Vacationing in Daman and Diu

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Daman and Diu, two gems tucked away on the west coast of India, offer an enticing mix of cultures, history and wonderfully beautiful scenery to explore. Invariably, Daman and Diu are mentioned in the same breath. They constitute a Union Territory in an administrative sense; however, geographically they are two distinct coastal enclaves separated by about 750 km. Daman lies in the Khambat Gulf (Cambay), while Diu is a tiny island off the Kathiawad coast of Gujarat. They were Portuguese strongholds for over four centuries, along with Goa, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli, until they were declared independent from colonial rule in 1961. 

Reaching Daman 

I reached Vapi from Mumbai by the Shatabdi Express. Upon reaching the station, I booked a convenient taxi in Vapi to take me to Daman. It took me around 20 minutes to reach Daman from the station.  It was a very comfortable ride and it felt like I had reached my destination even before I had started the ride.  

Daman 

The Daman river divides the city into two distinct regions called Moti Daman (Big Daman) and Nain Daman (Little Daman). I had decided to spend a couple of days in Daman to explore the beautiful beaches of the city as well as its beautiful architectures- a remnant of its colonial past.  

Moti Daman’s moss-walled fort dominates the landscape. It is a vast sprawl of 30.000 square meters whose construction began in 1559 AD and lasted until the end of the 16th century. I spend a nice morning walking around the tidy, well-maintained grounds that house the residence of the governor, a church, a post office, a hospital and a nunnery. The charming cottages belong to the gentry from Portugal. A popular promenade has been made out of newly laid road which cradles the fort.  

From the fort is visible a ruin which once a Dominican monastery and thriving centre of theological studies. History is silent about how it deteriorated. Neither the guide nor the locals could provide me with any information as to how the church came to be in such a pitiful condition.  A public mass is held on the third Sunday of December, commemorating its patron, Saint Dominic. 

With Gujarat being a dry state, Daman attracts a host of weekend visitors which has led to the development of facilities such as the Damanganga Tourist Complex, which cater to just about everyone from family groups to businessmen. Within the Kadaiya Lake Garden the Mirasol Water Park one can enjoy a host of activities. I spent a quite splendid afternoon walking around the scenic beauty that is Kadaiya Lake Garden. 

Devka Beach 

Devka Beach sees plenty of weekend activity from pony and camel trips on the beach to tipplers filling up the many restaurants and hotels in the vicinity. The waters also cover rock formations giving it quite a mysterious vibe. As I prefer quieter areas, I spent some time at Jampore Beach, where you’re more likely to only sigh casuarinas and crashing waves onto the soft sand. It is a haven for swimming enthusiasts.   

Nashik to Diu 

From Daman, I went to Nashik where I had some relatives I needed to visit. After that, I decided that I would book a reliable cab from Nashik to Daman. As it is a long journey I wanted a good and experienced driver for this journey. This stretch of the journey took me well over 15 hours to complete. I was really excited about reaching Diu and couldn’t wait to start exploring this coastal city.  

Diu 

Diu has more to offer to a visitor than just sunshine, seafood and cheap bars. Multicultural history coupled with beautiful and natural wonders are some of the unexpected joys waiting to be discovered here.  

The Fort of Diu has a stunning 180-degree view over the Arabian Sea. The nearby creek was used by its Portuguese engineers as a moat; on three sides, the bastions of the fort descend steeply down to the sea below. I spent quite some time walking through this formidable sentinel of the 16th century, admiring the enormous lighthouse, magnificent stonework and grim-mouthed cannons which once repelled the siege of the Ottoman invaders. 

Nagoa Beach 

Nagoa Beach curves into a great horse-shoe creating a perfect spot for surfing, water sports or just hanging out with your friends and family. The lush Hoka trees, a type of branching palm species from Mozambique introduced by its former Portuguese rulers into Diu, really intrigued me. 

The Union Territory of Daman and Diu offers some serene views of nature and also lets one travel back in time through its numerous ruins and forts. It is a place to unwind from busy work life and is a place I would definitely like to return to.  
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