Information on 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 islands main industries are fishing, tourism, booze and salt. This beautiful island has excellent golden beaches, whitewashed churches, bazaar, colourful Lisboan 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. Diu was also ruled by the Mauryans during 320-322 BC and was the main trade centre on the Saurashtra Coast. Between the 14th and 16th centuries Diu 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. Diu 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.
Tourist Attractions in Diu :
Various tourist attractions in Diu are the Diu Fort, Fortress of Panikota, Nagoa Beach, St. Pauls Church, Jallandhar Shrine, Gangeshwar Temple, Diu Museum, Ghoghla Beach and Gomtimata Beach.
Diu Fort :
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 :
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. Pauls Church :
St. Pauls 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. Pauls 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 :
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.
Diu Museum :
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 artefacts 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 foreigners 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.
Shell Museum :
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 colourful 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 :
Ghoghla Beach is one of the most beautiful beach in Diu. This beach also offers various water sports facilities like parasailing etc.
Nagoa Beach :
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 :
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.
Chakratirth Beach :
This beach which can also be seen an attachment of the town is beautiful located right at the centre of Diu. The beach takes its name from the ancient scripts that discern the story of the demolition of the demon Jallander by Lord Vishnu. Lord who carried his Sudarshan Chakra (disc with star-like points) is dais to have unleashed his chakra on the demon who had turned out to be uglier than he was by virtue of extracting boons from various gods. The Sudarshan Chakra was left at the beach after the job was completed and thus the beach came to be known as Chakratirth beach. The adjoining hill and the serene atmosphere at the place is further enhanced by some creative and innovative illumination.
Church of Our Lady of Remedies :
The Church of Our Lady of Remedies was built by the Portuguese Governor and Captain in 1607 AD. The main altar is carved and gilded with 17th century engravings.
Hoka Trees :
Diu has plenty Branching Palm tree called "Hokka" (Hyphaene Indica) which are found nowhere else in the country.. Only one Indian species of African genus. Brought by Portuguese. Diu, the only place in India to have luxuriant growth of these trees. Fruit is cute and edible, believed to have medicinal properties.
Sea Shell Museum :
First museum in Asia which has maximum sea shells. First museum in World where sea shells are displayed in magnifying glass of various sizes. The collection of about 2500 to 3000 sea shells in museum.
Water Sports :
The water sports facilities are available at Nagoa and Ghoghla Beach. There are various sorts of water sports facilities available such as Parasailing, Water Scooter Riding and Boat Sailing etc. In addition to this there is availability of Evening Boat Cruise at Diu Bunder. This facility is managed by Diu administration. The Evening Cruise ride starts from 7:30 P.M to 8:30 P.M with Music, Masti and light refreshments.