The union territory of Daman and Diu was once a Portuguese colony. The two places are often named together, but are not close to each other. Daman is a picturesque port town while Diu is an island 786 kms away.
Daman was seized from its Gujarati ruler by the Portuguese in 1531 but was only formally handed over to the Portuguese in 1559 by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. Diu became a Portuguese colony in 1539 after the signing of a peace treaty by the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah. The territories remained Portuguese colonies till they were liberated in 1961.
Daman is a tiny quaint settlement, spread over a small area of just 72 sq. km, and has become a popular weekend getaway for people from the neighbouring states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
It nestles quietly by the Arabian Sea on the West coast of India. Diu (once called Damao) makes up the other part of the Union Territory. It is a tiny island measuring less than 40 sq. km. and proudly proclaims to be the most exotic destination on the west coast of India.
In Daman, the most popular place is the long shore line at Devka. Nani Daman (or little Daman) on the North side, is the more touristy side, and is dotted with hotels and restaurants. Most of them have sprung up to cater to the thirsty population which descends on weekends from Gujarat ever since prohibition was imposed in the latter state. The Gandhi Park near the Daman jetty, the Nani Daman Fort (Fort of St. Jerome) and the Jain Temple near the river are worth visiting. The fishing jetty is picturesque. Moti Daman (or Great Daman) has Government buildings and traces of Portuguese architecture and the places of interest include the massive fort, the stately light house, the gardens, historic monuments and ancient Gothic style churches. The Se Cathedral inside the Moti Daman Fort dates back to the 17th century. The Jampore beach is a popular swimming spot but is not a spectacular beach.
Diu is an island interspersed with palm and coconut trees. The most prominent place of architectural interest is the magnificent and imposing Fort at Diu, situated at one end of the island. The Fort was completed in 1541. It has a double moat and the ancient cannons still point out from the ramparts. Other places of interest are the Fortress of Panikotha, St. Paul's Church, Diu Museum (earlier the St. Thomas's Church), Gangeshvar Temple and Jama Masjid.
The curved Nagoa beach is one of the many great beaches on the west coast of India. The beach is located in the Nagoa hamlet, in Burcharwada village, and is a short 20 minute drive from Diu. There are other beaches named Jallandhar, Chakratirth and Sunset Point.
Diu: The nearest railhead is Delwada, about 8 kms from Diu. From Delwada there are trains to Veraval, about 90 km from Diu. Regular bus services are in operation from many places in Gujarat, namely Somnath (80 km), Junagadh ( 164 kms0 Bhavnagar (180 km), Rajkot (200 km) and Daman (600 km).
Information courtesy Government of India
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.