Diu has an airport which is located in Nagoa, with daily flight connectivity with Mumbai.Book with us
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The shadows at Diu turn a wee bit Portuguese and sometimes literally with the shadow clocks. In 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, struck a defensive alliance with the Portuguese to take on the Mughal emperor Humayun, and allowed them to construct the Diu Fort and maintain a garrison that became a reign on the island till 1961. They repelled the Ottomans, the Muscat Arabs and the Dutch. The fortress, the old Portuguese Cathedral and a low skyline are like memory capsules for this fishing town that once was more. With limestone cliffs, rocky caves, quaint churches and virgin beaches, this is a wander-lusting paradise that allows for afternoon siestas and memorable marine drives. The town of Diu, with a serene coastal length of 21 kms., is located near the coast of Kathiyawad region at Veraval port and is surrounded by the Arabian sea on three sides. The northern part of Diu, is surrounded by Amreli and Junagadh town of Gujarat.
Daman, the other sibling amongst the Union territory twins, is a tiny enclave sandwiched between the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Arabian Sea, blessed with nature’s bounty and beauty. It is split by the Daman Ganga River into two parts, namely Nani-daman (Nani meaning “small”) and Moti-daman (Moti meaning “big”). A quirk of fate brought it under Portuguese suzerainty. The Portuguese Diogo de Melo, intended for Ormuz, got tossed around in a violent storm to the coast of Daman in 1523. It was formally ceded to Portugal by the Sultanate of Gujarat in 1539. With a history that dates 2000 years back and that runs like a thriller with conquests, surrenders and rulers, life is a still paradise with a certain sossegad common to most of the erstwhile Portuguese colonies. With Casuarina windbreaks, tranquil beaches, silver talcum sands that don’t rush you while you pore through ancient monuments and pages of colonial history, its dolloped by both an affable climate and people. Daman is known for its mat weaving, ivory carving, folk motifs while Diu is known for its weaving and dyeing.
If misery is defined by being between the devil and the deep sea, then one could say that a state of languor and sossegad lies between Diu and Daman.
Diu has an airport which is located in Nagoa, with daily flight connectivity with Mumbai.Book with us
Diu and Daman are connected by National Highways to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Vadodara, Daman,etc.Book with us
Vapi railway station is the nearest railway station for Daman, being 12 kms. away while the Dilwara railway station is closely located to Diu.Book with us
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Naariyal Poornima in Diu which heralds the fishing season
Christmas in Daman
The beaches in Daman and Diu can give a husky fight to the ones in Goa or Kerala, pound for pound. Golden shorelines, lush green casuarina groves and black sand make the Jampore beach, south of Moti Daman one of the star draws. Without under currents and high tides, the waters are safe for kids and uncertain swimmers. Devka Beach, Daman offers a similar mood and is recommended for restful beachcombers who dig lazy sundowners. Here though one needs to be careful of the rocky formations beneath the water. The fountain and the amusement park keep the kids occupied. Diu’s crowning glory is Nagoa. The shoe shaped Nagoa Beach, bordered by the African Hoka and Rukhada trees, brought in by Arab Traders to India is a quiet paradise of 2 kms. devoid of hawkers and debris. Restless travellers get to adventure with sky sailing, water skiing and boating which promise to get you your share of facebook likes. Set in Bucharwada village, Nagoa offers serenity and solitude in equal measure with some of the most beautiful colours when dawn hits the sky. Ghoghla beach near the city centre is clean, quiet and the largest beach in Diu with stunning views of the Diu fort and occasional sightings of Dolphins. Alas, one can’t recommend sundowners here as it faces the east. The Gomatimata Beach towards the west of Nagoa, is distinct for the temple situated on the white sandy beach. It is not recommended for swimming though owing to its massive waves that can rise to 2-3 metres.
Dotted with delicate Portuguese - Roman architecture, its best evidenced at the Basilica of Bom Jesus where faith and skill combined in 1559 to create a magnificent structure that was consecrated in 1603. With a wooden altar, painted gold, the six saints commemorated with intricate statues this cathedral is a treat for the faith and the eyes.
One of the oldest churches in Diu, built in 1593, overlooks the Arabian sea. Today a hospital, it was the friary of the Franciscans. Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher.
The Zampa gateway in Diu, resplendent red in colour, dates back to the medieval era. It is the main entrance to Diu city’s residential colonies. Built in red sandstone, with carvings of lions, angels and lo a priest, you are heralded by two slender figurines. You will also bump into a chapel which has writings traced to the year 1702.
The Vanakbara fishing village is a dinky little fishing village to the west of Diu, jostling with its colourful, bright and smiling boats, preening with their fresh catch from the sea in the early morning hours. Its 10,000 inhabitants simply know how to fish and more. With a jetty that handles around 900 mechanised trawlers, 250 fibreglass boats and 300 small boats, their fishing adventures take them near Okha, Dwarka on the Gujarat coast and up to Goa and Maharashtra. Each trip is around 12 days. Every ship has 8-10 fishermen and one captain or the Tandel to navigate the vessel. The 12-day trip, needs about 2,500 litres of diesel and 8-10 tonnes of ice, necessary for cold storage on board to bring the fish back. Warming of temperatures often push the fish away to colder waters and deeper seas. Their adventures bring back soul for the Pescatarian’s plate with mackerels, Bombay Ducks, clams, flat fish, ribbon fish prawns, pomfrets, threadfins and more. Once the fish haul is on the shore, the merchants and enterprising women with the voices that carry the farthest take over, and felicity of trade and quick bargains hold sway. A local economy dependent on the bounties of the sea comes alive full throttle. Till the next adventure brings back a bigger catch.
Located towards the north of the River Daman Ganga, on its bank, is St. Jerome Fort an ancient citadel, named after an eminent theologian and scholar of Latin whose benevolent statue greets you at the entrance, preceded by a pair of figurines, suspended in time. St. Jerome, was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius in 342 at Stridonius (now Bosnia / Herzgovina) and lived as the most scholarly of the Fathers of the Western Church and remembered as the translator of the holy scriptures into Latin called the Vulgate, the official biblical text of the Roman Catholic Church. The St. Jerome Fort with a church, a cemetery and now ruins across nearly 13000 sq meters, was the vision of Dom Jeronimo de Azevado, the 12 th Portuguese Viceroy of India. Initiated in 1614 AD and completed in 1672. The large stolid gateway overlooks the gentle Daman Ganga river with its fishing boats docked on its bank. The principal draw in the fort, is Our Lady of the Sea Church, used as a school now.
The museum is housed in the St. Thomas Church, Diu. With shadow clocks, stone relics, wooden carvings, idols, stone remnants of a Jain temple, antique statues and fountains, this gothic edifice built in 1598 is a keen history buff’s haunt.
Built in 1559, across 30,000 sq meters, this Polygon shaped Portuguese fort dishes out some of the most surreal views across the water right to Nani Daman from the bulwarks near the light house, apart from 10 citadels and 2 gateways. Its cannons proudly bear the crest and the year of manufacture. The house of Portuguese Poet Bocage is situated close to the main Entrance of the Fort, identified with a marble tombstone. The Fort houses several government offices, the local hospital, the Cathedral of Bom Jesus, the Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary and the Dominican Monastary.
The war with Pakistan, in 1971, saw INS Khukri, a naval ship torpedoed by a submarine on December 9, 40 nautical miles off the coast of Diu, the only ship which the valiant Indian Navy has ever lost in battle. But the story of uncharacteristic valour just begins here. 194 sailors lost their lives and the commanding officer Mahendra Nath Mullah, refused to abandon the ship and went into sea with it displaying an unbending spirit. A memorial for the valiant martyrs, the memorial in the shape of a model ship enclosed in a glass case was erected in 1999. There is an amphitheatre adjacent to it, where the sublime sunrise, holds the light for these brave sons.
Born of an uneasy defensive alliance between the ruler of Gujarat Bahadur Shah and the Portuguese, Diu fort began its life as a garrison and ended as a red carpet for the Portuguese to take over the region and reign till 1961. Built in 1535, and fortified till 1546, this huge fort on a hill offers commandeering views of the Arabian Sea. There are two walls — the outer and the inner one — with moat in between and a bridge across that allows you to access it. The bastion with its bronze cannons facing the sea almost echoes a quiet blast into the past. The light house built on the topmost portion of the fort offers fantastic views of the sea. Housing a few old churches, small buildings and a tunnel within the complex, a part of this fort is still being used as a jail. Lit at night, it looks surreal. On the way to the fort, built right at the mouth of the creek, one can see ship-like structure in the sea. It turns out to be actually a fort named ‘Fort of Panikota’ or ‘Fortindo Mar’ and houses a small light house and a chapel. Legend has it that this sea structure was once connected with land by an under-sea tunnel.
The Naida caves are an interconnected maze of tunnels and square hewn steps that play hide and seek with the sunlight. A gem of an offbeat retreat and a photographer’s manna to explore in Diu, it is believed to have been used by the Portuguese to extract building material for the Diu Fort. These caves have a natural aperture in the ground and hide Hokka trees. If you were to mistaken it for a set of an Indiana Jones adventure, you would be forgiven. One can access Naida Caves through Delwada, the closest railway station or simply hail a three wheeler.
These glorious monastery ruins of walls and altars echo what once would have been a grand college for theological studies that drew scholars of the Catholic faith. The tall walls were originally the altar of the Franciscan convent, intricately carved with beautiful floral motifs. The grand religious mass of St. Dominic is hosted every year on the 3rd Sunday of December, that draws many tourists and pilgrims. The second festival, held on the 2nd of February fills you in on the religious stories and accounts of the monastery’s past through a litany. The downfall of this globally renowned seminary is still shrouded in mystery.
St. Paul’s Church which is similar in design like Bom Jesus Basilica of Goa was constructed in year 1610. Both of these churches are built by Portuguese.
Daman is split into two by the Daman Ganga river. Strangely so, Nani-daman (Small Daman) happens to be bigger in size while Moti Daman (Big Daman) is the smaller, older part.
As per mythology, Diu was ruled by a ‘Daitya’ (Demon-king) called Jallandhar, who was beheaded by Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshan-Chakra (flying discus). Diu draws its name from the Sanskrit word Dweep which means island. Daman called Damao by the Portuguese in ancient times was a part of a kingdom known as Lata.