*The writing opportunity was given to me by the owner of Moradia Dos Quadros, Mr. Neves Quadros.
When I laid my eyes upon the mansion like several others with the intent of booking a stay, I got the feeling that an opportunity to write a story has presented itself from heaven. Taj Mahal is not the only symbol of cutting-edge wonder. It looks like a lot of creative effort has gone in the renewal effort at Moradia Dos Quadros.
In a way you are living with family. That happens rarely now, but the experience at Moradia Dos Quadros evokes that feeling of warmth.
Moradia Dos Quadros opened its doors to guests in 2017. The term “Moradia” means a calm dwelling in portuguese. The estate is a lively home to #livetheexperience in the offbeat destination: Divar Island.
With persistent care in the renewal effort, coupled with the immense dedication of envisioning its future as a potential home stay, this humble abode quickly glided to the top of the list of exceptional home stays in Goa.
AN INTRODUCTION TO DIVAR ISLAND
Situated upriver 10 kilometres from Panjim, Divar Island lies in the Mandovi River in North Goa. The strolling cruises add to its charm. Divadkars have ensconced themselves at the bank of the river which eventually pours into the Arabian Sea. While for the rest, a trip to Divar Island is all about taking walks in the marshlands, biking on the winding, canopied roads, watching sunsets, enjoying cruises and fishing.
You can reach the princely Divar Island from the mainland only via ferry, turning it into a quest. There are hardly any cars to be seen in the sleepy hamlets of Divar Island, which is a noteworthy signal that this is in fact a secret, mysterious island, romanticising slow-mo, oh-so-smooth Goan susegaad.
The island provides horizonless opportunities to explore, that keep visitors enchanted. From meandering through churches and cemeteries, to partaking in the local festival, trying Goan delicacies and lollygaging through pristine streets looking at offshore gems, it is no wonder that Divar is the summer colony for city dwellers who like to call this their second home.
Now, let’s explore Moradia Dos Quadros!
Exploring the unconventional lifestyle amid paddy fields
Welcome to the ever-growing Moradia Dos Quadros family!
In the north Goa district of Tiswadi, an arrow points towards the direction of a selfie-ready secular building. Encounter the sign where thickets of marshlands rise up. The word ‘paradise’ sticks with you.
Moradia Dos Quadros is the gem that is hidden in the centre of paddy fields in Divar Island. Encircled by a thick foliage of mangrove in all directions, the three-storied house is owned by Neves Quadros who has become a dear friend of mine. Moradia Dos Quadros is not just another property, it is a place to host the guest as a family member.
As part of the welcome chat and 5 minutes tour of the property, the guest is explained the amenities / facilities etc to immediately make them feel at home. To reinforce the mantra of atithi devo bhava, Neves addresses all his guests as brother and sister.
Visits to Divar have increased after Mr. Neves put his property on the Google radar.
It must be the domino effect. Neves Quadros reciprocates loyalty of guests who stay at Moradia Dos Quadros again or refer the property to their other friends in the form of loyalty discount, room upgrade , flexible payment options , complimentary drinks and snacks and so on.
Instead of positioning the mansion as a heritage homestay like many others in Goa, Moradia Dos Quadros was conceptualised as a figment of heaven where guests could come and just be JOYFUL, say TATA to anxieties and worries, and watch the 6:30 sunset at Divar Island from the balcao, involve oneself in activities such as fishing , cycling in the island, bird watching. If you miss the partying, that itself is just a hop, skip and jump away.
The vision itself is a wee reminder of becoming playful – when you look at the skies, do not think of sad events but cotton candy! When you stroll past the shrubs and the bushes – think of the names of the stunning colours as well as the names of the shrubs and trees. Think of something more than what meets the eye!
Something as lovely as Modaria Dos Quadros reincarnates the characteristics Neves Quadros perceived in his vision: a place to become slow-moving vehicles, let off steam and allow the mellow sounds to hypnotise you; viva la vida!
If booze has eternally exhausted you, then the alternative is nurturing yourself in a sumptuous mix of serenity, sunshine, sea breeze, solitude and sunshine to light up your stay. A lifetime relationship with Moradia Dos Quadros has all those perks. Moradia Dos Quadros stretches out from the garden to the rolling water parallel to the fields.
When you step into the canvas that spreads out before your eyes, try not to be stiff and controlled. Tip to your side. Lo and behold!
The mansion welcomes you by the ‘hello world’ greeting equivalent in true susegaad mode!
It coexists harmoniously with the adjacent paddy fields of rice and a dream eco-lake developed and maintained by Moradia Dos Quadros, as part of its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative. The lake is just a 4 minutes walk in front of the Moradia dos Quadros bungalow.
I bet the moment is sprightly when you arrive. The tapestry of flora in the garden fringe the passageway where peacocks are found chattering away, as though anticipating the arrival of the guest. They can also be found wandering in the beach shacks, which are a Goan institution to sate the guest’s appetite, and discussed further below.
What to Eat
Moradia Dos Quadros is chuffed to introduce an all-round menu which imbibes much of the Goan heritage influenced by Arab, Malaysian, Portuguese, Brazilian, French, African and closer home, Konkan and Malabar cultures; details of which will be released soon.
However, the standard items are available to order.
A classic breakfast includes bun bread or pav which is dunked in a vegetable curry called bhaji – a generic term for stews and stir-fried dishes of your choice: patal, sukhi, mixed or tomato-based.
Other savory options include Povah meaning pounded rice. Meanwhile, highly heralded as a great breakfast in many parts of India is sheera which means sweet semolina.
It is said that you can pick a Goan out of Goa but you cannot keep him away from his fish, curry and rice. Lunch options include a mound of rice served with xacuti which is meat based in a spicy sauce made with coconut milk, lemon juice and plenty of red chilli.
Dinner would be light with either fish curry rice or Goan poi – leavened bread and exceptionally nutritious – that is served with coconut-based curry.
Snacks could be a sweet rice based dish with dry fruits called Payasu, godshe – much like payasu but the sweetness is derived from jaggery, not dry fruit, or bhoujim – vegetable fritters.
The dishes on the standalone menu served to in-house guests are hearty meals made grandma style using homemade masalas!
How’s the vibe?
The decor is an eclectic mash up of modern and bohemian. You can jaunt in and out of one room, sunbathe in the lobby or meditate in the balcao, luxuriate under a beach shack or meander in the courtyard – an extension of the mansion. An ode to the affluent character of the portuguese styled bungalows, Moradia Dos Quadros is your ideal vacation dream home so book away!
Maintaining the property is not an easy feat. So please be careful while touching any of those gorgeous hangings. They may be delicate! No stones were left unturned to leave a lasting impression on the guest. There is good spaciousness in the mansion which allows you to shake things up a notch. The interiors are a play on lending a homely vibe to the atmosphere of the mansion. They are mind-blowingly simple. It is a typical Goan countryside mansion, which is dotted with interactive lighting, wooden carvings, quaint centre showpieces, custom-made teakwood furniture and adorned with embellished paintings which are tastefully ornate.
You have an array of places to sit and mull over your thoughts. My favourite corner of the mansion has to be the balcao. One cannot dispense the old-century concept of balcaões in a portuguese home. Integrated with each room, the balcaões contains in-built seating where gazing away at the panoramic views of the Divar backwaters next to the empty paddy fields will fill you with earnest calmness. The open-aired balcaões is a characteristic feature of Indo-portuguese homes of Goans. Simply put, each room has its own “balcaõ” – perfect for “fofocas” (portuguese for gossipers) under the star-studded sky.
There is even a front over-hanging balcony where you can pretend to enact a scene from Romeo and Juliet. But Neves Quadros has taken creativity to another level for creating unrushed experiences: designing spaces for couples such as the untold affair, or for families such as outdoor barbecue-ing in landscaped gardens overarched by orchard trees and picnic areas near the eco dream lake.
You can always count on the porch – a far cry from any of the under-utilised porch I’ve seen in the city. Wooden benches, quirky hangings, and a sensational palate of colours define the porch at Moradia Dos Quadros.
If you fancy a game of cards, then take your party to the outdoor recreational areas beyond the porch. The guest will be thrilled to discover that activities at the lake include swimming, fishing, clay mud baths and paddle boating. For the picnic, guests can also take food supplies available at the property such as masala tea and noodles. If you wish to cook on the stove, there is an extra charge for using spices, oils and cooking gas. Reheating in the microwave, however, is free of cost.
The owner will not deter you from taking anything but it is your responsibility to jot down everything in the honesty register so mark everything you take. Payment can be made at the end of the trip in hard cash only.
If you are in the mood for a barbecue, then fire can be lit in the centre of garden away from trees. Guests can seat themselves in the courtyard and take in the tropical foliage of trees. Walk up a flight of steps from the garden where all chairs and tables are scattered in clusters of four and five set just near the poised front entrance. If the party is bigger, you can always use the rear balcony on the first floor.
As a child, if mom had told me to go to my room, I wouldn’t have frowned if it looked like this.
A comfy place to unwind, read, use the wi-fi and make use of the deep solitude to rejuvenate oneself. Each room is also appointed with a writing desk and teakwood almirahs with abundant space. Cozy bedrooms may help fend off cold weather days.
From what I gathered, there are options to choose one single room or book the whole bungalow. Booking for one child below 6 years old is complimentary. For single rooms, the five options are candolim, calangute, baga, vagator and anjuna (named after Goan beaches). There is often a large dining table in the old-world concept of eating together, and at Moradia Dos Quadros, that dining room serves as a cheeky reminder to keep the traditions intact.
If you are wondering which rooms to pick, you can ask the owner who may give you the best tips. For extra mattresses, please pay any additional charges incurred.
Rooms named Baga, Anjuna, Candolim are fully air-conditioned but with shared toilets.
- Candolim Deluxe suite + family get together room is on the 1st floor
with a large sofa set, 4 post antique bed, single diwan bed and extra
large Greek. It opens to sky balcony but with sharing toilets.
- Baga deluxe room is on 1st floor with 2 overhanging balconies but with sharing toilets.
- Anjuna deluxe room is on 1st floor with 2 overhanging balconies but with sharing toilets.
Apart from these 3 sharing toilet rooms there are 2 rooms with attached toilets
which are as follows:
- Vagator suite is with attached toilet and shower cubicle and separate
verandah access on ground floor.
- Alangute master bedroom is with 4 post Antique bed and large Single Divan Bed with walk in wardrobe Room, bath tub toilet and extra large greek balcony (open to sky) etc on 1st floor.
HOW TO GET HERE?
To ride the ferry with your eyes looking out towards the island takes away all your tension as you approach the destination. Later, when the ferry releases you on the island do you realise how different Divar is, in comparison to the rest of Goa.
Please note that the information provided here takes important landmarks into account. If your location is not listed below, please get in touch with the owner.
- From Panjim, please use the Ribandar to Divar ferry point (closed between 1 AM – 6 AM). From Sanquelim/Bicholim, please use Naroa to Divar ferry point (closed between 11 PM – 6 AM).
- For arrival to the property via Dabolim Airport (18.7 km), please note that you can also only use the ferry at the Old Goa Ferry Point (between 6 AM – 2 AM) to enter the island.
- For passengers who are accompanied by vehicles, please reserve a spot at the earliest.
- Once you have arrived, please keep your ID proof and driver’s license with you if you wish to hire a car at the rental shop.
- Take the road opposite Malar Panchayat Football grounds. After 200m, take the first right road. You will see a yellow-coloured bungalow named Moradia Dos Quadros. The check in time is 14:00 and the check out time is 12:00.
- It is nice to ensure that the host has been notified before the arrival if you wish to do any activities. Please let the host know as soon as possible.
If the pictures have not impressed you yet, we reckon you speak to Mr. Neves Quadros who can tell you more about the superb Divar Island because it is his home. If you have made up your mind and cannot wait to go, then you may want to start by learning a few phrases in Konkani first – Konkani is the native language of Divadkars which will be useful to you in Goa. Neves has prepared the guide himself. You can find it here.
Enjoy your stay at Divar Island. Hope you choose Moradia Dos Quadros!
Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.