Sitting on the peppery sands of the Daman-Ganga, that flows softly to the hug of the Arabian Sea, a few leagues away, is Daman, a picturesque port town of indescribable loveliness. Age cannot wither her nor custom stale her infinite variety.
A Portuguese enclave for four centuries and a half, till the close of the colonial rule in 1961, Daman had been a coveted prize for which princes and potentates, and indigenous satraps and alien powers waged wars. Muted memories of history lie vaulted in the monuments of Daman, gathering the slime of time.
It had been the melting pot, where races and cultures met and mixed to bring forth a multi-colored identity. Rest, repose, fun and laughter; friendly, hospitable people; Daman is non-pareil.
Daman was originally a part of the country known as Lata. The Portuguese acquired later Daman in 1559, by means of a treaty with the Shah of Gujarat. But later took the town, as well as the fortress, as there was virtually no resistance.
No Portuguese life was lost in all this. It was only later in 1961, that the Portuguese enclave for four centuries and a half ended, and it was accorded the status of a Union Territory.
Daman can boast of a rich and multifaceted cultural heritage. A true fusion of the cultures - a unique mix of tribal, urban, European and Indian, is evident from the traditional dances of this place.
Various forms of Tribal dances are intermingled with Portuguese dance, which are well preserved and are widely presented. Dance and music form part of the daily life of the local people. Tribal dances with caustic social comment are very much in vogue.
pizzas and fish.
Daman is particularly noted for notified custom shops selling foreign goods, viz, electronic items, perfumes, toys etc.
This is 2 km south of Seaface road and still retains something of the Portuguese influence. Principally, Moti Daman is a fortification complete with moat and drawbridge. The massive walls enclosed the homes of Portuguese nobles who were the only people allowed to live inside Moti Daman. The churches here rank among the oldest and best-preserved Christian monuments in Asia, and are the most impressive sign of Portuguese rule in Daman. The main street inside runs north to south between arched gateways, which have Portuguese arms carved on them. This links the two gates of the fortification, which were installed in the 1580s following a Mughal invasion.
The Governor's palace and the other administrative buildings are along the main road. Other buildings include elegant double-storeyed mansions with sweeping staircases, wooden shutters and verandas, which were the homes of Portuguese nobles. The ruins of a Dominican monastery can also be found in Moti Daman, and there is a lighthouse at the north-west end overlooking the sea. The best views can be had from here.
Situated on the peppery sands of the Daman-Ganga, that flows softly, to hug the Arabian Sea, is the picturesque port town of Daman, 13 kms from Vapi.
Nearest airport is Bombay 193 kms.
The nearest Rail Head is Vapi (11 km) on Western Railway. Mumbai-Vapi is 3 hrs. Journey.
Through Ahmedabad Highway Mumbai is also connected, which is 4 hrs. Drive.
The climate is warm and salubrious in summer and cool and sunny in winter.
The massive Fort with 10 bastions and two gateways is protected by a moat on the landside and also connects the river to the sea. A large number of Portuguese gentry and their families reside within the Fort. The southern (land) gate was completed, after the Mughal invasion in Akbar's reign. The Northern side within the palaces, houses the Secretariat and other official buildings.
A parish church during the early days of the Portugal reign, it has aesthetics, that arrest attention. Richly carved doorway, intricately decorated interiors, lofty ceiling and burnished altar, makes it one of its kind.
High stonewalls of this small fort, has three bastions and two gateways. The most imposing building inside the fort, is the church of Our Lady of the Sea; while the most conspicuous part of the Fort, is the giant gateway facing the river with a large statue of St.Jerome and two giant human figures, on either side of the gateway.
The beach enjoys a long coastline; thus inviting a lot of tourists. Pony rides are also available for children on the beach. However, as a matter of precaution, one must bear in mind that rough rocky formations are found beneath the water level. Other reasons for tourist attraction can be attributed to the amusement park, with its musical fountain and kids corner; each of which is a crowd puller for the weekends. The park is illuminated on festive days and the sight is a pleasure to the eyes. Most food joints and quality hotels are found at walking distance from the beaches. Taxis and auto rickshaws are easily available to take you to Devka.
Nani Daman offers some wonderful sites to the traveler: Gandhi Park near Nani Daman jetty, Nani Daman Fort and the Churches inside and the fishing jetty, where boats are anchored to name a few. The tourist crosses over to Moti Daman through the Daman-Ganga Bridge, where an old world of broad roads, the massive Fort, the stately Light House, Gardens, Historic Monuments and ancient Churches in Gothic style provide a feast to the aesthetic taste.
Towards south, Jampore Beach leads to the Gujarat border. It is quite a good place to enjoy solace. It is most suited to swimming, as it has no rocky formations. During low tide, one can walk on the soft wet sand right into the sea. Casurina plantation on the seashore is worth a visit.
Close to the Coast Guard Air Station, on the Daman - Valsad Road squats a spellbinding lake-garden "Satya Sagar Udyan". With its colorful fountains and shrub - skirted promenades, the garden offers an enchanting view. The restaurant and snack - bar provide a variety of dishes of different regional flavors. One can unbend for hours on a lakeside seat, sipping a soft beverage of ones choice.
FORT OF DAMAN - The fort of Daman, with its majestically imposing grandeur of the Sea Gate, of the Fort of Saint Hyeronnymus (Saint Jerome), is known to keep guard on the northern banks. SE CATHEDRAL - The Se Cathedral in Moti Daman fort, a date back to the 17th century and is totally Iberian. It's less impressive than the Church of Our Lady of the Roasary, where ancient Portuguese tombstones are set into the cool, damp floor.