Diu, GujaratSep 25 2022 Attractions Gujarat Diu
General Information about Diu
Daman and Diu are the two tiny union territories which were the Portuguese enclaves. Geographically, Daman and Diu are the part of the state of Gujarat and connected to the mainland of Gujarat by a causeway.
Diu is a tiny island in the Arabian Sea, about 11 kms. long and 3 kms. wide, separated from the coast by a narrow channel running through the swamp and two tiny mainland enclaves. It is very difficult to reach here so one has to travel through the town of UNA. The northern side of the island facing Gujarat is tidal marsh and salt pans, while the southern coast alternates between limestone cliffs, rocky coves and sandy beaches.
The island’s main industries are fishing, tourism, booze and salt. This beautiful island has excellent golden beaches, whitewashed churches, bazaar, colourful Lisboa streets, gorgeous climate, huge Portuguese fort, lush seafood and Gujarati weekenders who flock for the cheap booze and sunshine. Gujarati, Hindi, English and Portuguese are the main languages which are spoken in Diu. The best time to visit Diu is from September to May.
History of Diu
Diu has a very long and glorious history that stretches back into legends and mythology. It was believed that Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata spent a part of their fourteen years exile in Diu. According to the legends, Diu was once ruled by the great king Jallandhar who was a demon and was killed by the Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshan Chakra.
Diu was the first settlement in India of the Parsis who came from Persia in the 7th century. Hi is was also ruled by the Mauryans during 320-322 BC and was the main trade center on the Saurashtra Coast. Between the 14th and 16th centuries It is was an important trading post and naval base from which the Ottomans controlled the northern Arabian Sea shipping routes.
Portugal made a unsuccessful attempt to capture the island in 1531, during which the Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat was assisted by the Turkish navy. The Portuguese finally secured control in 1535 by taking advantage of the war between the Sultan and Mughal emperor, Humayun. When the Humayun attacked the Sultan of Gujarat, the Gujarat Sultan entered into a treaty with the Portuguese in 1535 for their help against him and give them control over the Diu Port.
The treaty was soon ignored and although both Bahadur Shah and his successor, Sultan Mahmud III, attempted to contest the issue, the peace treaty that was eventually signed in 1539 ceded the island of Diu and the mainland enclave of Ghoghla to Portugal. The city was also rewarded to the Portuguese governor Nuno De Cunha, who constructed a fort in Diu and raised his arsenal.
Governor Joao de Castro finally seized Diu in 1546 and it remained a Portuguese enclave till its liberation in 1961 along with Daman and Goa. Seven Rajput soldiers and a few civilians were killed in the Operation Vijay, which ended Portuguese rule in 1961. Diu was taken over by India in 1961. With Daman, it is still governed from Delhi as a Union Territory.
Festivals in Diu
A grand festival of culture and sporting activities is held for 5 days from 19 to 23 December every year to commemorate Diu’s Liberation Day. In this festival various folk performers and traditional craftsmen expose their talents in order to keep the heritage of Diu alive.
How to reach Diu
Diu is easily connected by air and has regular flights to Mumbai.
Diu has excellent all weather road links with the major cities of Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Baroda.
The nearest railway station is located at Delwada, between Una and Ghoghla and is only about 8 kms. from Diu.
Tourist Attractions in Diu
Fort is a very large and imposing structure, situated on the coast of the island. This fort was constructed between 1535 and 1541 AD after the treaty signed between the Sultan of Gujarat and the Portuguese. The fort is surrounded by the sea on the three sides and a canal on the fourth side. The fort offers a magnificent view of sea. On the fort stands a giant structure which now houses a Light House and the Diu jail.
The beam from the lighthouse reaches to about 32 kms. Several canons are still located on the top of the fort and peep out of the holes on the walls of this gigantic structure. Fortress of Panikota Fortress of Panikota is a magnificent stone structure in the sea, built right at the mouth of the creek.
This fortress can be reached only by a canoe or a motor launch. This fortress has a light house and small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea. The fortress offers a very beautiful view whether seen from the jetty, from the Fort, from the village of Ghoghla or from Diu proper.
Gangeshwar Temple is situated 3 kms away from the Diu town in Fudam village. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are five lingas which are located in the middle of the rocks on the seashore, and are washed by the waves of the sea. It is believed that these lingas were established here by the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata during their exile.
St. Paul’s Church
St. Paul’s Church is dedicated to the Lady of Immaculate Conception. This church was built during the 17th century and the most elaborate of all Portuguese churches in India. St. Paul’s Church was founded by Jesuits in 1600 and then rebuilt in 1807. Inside it is a great barn, filled with heavy dark wood, with a small cloister, next door. The main entrance of the church is adorned with volutes and shell-like motifs.
Jallandhar Shrine is located on a hill close to the beach. This small shrine crowned with a dome, contains a niche where a stone carved face of the demon Jallandhar can be seen. Near to this shrine, the temple of Goddess Chandrika is located.
Earlier there was no building in Diu to house the antique statues and various stone inscriptions, so the old St. Thomas Church was converted into Diu museum. Diu Museum houses wooden carvings, statues, idols, shadow clocks and other important artifacts collected from various sites.
St. Thomas Church
St. Thomas Church is a lovely simple building housing the Diu Museum. There is a spooky, evocative collection of worn Catholic statues. Once a year, on 1 November, this is used for a packed out mass. There are also some remains of the Jain temple. There is a guest house upstairs and you can also climb the roof for amazing views.
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi has been converted into a hospital, but is also sometimes used for services. The Portuguese descended population mostly live in this area, still called the foreigner’s quarter. Naida Caves
The Naida Caves are situated outside the city wall. These caves have an intriguing, overgrown network of square hewn hollows and steps leading off into nowhere. This is where the Portuguese hacked out their building materials.
The Shell Museum contains the shells collected by Captain Devjibhai Fulbaria. Captain Devjibhai Fulbaria, a merchant navy captain collected shells for almost 50 years. The amazing shells range from the silver abalone to folding shells.
Vanakbara is a fascinating little fishing village. It is great to wander around the port, packed with colorful fishing boats and bustling activity. It is best to watch this place at 9 AM when the fishing fleet returns and sells off its catch.
Ghoghla Beach is one of the most beautiful beach in Diu. This beach also offers various water sports facilities like parasailing etc.
Nagoa Beach is located in the Nagoa hamlet of the Bucharwada village. This beach stretches about 2 km from one end to the other. This long, palm-fringed beach is very beautiful and quiet and is in the horse-shoe shape. This beach is very safe for swimming.
Gomtimata Beach is located on the western end of the island. This is one of the best beaches of the region, long and secluded and spread with natural white sand.
Some of the other beaches within the easy reach of the Diu Town are Jallandhar, Chakratirth and the stunning Sunset Point. These beaches are very popular among the foreign tourists and a small, gentle curve is good for swimming and hassle free.