Route to serenity : Daman and Diu
Situated on the west coast of India, Daman and Diu is the second smallest union territory of India. Daman is a small part in the gulf of Khambat while Diu is an island joined to the mainland of Gujarat by a creek. It is full of picturesque sunbathed beaches which gratify the whims of sunbathers entirely. The untouched and unrivalled beauty of the place is a treat to the eyes and provides such calm to the senses, especially when you are a stressed city dweller. The place is a perfect refuge from the “Honk! Honk!” of cities. The environment is so serene that you lose yourself to the senses. From culture to history to religion to beauty, the place offers everything that one looks for in a vacation or a weekend trip.
Although Daman and Diu features a pleasant climate throughout the year but October to May is the perfect time to visit this exciting place. It can be reached by three modes of transport. The nearest international airport is Mumbai (193 kilometers) from where regular domestic flights operate to Diu Airport (5 kilometers from the town). The nearest railway station is Vapi (10 kilometers from the main town). Mumbai and Ahmadabad are two very important railway stations of the western railways, which are very close to Daman. Daman and Diu can also be reached by road. The national Highway 8 links Daman and Diu with Mumbai, Ahmadabad and Vadodara. While travelling from Diu bus stop to the main town, one also comes across the most famous beach in the town i.e. Nagoa beach. Buses, tongas, share taxis are the most convenient way to travel around the city and are cheap too as Daman and Diu is not a very popular tourist destination as yet.
Daman and Diu are most famous for its beaches where the perfect blend of sand, water and sun provides a perfect holiday. Although the beaches are not as popular as the Goan beaches but if you are looking for calm and untouched beauty then this is the place to be. The various beaches located here are: Nagoa beach, the most famous and most visited among all the others. It is around 5 kilometers from the town and can be visited by a shared taxi or the buses running around the city. The full stretch of the beach is around 2.5 kilometers and the minimal undercurrents and rocks make it fit for swimming. The other beach is Jallandhar beach, located at a distance of merely 1 kilometer from the main town of Diu and is a perfect destination for nature lovers and photo fanatics. If you have ever been to Goa and think that beaches are always full of people then this beach will change your mind as it is usually very isolated and tranquil. Located at a walking distance from the beach is the vegetarian market which might prove as a wonderful opportunity to meet the locals and know the culture better. Goghla beach which is located at a distance of about 3 kilometers from the town was relegated to the background in the past but now has gained popularity among tourists for the water sports activities that it provides. The Jampore beach, Devka Beach (3 kms from Nani Daman) and Chakratirth Beach are other beaches located around the town and are worth a visit.
Apart from beaches, Daman and Diu are also rich in religious places that can be visited. There are a number of Churches around the town which enhance the beauty of the place because of their architectural style and also provide the much required tranquility to the soul. St. Paul’s Church is one such monument, located in the middle of the town, the church is a wonder of Portuguese creativity. The beauty of the church can never be captured by any camera and one has to visit it to believe the above statement. It would not be wrong to call it the most ornate churches in the country. The Church is dedicated to “Our Lady of Immaculate Conception”. The church is amongst the finest examples of Baroque architecture in India. The intricately carved wooden interiors leave one awestruck at the beauty of it. Another such Church in the town is the Church of Our Lady. It is located at an overgrown square and has the most ancient Portuguese tombstones. A series of wooden panels depict through paintings, scenes of Jesus and his apostles. Cathedral of Bom Jesu is another church that can be visited.
St. Paul's Church
Wooden interiors of St. Paul's church
The union territory also has a prominent historical value. The Diu fort acquires a high-up position among the major tourist attractions in Daman and Diu. The fort is located at the Diu cost and can be visited by local buses running around the town or a shared or private taxi. It takes an hour and half to travel to the fort from the main town. The fort is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. It is also known as the Portuguese fort. It is skirted by sea on three sides and offers a magnificent view of the sea. The structure is very dominating and grand. The canons created by the Portuguese armory still stand very safe in the fort and are give a very good battle background of the place. It is a treat for all the history buffs. Diu jail, the lighthouse and St. Paul’s church are all the nearby tourist attractions within the range of a kilometer or so and can be visited in one go. The INS khukri memorial (Diu) which is under naval restriction is another major tourist center of the town which is very enriching to know more better about naval engineering. The Diu museums, Misoral Lake Garden (Daman), Nani Daman are among some of the other places that are worth a visit.
INS Khukri memorial
Daman and Diu as is known are a heaven for all those want to get high and lose themselves to the senses. One might have to wander a lot to find a café but not so much for a bar. The union territory is known for its liquor across the county. There are very restaurants which offer amazing sea food like, O’ Coqueiro, the resort Hoka, Daman delight restaurant are few which need a special mention. If you are looking for shopping then foreign market (for foreign goods), beach shopping near Devka Beach which is a great shopping option for electronic goods, gift articles etc and a number of good shops are available across the union territory as shopping option for country liquor.
If you are looking for sunny beaches and scrumptious food for a perfect weekend then Daman and Diu is the place to be. Plan a visit to explore this not so popular tourist destination for a rejuvenating experience.