Daman and Diu – Sand, Surf, and Serenity
For centuries, while the rest of India struggled to overthrow the yoke of British occupation, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu remained part of the Portuguese empire. It was after the rest of India gained independence, in 1961, that these were incorporated into the Indian republic. Goa, Daman and Diu made up one single union territory. In 1987, however, Goa was granted statehood; this means that Daman and Diu became a separate union territory. Daman and Diu are both picturesque districts nestled on the shores of the Arabian Sea, making them popular tourist attractions with people seeking a calm, leisurely getaway. Both places showcase the rich legacy of Portuguese architecture set amidst sprawling, luxuriant beaches.
How to Get There
The nearest major cities are Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Surat. Mumbai is the biggest international airport that is close to both Daman and Diu.
Reaching Daman –
The nearest railway station is at Vapi, some 12 kilometres away. Vapi is linked with the rest of western India with a number of passenger and even superfast trains. From Vapi station, Daman is a 20 minute taxi ride. Autorickshaws, shared taxis and state buses are available from Vapi to Daman.
Reaching Diu –
The island of Diu can be easily reached by air. Diu Airport is at a distance of about 5 km from the main town, somewhat to the north of Nagoa Beach. Regular flights operate from Mumbai to Diu.
Daman – City of Twin Forts
Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, Daman was known as Kalana Pavri (translated into the Marshlands where Lotus Blooms). The town is now an idyllic tourist getaway where people prefer to come and soak in the beauty of nature, the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea and the quiet elegance of the Damanganga River. The town is divided into Moti Daman and Nani Daman – on either side of the river. Two stately forts, beautiful churches and vast gardens make Daman a delight to visit.
Diu – Isle of Calm
Not for nothing has Diu been called the Island of Calm. Peace, serenity, and beauty reign supreme on this isle. But that is not all. Diu is full of churches, cathedrals, forts, and gateways – enough to hold a tourist’s amazement. An active travel and tourism campaign is attracting more and more domestic visitors to this island which has hitherto been famous mostly with European tourists.
Places to Visit in Daman & Diu
Attractions in Daman
- Jampore Beach – Smooth white sand, swaying coconut trees, and old ruins make this beach a great attraction and a serene experience.
- Devka Beach – Another captivating beach in Daman, preferred by families with small children due to the musical fountain and amusement park in the vicinity.
- Church of Our Lady of the Sea – This church is located in the Fort of Nani Daman; watch out for the statue of St. Jerome.
- Daman Ganga Tourist Complex – The tourist complex has a beautiful well-manicured garden and is a favorite with nature lovers.
- Fort of St.Jerome – This 17th century fort in Nani Daman was one of the main bastions of the Portuguese.
- Fort of Moti Daman – Having captured an Abyssinian citadel that existed here, the Portuguese built the fort of Moti Daman in 1559. The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is located within the fort.
- Light House – Located quite close to the Moti Daman fort is the stately Daman Lighthouse, a popular tourist attraction.
Other places to visit
- Church of Bom Jesus
- Church of Our Lady of Remedies
- Church of Our Lady of Angustias
- Jain Temple
Attractions in Diu
- Chakratirth Beach – This long and beautiful beach is one of the most popular in Diu and offers a relaxing experience.
- Nagoa Beach – Less frequented than other Diu beaches, the Nagoa beach offers sea swimming and snorkelling opportunities for the adventure-loving tourist.
- Diu Fort – Constructed in the 16th century to replace an earlier fortress, the Portuguese Fort of Diu was a grand sentinel of the island.
- St. Paul’s Church – This breathtaking white church is a classic example of colonial architecture. Watch out for the image of St. Mary at the altar which was carved out from a single log of Burmese teak.
- INS Khukri – A memorial dedicated to the officers and sailors of INS Khukri who went down with the naval ship during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971.
- Naida Caves – Natural caves right in the heart of Diu, the sight of filtering sunlight against the brown rocky cave faces is a mesmerising one.
Other places to visit –
- St.Thomas Church
- Jallandhar Beach
- Zampa Gateway
The cultural influence of over 450 years of Portuguese rule has translated into a beautiful Indo-European blend in Daman and Diu’s laidback lifestyle. The most significant evidence of the Portuguese influence in the region is seen in delightful colonial architecture found here. Tall spires, stately and intricately done facades, stain glass work, balconies, high chandeliers are typical of European architecture seen in the churches and cathedrals, and mansions of both Daman and Diu. The telltale influence of Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo schools of architecture can also been seen in the many forts, and mansions that pepper the western coast of India.
Best Time To Visit
Daman and Diu remain rather pleasant throughout the year. The Arabian Sea coast does, however, tend to become humid and uncomfortable during the summer and monsoon months. October through March, the autumn and winter months are the best to take a Daman and Diu vacation.
What to Buy
The most beautiful things that you will be taking back from your Daman and Diu holiday will certainly be the memories and the mesmerising beauty of nature. There are a number of small bazaars such as those in Nani Daman where you can pick up bric-a-brac and bamboo items.
What to Eat
Daman and Diu are full of small but excellent restaurants waiting to be discovered. There are a number of eateries specializing in Portuguese and Parsi cuisine that you may want to try