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Places to visit in Daman and Diu

Discussion in 'West India' started by Nyfsa, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Nyfsa

    Nyfsa New Member

    I am going to my hometown for a holiday which is in Gujarat. I will be spending some time there and then would like to go to Daman and Diu.

    I have relatives in Gujarat, but I would rather not ask them for advice, as they will be come up with things which would not even be relevant or just suggest places which would be a waste of time to visit. It is why I have registered with the forum to find out from some more travel oriented people what places to visit in Daman and Diu.

    I have planned a weeks stay in Daman and Diu, do you think this is enough?
     
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Moderator Staff Member

    Hello, @Nyfsa, welcome to the forum!


    Overview

    Daman and Diu are sometimes considered as one destination, though the road distance between these two places is around 633 kilometres. Both were once Portuguese colonies and are now designated union territories of India. They can be divided into two districts, namely, the district of Daman and the district of Diu. They are both coastal areas too, surrounded by the Arabian sea on their western side. To the north is the state of Gujarat, to the east is the state of Madhya Pradesh and to the west is the state of Maharashtra. Though both offers lots in terms of heritage and idyllic beach getaways, they are not as popular as Goa, yet another beach destination that was once a colony of the Portuguese too. You might find a few locals from Gujarat or Maharashtra enjoying the picturesque destinations but still they remain less crowded than other beach destinations in the country.

    Daman - Places to Visit

    First we have Daman, which is merely 171 kilometres away from Mumbai. Daman can be divided into two parts, with the Daman Ganga River between them, which are: Nani Daman and Moti Daman. Nani Daman, translated to Smaller Daman, is the commercial area of the district where hotels, restaurants and markets can be found. Moti Daman, translated to Greater Daman, is where the heritage sites and administrative offices can be found. Historically, Daman was found by accident by the Portuguese captain, Diogo de Mello during the 15th century. Thereafter, as they say, is history, because within 400 years, the territory was conquered by the Portuguese rulers. It was only in the middle of the 19th century that the territory was given its independence from the colonial rulers.

    Historical
    • Nani Daman Fort - The Nani Daman Fort is also known as the St. Jerome's Fort. It is located in Smaller Daman, or Nani Daman, housing a statue of St. Jerome, from which it was named after. As you enter the fort, a large gateway would greet you, flanked by sculptures of humans on either side with the statue of St. Jerome at the top and the uppermost part having a large cross sign. Much of the inner structures are already in ruins but the walls remain quite intact. This fort was built by none other than the Portuguese and served as their headquarters during their reign in the region. You can also visit the Our Lady of the Sea Church inside the fort. This small church has a beige facade with green accents, which makes it seemingly camouflaged with the surroundings. The interiors are very simple, with a few paintings depicting scenes from the bible. This church is functional too as masses, both in English and Portuguese, are still done here. Last, you can also visit the small graveyard within the fort, which exudes this Portuguese era vibe. The view of the Daman Ganga River from the fort is very picturesque, especially during sunset, but make sure you climb the rampant slowly if you want a better view of the river.
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    Nani Daman Fort (Image from Girls on the Go)
    • Moti Daman Fort - The Moti Daman Fort is a larger structure and can be considered as a living fort. Aside from the Portuguese structures, the fort is also home to some residents of the region. You can reach the Moti Daman Fort by riding a boat from the other side of the river or by crossing the bridge which connects the Moti Daman area with the Nani Daman area. The Moti Daman Fort has two large gateways although they are not intricately carved unlike the former fort. Built over many years from the beginning of the 16th century until its end, the fort has interesting structures inside it. The Cathedral of Bom Jesus lies within the fort area, almost as old as the fort itself. The church has a pure creamy white facade, with a wooden door and window. The interiors, especially the altar, are worth remarking on though. The richly ornamented walls, the gilded wooden altar and the painted ceilings are sure to transport you to the Portuguese era. There's also the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is just close to the previous church. It has a gilded altar too, housing the statue of Mary of the Rosary, as well as various paintings in its walls. The ruins of the Dominican Monastery is also worth visiting. The structure is mostly in a dilapidated condition, the roof have already collapsed and only the walls remain. Once upon a time though, the monastery was the seat of power for the Dominican friars of the region. Other structures worth exploring around the fort are the Pargola Memorial Garden, Old Lighthouse and New Lighthouse.
    Religious
    • Somnath Mahadev Temple - The Somnath Mahadev Temple is a fairly modern temple in Daman, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in the village of Dabhael, about 10 kilometres away from Daman proper. The temple has exquisite glass interiors and the main sanctum where the deity's statue is located has air-conditioning. There's a rush in pilgrims during Mondays and auspicious festivals but it largely remains deserted during the other days. For the devout Hindu, it's a must visit attraction, to get the blessing of the Lord Shiva.
    Beaches
    • Jampore Beach - This beach is about three kilometres away from Moti Daman, to its south. The Jampore Beach has quite nice shores, with powdery sands, that are almost brownish in colour. The water is quite okay, clean enough for you to dip your feet into for a few metres. The beach is very lively, with lots of shacks and activities all around. Water sports such as parasailing, boating and kayaking can be enjoyed. Fun activities like horse riding, camel riding and bike riding can be done on the shores of the beach as well. Of course, Daman being the alcohol getaway of locals from the nearby state of Gujarat, there are many stalls too offering such beverages. The beach is safe though as there are plenty of police patrols around. Sunsets are best enjoyed here as the sands provide for great sitting areas while you wait for the orange hues of the sun to set.
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    Jampore Beach (Image from Lucky Preetham)
    • Devka Beach - This beach is about three kilometres away from Nani Daman, to its north. The Devka Beach has blackish shores, with rocks interspersed all along the coastline. It's best to use shoes when strolling around the shores of the beach because pebbles make the walk a bit uncomfortable especially if you're barefooted. The water is not that suitable for swimming too because of the rocky seabed. There are some activities though like camel riding and horse riding that one can do around the shores. Further, the presence of numerous shacks and restaurants means you can enjoy the sea view while dining on authentic seafood dishes.
    Recreation
    • Mirasol Lake Garden and Water Park - This theme park is located close to Nani Daman. It is just a small theme park, with both an amusement park area and a water park area. You need to pay an entry fee, which is just at Rs. 10, to enter the park premises. From thereafter, you can pay for whatever dry rides you would like to try. There's a small toy train, a children's play area, lake with boating facilities and a restaurant. There's a separate entry fee for the water park, about Rs. 800 per person. The water park has a swimming pool, wave pool and some slides which the little ones can enjoy. Though not a must visit, the Mirasol Lake Garden and Water Park can be added into your itinerary if you have some days to spare in Daman.
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    Mirasol Lake Garden and Water Park (Image from Mouth Shut)
    • Devka Amusement Park - This amusement park is located right next to the Devka Beach. There's an entry fee of Rs. 15 per head to enter the park. If you have little children with you, they can enjoy the rides here, which are on a per ride payment basis. There's a toy train, bump car, merry go round, some slides and swings that the little ones can enjoy. The area is surrounded by lush greenery too, with some benches for the relaxation of the elders. If you don't have children with you though, this attraction can be skipped.
    • Daman Ganga Tourist Complex - Last is the Daman Ganga Tourist Complex, nestled between the Nani Daman and Moti Daman. This is mainly a tourist complex, with some recreational facilities such as boating, snack stalls, gardens and an amphitheatre. It provides a great view of the Arabian sea too. However, if you're pressed for time, this attraction can be skipped since it isn't relevant to the history or heritage of the city.
    Daman is a small city and you can cover these attractions within a day or two. After which, you can head on to Diu, which is really the touristy part of the Daman and Diu union territory. Diu is about 12 to 13 hours of driving away from Daman. There are buses that ply between this route too, if you decide to take public transportation. Allot at least a day for transfer between Daman and Diu.

    Diu - Places to Visit

    On the other hand, we have Diu, the one side of the union territory. It is closer to the state of Gujarat, as Ahmedabad is merely 359 kilometres away from it. Much like Daman, Diu was a Portuguese colony for over a hundred years. Even before that, Diu was conquered by various rulers like the Mauryans, Guptas and even the Chalukyas. Before the Portuguese set their feet in the coastal town of Diu, from the 14th until the early 16th centuries, the Sultanate of Gujarat ruled the land. With such long history behind it, Diu is a history lover's delight and more so, because the forts and various structures within it have been well preserved over time.

    Historical
    • Diu Fort - Starting this section is none other than the Diu Fort, a fortification built by the Portuguese over many years during the 15th century. The fort is massive, surrounded by the sea on its three sides and by land on its one side. Even the land side of the fort is surrounded by deep trenches filled with water so enemy entry is very much restricted. As you enter the fort from the gateway, there are two areas, to the right is the Diu Jail, a working jail where criminals in the vicinity are detained, and to the left is the fort proper area where visitors are allowed to explore. The fort is a defensive structure, as evidenced by the bastions, barracks, artillery rooms and cannons in various areas. You can also explore the old lighthouse area where you can get a panoramic view of the sea. Also worth exploring is the living quarters where people with communicable diseases were detained. Only a rope provides for their outside communication with the world. The Diu Fort, the means of entry of the Portuguese to Diu, is an interesting piece of history. Eventually, it lead to the conquering of the Portuguese of the territory from the Sultanate of Gujarat.
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    Diu Fort (Image from Krishna Vir Singh)
    • Fortim Do Mar - Take a boat ride from the Diu Fort to reach the Fortim Do Mar. It is also known as Pani Kotha, a white, boat-shaped like structure, in the midst of the Arabian Sea. Entry to the fortress is prohibited though so you can only see it from the outside. It is believed to have been a prison during the time of the Portuguese, this is where they imprisoned political enemies. The location makes it so that the prisoner has no way of escaping. You can also view the lighthouse which towers over the structure, as well as the old Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel outside of it.
    • INS Khukery - The INS Khukery is mainly a memorial for the brave soldiers who lost their lives during Indo-Pakistan War. The soldiers who lost their lives, along with their commander, Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla, are remembered in this memorial. The ship that they were boarding were torpedoed by a Pakistani submarine. Instead of surrendering, Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla chose to die, along with the Indian soldiers. The memorial has a small ship on display as well mimicking the INS Khukery itself.
    • Zampa Gateway - This is actually the gate that you'd encounter as you enter the town of Diu. In the past, the Diu Fort has had its entrance here, evidenced by the old walls around the new gateway. The government has built a new bright, red gateway though to welcome guests entering the town of Diu. The huge gateway was built using red sandstone, which takes one back to the bygone era. A huge cross dominates the uppermost part of the gateway, which again, gives one a vibe of the colonial Portuguese rule.
    Religious
    • Gangeshwar Temple - The Gangeshwar Temple is located in between the Diu Fort and Nagoa Beach. It is not your typical temple though because there is no towering gopuram nor beautifully carved walls. The temple is situated upon a rock-cut cave, with five shivalingas in the shores of the beach itself. During high tide, these shivalingas are covered by the water from the Arabian sea. From the outside, the temple has a simple white facade and you need to climb a few steps downwards to reach the shivalingas proper. According to legends, the shivalingas were built by the Pandava brothers during their exile, as noted in the epic Mahabharata. Each shivalinga differs in size from the other, depending on which Pandava brother built it.
    Beaches
    • Nagoa Beach - Nagoa Beach is perhaps Diu's most lively and vibrant beach. The sand of the shores has a mixture of different hues, from black, to golden, up to greyish. Interspersed amidst the sands are little pebbles which make the stroll even more enticing. Water is very clean too though the rocky sea bed might be a bit dangerous especially for little children. Nagoa Beach has plenty of water sports that one can enjoy like jet skiing, banana boat riding, water scootering, water skiing, parasailing and many more. There are some food shacks around the shores too offering coconut drinks, corn on the cobs and some more snacks. There are a few restaurants too that one can choose from. Despite all these activities, Nagoa Beach remains relatively quiet, especially on weekdays. Even families enjoy the safety and vibrancy of the beach.
    • Ghogla Beach - Ghogla Beach is bit further from the city centre of Diu. The sand of the beach is very fine, with very little particles to it, enough for enjoying a barefoot stroll around. The water is equally enticing, very clear, with a soft sea bed, perfect for swimming or frolicking in. There are a few water sports available like boating, jet skiing, banana boat riding and parasailing too. If you have children with you, the water of the beach gradually deepens so they can enjoy swimming in the shallower parts. The only downside with this beach is the lack of facilities like food and bathrooms. But there's one resort nearby where you can opt to stay in if you'd like to be close to the beach.
    [​IMG]
    Ghogla Beach (Image from Group Outing)
    • Jallandhar Beach - This beach is close to the INS Khukery and remains unknown to many tourists. It has nice golden shores and greenish waters but there are rocky beds in some parts. The beach is not yet that developed so there are limited food stalls around. Most tourists who visit the INS Khukery and Naida Caves give this beach a visit. If you want a more serene and tranquil beach experience, Jallandhar Beach is perfect for that. The nearby Jallandhar Shrine is also worth visiting, where a stone-carved statue of the demon Jallandhar can be found. The shrine is located upon a hillock and is regarded sacred by Krishna devotees.
    • Chakratirth Beach - The Chakratirth Beach is located next to the INS Khukery itself. It has a rocky shoreline and is fairly smaller as compared to the other beaches. There are no proper food stalls nor restaurants nearby too. However, the view of the sunset here is very stunning, especially as it's coupled with lesser crowds. The surrounding coconut trees, greenery on one side of the beach, adds to the overall beauty. The waves of the beach are minimal so you can enjoy frolicking in the water too.
    • Gomatimata Beach - This beach is located on the westernmost part of Diu. It is underdeveloped but has a nice stretch of creamy shores and clear waters. There are no water sports, activities or any other tourist facilities here. Plus, there are no proper resorts nearby so you need to visit it during day time only. If you're looking for an isolated and pristine beach in Diu, Gomatimata Beach fits that requirement. The view of the local fishermen gathering their catches early in the day can also be very relaxing. Since it is nearby to the port, you can also spot distant ships as they are entering or leaving the area.
    Museums
    • Shell Museum - This museum is located close to the Diu Airport. The museum is spread over two storeys, showcasing the seashell collections of a former navy soldier, Captain Fulbaria. The entry fee is very minimal at Rs. 20 per head, although photography has an extra charge of Rs. 100 per camera. The collection is very extensive, with various seashells around the world, over 5,000 types to be exact. There are also some other displays of the fossils of marine animals like fishes, crabs and lobsters. Some specimens are too small to be seen by the naked eye so magnifying glasses are also provided for the convenience of guests.
    • Diu Museum - This museum is located within the St. Thomas Church. The church was built around the 16th century but was converted into a museum after the rule of the Portuguese. It features statues of saints like St. Thomas and St. Benedict. The statues were made from wooden and marble materials. It's a small museum that can take around an hour or two to complete. The detailing of the church itself is quite ancient, with intricate wood carvings that are worth exploring.
    Nature
    • Naida Caves - Last is the Naida Caves, a labyrinth of natural caves with an interesting story behind it. According to scholars, the caves were once rocks which were quarried into by the Portuguese as they were building the Diu Fort. They took some parts of the rocks for the building of their fort. Over time, the rocks formed these natural cave-like structures, with sunlight streaming in some parts of it. The lush greenery surrounding the caves also provide some respite from the heat. Strolling around the natural cave formations can be very adventurous and thrilling, especially since this is one of the lesser known attractions around Diu.
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    Naida Caves (Image from Radhi Pandit)

    Diu is also just a small city and you can cover all these attractions within three to four days. After which, you can head home or to your next destination in India. Taking that into account, a week is more than enough to explore the cities of both Daman and Diu, even considering the transfer between the two cities.

    Conclusion

    Wondering which places can give you a glimpse of the Portuguese era? You can try the coastal cities of Daman and Diu, where you are rewarded not just with a heritage-filled adventure, but also with beach getaways. You won't need to reach Goa to have that experience of the Portuguese rule or even the serene beaches getaway. Located close to the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, this union territory deserves a mention too when talking about the best historical sites in the country.

    I hope this helps you!:)
     

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