Of all India’s union territories. Daman & Diu is the most significant place. Located in Gujarat, the small coastal island towns are outlined by the vast Arabian Sea. They are both separated from each other by a distance of more than 600 km, but yet, they’re addressed together as one place. It is also very close to Mumbai.
Just like Goa, Daman & Diu was also under the Portugal rulers. It was their territory for many years, and that’s why you can still find the both the places reflect more of a Portuguese look than an Indian one. From their monuments to churches to roads, everything speaks of a different era and a different rule. Here are five highlights of this coastal paradise.
1. Chakratirth Beach, Diu
The best thing about coastal towns is that there are plenty of beaches. Since Daman & Diu are visited less than party capitals like Goa (to check out popular beaches in India, read Top 5 Exotic Beaches in India), you’ll find most beaches are less crowded here. Among all these beaches, Chakratirth Beach is the most visited.
There are some fabulous resorts and shops near the beach. But people rush to Chakratirth because of the lovely Sunset Point nearby. Sunset Point is actually a small hillock near the beach from where you can catch a mesmerising view of the sun going down the horizon. It’s enchanting to watch, and the beach in itself is stunning. Since it’s also at the centre of the town, you have access to all the facilities that the town offers.
2. St. Paul’s Church, Diu
Portuguese churches are world-famous for their breathtaking and detailed architecture and their larger-than-life constructions. This infamous church is one such example of a rich and lively Portugal rule during the 16th century.
It is built in the Baroque architectural style which is very common in the other Portuguese churches built in India. The interior of the church is intricately carved with smooth wood that gives it a rustic appeal. The altar is probably the most attractive part of the structure with a large image of St. Mary carved out of a single piece of Burmese teak. It is then outlined by precisely 101 candles. The church also has many paintings that increase its charm further.
Its construction was completed in 1610 AD, and it was then dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The town of Diu has three churches built during the Portugal era, but nothing boasts of their power, art and skills like St. Paul’s Church. It’s marvellous, and people from all over the world pay a visit to this church during their tour of India.
3. Diu Fort, Diu
There are so many things to see in and outside the fort that it had to be on this list. In a recent data released by Portuguese, stating the top 7 wonders of Portuguese architecture across the world, the Diu Fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa were on the list. This is a huge achievement and a valid reason for you to visit this masterpiece of a fort.
The fort was built by the Portuguese itself during their rule. A long story full of political agendas are behind the building of this massive fort, and no one can narrate it better than the local folks themselves.
The fort is situated next to the sea, and at the end of it, there is a lighthouse which still stands strong today. From up there, you can gaze at the unending sea and the ruins of a fort that was once buzzing with the trade of spices from one country to another. It is actually a fort-cum-palace so you can imagine its sheer massiveness. The fort boundary holds three churches, many Gothic and Portuguese styled bungalows and several Havelis (mansions of Indian style).
Another very significant sight in the fort is the Gangeshwar Temple. This is a cave-like temple built of stones. It is in ruins now, but people still come here to see the five Shiv Lings that were supposedly made by the five Pandavas (main characters of the epic Mahabharata) themselves. Therefore, this place has a religious significance too.
Also, remember to visit Panikota Fort which is in the Diu Fort itself. It was a jail earlier.
4. Naida Caves, Diu
These exceptional caves are situated right on the periphery of the Diu Fort.
Naida Caves almost looks like the set of an Indiana Jones movie. It is beautiful, exciting and enchanting; all at the same time. You can see a lot of photographers clicking away some amazing shots here.
With sunlit canyons and square stone blocks, Naida Caves is an ideal exploration spot. Plus, you can definitely get that perfect Instagram shot here. The caves have many pathways within that you can stroll through.
5. Mirasol Lake Garden, Daman
If you want to go for a family outing, this is the place. It is a calm and peaceful human-made retreat where you can relax without any disturbance.
There is a beautiful green coloured lake which is the main attraction. In addition to that, two small islands are connected by cute bridges here. Lush greenery surrounds the place. Boat rides are delightful in the lake. There is a lovely garden in there as well which is adorned by a splendid fountain.
To make it more entertaining for kids, toy trains and computer games are also organised here. Also, there is a waterpark nearby. It is a full-on family package so don’t miss on your chance to visit this Lake Garden.