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Anjadiv Island

Anjadiv / Anjadip / Angediva Islands


The Anjadiv (a.k.a Anjidiv) Islands, about a mile away from the village of Binaga in Karnataka, but belonging to the state of Goa, have been famous in Indian culture since the puranic period. A renaissance poet has described it as the "resting place of Venus and her beloved". Deity Arya Devi, later known as Anji Devi is worshipped on the island since ancient times. The Romans who are said to have visited the island called it "Aigidioum" (land of Agi Goddess) and the Arabs have refenrenced it as "Allan Gudde" (Allah's Hill).

With an area of 1.5 sq km, it is the largest of the karwar Panchdiva chain of five Islands. Anji stands for five in Tamil and it denotes the fifth Island.
It is a 30 min boat ride 4 Km. This idyllic Island is home to the Indian Navy.
The island has some remains of the bygone Portuguese era, some old houses and Chruch ruins. Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes described it as the "Island of Amours".

Anjidiv Island, also known as Anjadiva or Anjediva, at the Goa-Karnataka border, has played a major role in the history of Goa. About 1.5 sq km in area, it is the largest of an archipelago of five islands, the other four being Kurnagal, Mudlingud, Devgad and Devragad. 'Anjadiva' means fifth island.

Map of the island
Anjediva also has a fort built by the Portuguese

The island is known of its annual Feast of Our Lady of Springs (Nossa Senhora da Brotas) on 2nd February and Feast of Chapel of St. Francis D'Assissi on 4 October.

Location info:

District:North Goa
Nearest City:Karwar
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History of Anjadiv Island:

The Portuguese traveler Vasco da Gama visited this island in 1498, and later in 1502. The island was strategically important as a major defence post for the Portuguese, and served as a watering port for Greek, Arab, Egyptian and Portuguese merchant ships in later years. A fort and a church were built here. The Roman Catholic Church, one of the oldest in the East, was built in 1502 and awarded the insignia by Rome as the Mother Church. Numerous Hindu legends are also associated with the island.

The Portuguese colonized the island and built a fort and a church (Church of Lady Brothers). The Maplis of Kerala settled on the island in due course, and called it "Anaja Diva". The Portuguese corrupted it to Anjidiv.

After India became free (after an epic struggle against the British) in 1947, the island continued under Portuguese rule, and to symbolize their authority, the Portuguese Government set up a liquor shop on the island (a move certainly in mockery of Gandhi's prohibition ideology) and appointed four people to operate it. The bar did extremely well, selling over Rs.75,000 worth of feni (a popular variety of local liquor) a fortnight, most of it finding its way to India. This practice continued till 1961.

One day in October 1961 a fisherman from the village of Majoli was sailing in the Indian waters, when a nutty Portuguese policeman fired on him. In a show of support for the fishermen, India moved naval vessels in the area which were also fired upon. The tension escalated and on December 20th, India shelled the island, thus not only liberating the island, but paving way for Portuguese release of Goa.

Anjediva, as Portuguese territory, was used by the Christians and Hindus of the mainland as a refuge during the invasion of the coastal kingdoms of Bednore and Soonda by Tipu Sultan, who had created the new state of Khodadad after usurping the throne from the Maharaja Wodeyars of the Kingdom of Mysore. According to recently conducted archalogical survey revealed that,they found pillars, stones, pots, of 11-12 centuries with the artistic work of Kadambasand Chalukyas, as per their conclusion these things might be the remaings of the ruined temple of Godess Aryadurga Devi.

The Island of Anjediva is the site of one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in the East. For The historic Anjediva Church made out of boundscenturies, Goan Catholics from all over the world traveled to the island to worship at the "Brotas" church. Without consultation, the Indian Navy has banned any further access to the church after early 2003. It cites security reasons. India has displayed callous disregard of the feelings of Goan Catholics by allowing the churches on the island to disintegrate]

Though quite small and almost forgotten, this island played a crucial role in the history of Goa and the Indian subcontinent.

It is the largest of an archipelago of five, the other four being Kurnagal, Mudlingud, Devgad and Devragad. Its name means "fifth", as Anji stands for "five" and div for "island" in Malayalam and Tamil.

It is situated 4 km south of Baticala, the ancient kingdom of Garsopa, in present day Karwar, its latitude being 14° 45' North and longitude 74° 10' East. Its area is of about 1.5 sq km, the North-South length being 1.5 km and the width 0.25 km.
The Hindu Past

Several tales and myths exist as regards the past of the island, namely its Hindu period.

One of them states that the island was inhabited by Hindus who worshipped a deity by the name of Algi. The Portuguese occupation of the island led to the deity being shifted to the village of Hanumantha in neighbouring Ankola, where the temple dedicated to it is now situated. The Goddess however refused to enter the new abode and stayed in the sea between Angediva and Binaga. She floated in the waters on a plantain leaf and blessed the newly married couples with gold coins and ornaments.

Some people attribute the name of the Goddess to the island, but the reverse could also be true, namely that it was the island that got its name from the Goddess. The Goddess could have been known as Anji Diva and later on transformed into Algi Devi. Another possibility is that the island's name was linked to its good and potable water and thus the name of the deity itself was derived from Ambu (water) and Dvipa (island).

Another short legend associated with the island is the one mentioned in Sahyadrikland, wherein Parshuram is said to have arranged his yajna in Goa. Being in need of some goat milk for some of his rituals, and since the same could not be obtained in Goa, he brought it from Angediva. Hence Ajyudvipa or the island of clarified butter.

It is also atrributed to the story that Ajyudvipa was in existence before Parshuram reclaimed the Konkan from the sea.

Excavations carried out some time ago by the Department of Archaeology and Museums (Goa) found some pillars of the Chalukyan and Hoysala periods. The temple to which they belonged might have been built by the Goa Kadambas, feudatories of the Chalukyas, and apparently dedicated to God Narasinha.

Foreign Sources and the Island

Angediva came to the notice of the geographer Ptolemey (Claudius Ptolemaeus), who marked it as Insurd Ijidburum in his map drawn in 150 A D. It is also mentioned by the Greek author of Periples (247 A D.). It was probably important to the Greek travellers as a place of call for the ships plying between the Red Sea and the Malabar Coast.

Arabs visited the island for horse trading around the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., in search of water for their ships. A water tank does exist near the shore, to which water was brought from the interior by a system of cascades. Probably this too was built by them. It measures 43 x 57 m. The Muslims however treated the original inhabitants, who were Hindu, with utmost cruelty, forcing them to abandon the island. Temples and other buildings were recklessly destroyed and the stones used to build conduits that took water from the interior to the cistern. Recent desilting of this tank yielded a lot of chinaware, which leads to the conclusion that perhaps the Arabs maintained trade with China. One of the items are sealarks which are found in the islands.

The Arab explorer and geographer Ibn Batuta (1304-1377) landed in this island during the course of his travels to Sindapur or perhaps Chitakul near Sadashivgad. He refers to a temple, a garden and a tank. It is said that he saw a Yogi, marked with signs of religious warfare, leaning against the wall of a temple, between two idols. He looked to see what the Yogi said. The Yogi in turn looked at a coconut tree and a fruit fell. Batuta offered him money, the Sanyasi refused and in turn offered him 10 dinars. Ibn Batuta asked him what he worshipped. The Yogi looked at the sky and the west (sea) and Batuta, thinking him to be a Muslim, interpreted the Yogi's gesture as meaning Alah and the temple at Mecca.

Francisco Mauro marked the island in his world map prepared in 1459. It is even thought that this famous map was used by Vasco da Gama to undertake his journey to the East.

During the 15th century Angediva became a port of call to the Arab traders, from the Red Sea to the Malabar Coast. As a matter of fact, Sidi Ah Kapodham says that the first island sighted between Aden and Malabar was Angediva.

In 1503 the Italian traveller Varthema describes the island as distant 0.5 mile from the mainland and inhabited by Muslims and pagans.

Thus it is clear that on account of its strategic position the island became, right from antiquity, a port of call for those travelling and trading with mainland India, be they Greeks, Arabs or, later on, Portuguese.


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How to reach Anjadiv Island?

Nearest Railway Station:Nearest station at Shirwad, 6kms from Karwar Town, Konkan Railway route.
Nearest Airport:Goa Airport (100 kms)

Road Transport:524 kms North West of Bangalore, Bangalore To Tumkur (NH4), Tumkur to Honnavar via Arsikere, Shimonga, Talguppa (NH206), Honnavar to Karwar (NH17) approximately 12 hours

Anjidiv Island can be approached from Goa via Karwar by land or rail. From the Officers (Sea Bird) Gate, a two km causeway takes one to this historical site.
By Sea: Karwar port

Nearest Visiting places in Anjadiv Island:

The bay near Binaga, where the Indian Navy has its new base is called INS Kadamba as a part of Project Seabird. This is a part of the Project Seabird. The Casurina beach, now called the Kamat Bay, Agra Beach, Anjadiv island are all occupied by the Indian Navy. Kaiga, a nuclear reactor site is about 50 kms from Karwar town. Karwar and nearby Uttar Kannada have many beaches, island, waterfalls, and thick green forests.

There are many beautiful places in Karwar. Some of them are:

  • Karwar beach,
  • Devbagh beach,
  • Kurumgad island,
  • Kodasall,
  • Binaga beach,
  • Tilmatti beach,
  • Majali beach,
  • Guddahalli Peak,
  • Hyder Ghat Pass,
  • Shirve Ghat
  • Devkar falls,
  • Anshi National Park,
  • Durga Devi Temple,
  • Naganath Temple,
  • Shahkaramuddin Dargah, Sadashivgad (Tomb of a Sufi Saint),
  • Chaitanya park,
  • Jamba,
  • Sadashivgadh Maratha Fort,
  • St. Joseph's High School,
  • High Church,
  • Maruti Temple, Kali bridge,
  • Chendia falls - Nagarmadi falls (a small waterfall which passes under a huge rock)
  • Habbu Mountain (opp. Venkateshwara Gas Agencies)
  • Shri Kshetra Gurumath ,Baad

The district of north Goa is full of tourist places as it has beaches, temples, churches, museums, art galleries, gardens, peaks and many more which are an essential feature to become a perfect tourist spot.Some of the important places, which are regarded as the tourists` spots can be mentioned as follows:

Panaji: this is the capital of Goa and also the headquarters of North Goa District. This is basically a small and charming city on the left bank of silvery Mandovi River. The beautiful red-roofed houses are seen in abundance in the city. These houses are built in Latin style. This district can also boasts of many modern houses, well laid gardens, statues and avenues lined with Gulmohar, Acassia and other trees. The enthralling scenic beauty can be found when it is viewed from atop Altinho or from the hilltop.

Mapusa: This is situated at 13kms from the district headquarters. This place is the capital of Bardez Taluka, which is on the NH 17. It is at the cross roads of the network of highways covering whole of North Goa. There is weekly fair, which is celebrated on Friday and is held at the modern streamline market. A large crowd usually comes to attend the market and enjoy a lot at that place.

Pilar: This is placed at the distance of 11 Km from district headquarters. This is an important religious and educational centre of Christian Missionaries as well. The Church, Seminary and School atop hillock command a magnificent panorama of the countryside around. This place is also has a fine view of Mormugao Harbour & Zuari River. People always like to visit the place.

Margao: This is placed at 33 Km Away from the district headquarters. This place is the capital of South Goa District in the Southern Goa in Salcate Taluka. This is a thriving commercial metropolis linked by rail to the rest of India. The waterway is Mormugao Harbour and by National Highways it is connected with Maharashtra and Karnataka. It has imposing old mansions and modern buildings.

Vasco-Da-Gama: This is placed at 30 Km away. This is basically a modern, well laid out city close to Mormugao Harbour. This has beautiful and extensive avenues. The air terminus of Goa at Dabolim lies on the outskirts of the city. It is also the railway terminus for passenger service on the South Central Railway.

Mormugao Harbour: This is placed at the distance of 34 km from the district headquarters and 4 km from Vasco-Da-Gama. This is one of the finest natural anchorages on the West Coast of India and the hub of intense maritime activity as well. Chandor (Chandar): This is placed at 9 km East of Margao. On late 18th Century this was the place for the menezes Braganza House. Previously it was owned by Lemon nationalist and Journalist Luis De Menezes. Braganza has a series of magnificent rooms especially the great salon with its fine furniture and the largest private library in Goa. This is a special attraction for the tourists.

Pleasure Island: This is Goa`s only backwater Country Resort on the island of Divar where one can experience the treasures of flora & fauna. People can enjoy a lot there as they can explore nature in the locations with bird watching at the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, crocodile spotting in the Cumbharjua Canal and more. You can also enjoy the pure and simple countryside ambience from the ethnic Goan riverside villas and provide boating as well as other recreational options.

The place is set in the ambience of a typical Goan village. The Resort is located only 9 kms from Panjim city. The panjim city is the commercial hub of Goa. This place is 32 kms from the airport and only 6 kms from Karmali railway station at Old Goa.

The following are some of the other important places, which are visited frequently by the tourists.

Aguada Fort: This is located at 18 kms away from the district headquarters. The Portuguese built this fort in 1609-1612. The main purpose of this was to command the entry into the river Mandovi, in order to protect Old Goa from potential enemy attacks. A spring within the fort once provided water supply to the ships that called there. A lighthouse is situated nearby to this fort.

Arvalem Caves: These celebrated caves of Arvalem are located in the west of Goa. This belongs to a remote era. This is near to the temple of Rudreshwar. This fort is of archaeological interest. A mythical background is attached to these caves. Some are of the opinion that these caves have been carved by the traveling Buddhist monks. An inscription is noticed on a Shivalinga with a circular top in cave No.2 Its in Sanskrit and in Brahmi characters of the 7th century A.D. It reads as Sambalura-vasi Ravih.

Arvalem Waterfalls: This is near the temple of Rudreshwar, one can descend the staircase to look at a majestic waterfall shedding its lively and sparkling silvery showers. This beautiful fall with a head of about 70ft. forms a sizeable lake at the bottom that offers a temptation to seasoned swimmers. The fall is best seen just after the copious monsoon, when it presents an ecstasy of pleasing and mutinous aspect.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls: This is situated at 60 kms. i.e. 10 kms from Colem Railway Station. This place is accessible by train only. Water comes down hundreds of feet in large volume, in cascades, which forms one of the most spectacular of all natural phenomena in Goa. It is also regarded as a lifeline of the ecosystem in one of the Sanctuaries. This is generally a popular destination to hikers and trekkers. It is also accessible by jeep route, which is 14 kms through the Bhagvan Mahavir Sanctuary. However, one needs to obtain prior permission from the Department of Forests at Junta House, Panaji to visit the place.

Kesarval Spring: This is located at 22 kms away. The spring originates from hard and compact rocks and people bathe in its water with strong belief that it has medicinal properties as well.

Mayem Lake: this is flowing at the distance of 35 kms surrounded amidst rolling green hills and is an ideal picnic spot. Good accommodation facilities are available in Cottages. Boating is also available on the lake. People often visit the place to enjoy its picturesque beauty.

Ancestral Goa: This is a center for Art, Culture & Environment. This is located at Loutolim, which is 9 kms from Margao, it is an aesthetically developed open-air site designed to illustrate Goa`s traditional past. Set in eco-friendly surroundings, this mock-up village traces 100 years of Goa`s lifestyles and heritage along with a depiction of daily village activity and folk culture. Local artifacts and handicrafts are also available at the handicraft center and art gallery. The legend of the Big Foot is narrated there, it is like that with a pure heart, place your foot on the rock embedded footprint and you will be blessed with luck. The Big Foot restaurants offers exotic Goan cuisine with spices, vegetables and fruits selected from the spice garden and fruit orchard. This is watered by an ancient system of irrigation. This is a bird habitat and a rubber plantation from which rubber is extracted and processed. Being a giant size footprint, `Big Foot`-the only designer dance floor in Goa that is used as a venue for the promotion of art, dance, music and traditional culture.

Another major attraction here is `Natural Harmony` i.e. the longest laterite monolythic sculpture in India measuring 14 x 5 metres which makes this a must see place for every visitor. This is sculpted in Greco-Roman style.

There are also some important gardens and parks in North Goa , which are scattered in all the major towns especially at Panaji, Margao, Mapusa and Vasco-da-Gama.

Rustic Plantation: It is situated on the extreme North-East of Goa at Dongurli village, Thane, Valpoi, Sattari. The Plantation is a rejuvenating experience that changes the whole lifetime. This is the place, which is situated in a valley amidst verdant mountains with grassy expanses, lush green fruit bearing trees and streams. Because of all these attractive natural beauty people always crave to visit the place.

Pascoal Spice Village: This is located near the village of Khandepar, which is 8 kms northeast of Ponda National Highway NH-4A. The lower end of the property is bounded by tributary of the Mandovi River and rises in elevation towards the hills of the interior. Spices are the vital ingredients of Goa`s well-known "chilly hot cuisine". They are still grown in Goa on large plantations along with other income producing crops like areca nuts, cashew nuts, coconuts, tropical fruit, etc. These plantations have managed to combine spices and tourism in a unique and favorable way. One of the first plantations to realize this potential was Pascoal Spice Village.

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Anjadiv Islands Nearest Attraction

Anjadiv / Anjadip / Angediva Islands
The Anjadiv (a.k.a Anjidiv) Islands, about a mile away from the village of Binaga in Karnataka, but belonging to the state of Goa, have been famous in Indian culture since the puranic period. A renaissance poet has described it as the "resting place of Venus and her beloved".....more