

Languidly beautiful Divar is situated across the Mandovi River.  This island is linked to Old Goa on its south eastern side and Ribandar on its south western side by ferry.  Ribandar is where Joe was born and the hospital itself faces the Mandovi River.

Now, this photo was taken to show the endearing "dress code" (behind me) which appears not to have changed since I was ten years old.

Local buses ply inland.  If the driver sees an approaching ferry, he waits.   Otherwise you may have to wait a long time to take the next one.  

We stayed in the picturesque village of Piedade which spreads at the bottom of a small wooded hillock. There is nothing here but paddy fields, stately homes and peace and quiet.  

A wide track leads to the top of the hill where the 16th century Church of Our Lady of Compassion stands.  Joe had gone up the hill that morning and he was so impatient for me to see the church even though it was dusk.   It took huffing puffing me about 10 minutes to reach the top.  It’s not steep and also motorable.  The sacristan who lived in a lodge nearby was kind enough to unlock and open the doors for us so we could take pictures.  The interiors of the church are fabulous. He even switched on all the lights and here are the photos we took.

We were told this spot once offered great views of the Old Goa churches. Now, due to growing vegetation, we were unable to take in a panoramic sight. 

Then there's the beautiful temple complex right next to the church.  So typical of Goa.  Churches and temples existing harmoniously side by side.  Here too the young priest was very enthusiastic.  He urged us to go in and take pictures. Normally he said, the temples would have been shut.  That particular night was new moon night and they were having an “aarti” ceremony.  We also met two smiling, young, Hindu women who had come to pray.  They gave us a brief history of the place. During the time of the Kadamba dynasty, on this site there existed an ancient Ganesh Temple. The Church is situated at the site of an ancient Hindu temple which is known to have been destroyed in the late 15th century by the Muslims.  To one side is a small, walled cemetery which is known to have been converted from the former Hindu shrine, a Ganesh Temple, which was razed by the Portuguese.  The deity was later shifted to its present site at Candola.  

                                                            The Ganesh Temple

 and going a level lower to ......

....the white Hanuman Temple.  

The people of Divar are very friendly and helpful as long as you've come there for a quiet holiday.  They are opposed to anything that will spoil the landscape.  May it always stay that way. 

the local chapel

the entrance to the chapel

We were rather intrigued by this sleeping figure of Christ the Redeemer that lies within the chapel.  Isn't the casket gorgeous ? 
Sr. Jisha of the Brigettine Sisters with some of the Divar kids at the convent's day care.

For the entire week of our stay in Divar I had steamed rice and fish curry at every meal.  There are only two bar cum restaurants there, Rock Inn and Mayur, both delightfully rustic.  They are run by family and the food is absolutely fresh and delicious.  For just Rs. 60 one can eat a "thali" of rice served with shrimp curry, vegetable, a small salad and 2 small pieces of fried fish.  The "special" of the day is the large slices of fish you see above or clams, squid or mussels as the day's catch may be.  Rock Inn lies in a cool hollow and Mayur reminded me of my grandmother's home in our Goan village.

There's also a bakery which has a delectable collection of cakes, pastries and Goan sweets which are made at home by the local ladies and sold in this shop.

 murals in a local pub
Three things that make up a typical Goan.  (Feni is the local brew)

The popular Bonderam festival is celebrated in Divar on every 4th Saturday in the month of August during the monsoon, with great fanfare. The festival is attended by both locals and tourists.

 No prizes for guessing who is a regular.

 Bonderam (Festival of flags).  Portuguese flag included !

Catholic procession to the paddy fields.  The priest symbolically cuts the first sheaf of grain.  It's harvest time. 

The Potekar festival is also held 3 days before the beginning of Ash Wednesday. This is when the local youth wear costumes, masks and cow bells.  They roam around the village demanding drinks and snacks from the locals.

There is also a resort on the island - tucked away in a corner.


  1. Well Lena I just thought I was along with you on the trip. Thanks for sharing your visit with us, I think it is marvelous to learn of other parts of the world and your description s are so vivid. I would love to be ableto vvisit your wonderful country, it looks fascinating. My husband visited India many years ago and was captivated by it.
    Oh well, at least the sun is shining here in Inverness, but it's mighty cold , have a good day, Kate x

  2. Oh Lena you have done it again - wonderful. I am so pleased you are giving other people a chance to experience the wonderful side of India. It is marvellous to see the old churches/temples being so well preserved as the new modern ones do not have the same charm. Am I right in thinking that it is on Goa that the perfectly preserved body of St. Francis Xavier lies? Thank you for the wonderful post and the fantastic photos. Keep it up.

  3. Thank you Lena, this was so interesting and informative and well illustrated! It is lovely to see churches and temples next to each other and everyone co-existing in their faiths. Have a good day.


  4. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in this trip.
    It looks like a fabulous place to go.

  5. Thanks you Lena I love reading your blog its so inspiring and photos are gorgeous huggles hun Sue J xxx

  6. Thank you for telling about your trip to Goa. It's a fun to know about your native land and Goan culture. Goa is not only for a resort. I'm interested in your local foods & customs. Looking forward to reading your continues.

  7. Hi Lena,
    Great reading and seeing your report on Divar makes me home sick.Specially the local shrimp curry..
    All the best

  8. What beautiful pictures. I love the ladies all dressed in pretty colors behind you. This was so informative. I have never visited another country. What a great trip.

  9. Good Evening Lena, i have nominated you for the Liebster Award, I hope this is ok.