A small island at the southern tip of Gujarat, Diu is a beautiful blend of sun, sand and sea. Though beaches are small, Diu offers you undisturbed peace and an unusual holiday.
An island retreat, gently rocked by the wind and the wave from the Arabian Sea, most visitors stay longer than intended, idling in cafes, cycling around the island or strolling along the cliffs and enjoying alcoholic drinks.
Easy to explore, Diu town is a maze of alleys lined with distinctive Portuguese buildings and a fort that looks out to the Gulf of Cambay and the Arabian Sea.
Diu is steeped in history. A seaport and naval base of considerable strategic importance, Diu was under the sway of the Chanda and Vaghela dynasties. Soon after, it fell into the hands of the Muslim rulers, till the mighty wave of invasion of the Portuguese, who took control of Diu, by unscrupulous means.
Though Mughal and Arab attacks were courageously resisted, the Indian Government, finally forced out the Portuguese in 1961 and Diu is now part of the Union Territory.
Diu sports a colorful culture. As in Daman, there is a magnificent mix of Gujaratis and Portuguese here, which reflects on lifestyle and culture. The friendly fun-loving people of Diu keep alive their priceless heritage of folk arts by singing and dancing.
While the colorful Garba festival with its mesmerizing music and graceful steps cast an enchanting spell, the typical Portuguese regional folk dances depict happiness, the life style of the people and its traditions. These traditional dances have the elderly participating in them, and the young carrying on the traditions of the old.
Lobster, pizzas and fish.
Fish are no doubt the prime attraction of Diu. The local fish mart is right behind the main Town Square. Local handicrafts can be bought at some of the beaches.
Every year Diu holds a 5-day grand festival of culture and sporting activities from December 19 onwards. Madhi Festival of the Kharwa Community, held on the Monday after Holi, is a colourful procession with much merriment. Sawan Mela is a grand community gathering to offer prayers at the Radhekrishna Temple at Nagoa Village. Navratri is celebrated in Diu with much excitement and joie de vivre. Portuguese dances are very popular on the island, performed on most festive occasions.
About 13 km long and 4.5 km wide, the island of Diu is situated off the southern coast of Gujarat, separated by a narrow channel.
There are regular flights to and from Mumbai. Airport: Diu Airport is 5 km away from the town, north of Nagoa Beach.
There?s a daily Rail to Junagarh via Sasan Gir from the Delwada Railway Station (8 km from Diu). The Veraval local also operates daily between Diu and Veraval. Railway station: Nearest railhead is Delwada, about 8 km from Diu between Una and Goghla.
Diu is connected by regular bus services to Somnath (80 km), Bhavnagar (180 km) and Rajkot (200 km). Gujarat State Transport Corporation buses operate between Ahmedabad and Diu. Private mini-buses also run from Diu to Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Bus terminus: Una is the access point for Diu by road.
The summer temperatures range between 20?C and 38?C. And the winter between 20?C and 25?C.
It is considered to be one of the most important Portuguese forts in Asia. Occupying a prominent position, it is an expansive and imposing structure, situated on the coast of the island. It was built, after the Mughal Emperor Humayun attacked the Sultan of Gujarat with the help of the Portuguese. The fort in the east and a wall in the west protect this cosy little town.
The old St. Thomas Church, has been converted into a museum, which houses the antique statues, various stone inscriptions of the earlier rulers, wooden carvings, idols, shadow-clocks and other important artifacts have been collected from various sites and displayed.
Although the Christian population is dwindling, along with the old language, a few churches, built by the former European inhabitants are still used. Dedicated to our Lady of Immaculate Conception, the main facade of the church, perhaps the most elaborate of all Portuguese churches in India, is adorned with curiously treated volutes and shell-like motifs, and immediately attracts visitors. Portuguese mass is still celebrated here.
The longest and most attractive is the Nagoa Beach. An exceptionally beautiful and quiet beach, naturally, sunbathing is tempting on these sun-kissed sands. Having various facilities for water sports, it is also safe for swimming. Plenty of Palm Hoka trees whisper and sway here in the intoxicating sea breeze all day long. The virginity of the beach and serenity of the surroundings, give s you peace and pleasure beyond expression. Buses from Diu to Nagoa ply infrequently, hence one has to keep an eye on the bus timing, otherwise, missing the last bus leaves you with little choice, but to walk.
The Fortress of Panikota is a magnificent stone structure in the sea, built right at the mouth of the creek. Only a canoe or a motor launch can reach it. Approximately one nautical mile from the Diu jetty, it also has a lighthouse and a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea. Located in the middle of the sea, the fortress makes for a beautiful view, whether seen from the jetty, from the Fort, from the village of Ghoghla or from Diu proper.
Chakratirath Beach is centrally located and continued to the town of Diu. This beach is a popular haunt for locals and domestic and international tourists as well. Artificial lighting has, beautifully illuminated the hill and the surrounding areas and landscape. An open-air auditorium on the seaside of the hillock stands nearby.
FUDAM - The village of Fudam, has a huge abandoned church, Our Lady of Remedies. A large, old carved wooden altar with Madonna and child remains inside. It also houses the Gangeshwar Temple in Fudam village. JALLANDHAR SHRINE - Jallandhar Shrine, is located on a hillock close to the beach. This small shrine crowned with a dome, contains a niche, wherein a stone carved face of Jallandhar is seen. Nearby there is also a temple of Goddess Chandrika. MARWAR MEMORIAL - It commemorates the liberation of the island from the Portuguese. NAGAR SETHS HAVELI - One of the grandest of the town's distinctive Portuguese mansions, is on Makata Road, hidden in the web of narrow streets that wind through the residential Old Portuguese District. VANKBARA - At the extreme west of the island, Vanakbara has a church, fort, lighthouse, and a small bazaar. A ferry crosses from here to Kotla village on the mainland and one can get a bus from here to Kodinar. ZAMPA GATEWAY - On the wall, it has carvings of lions, angels and a priest. As you move into the gate, you will see a tiny chapel, with an icon dating back to 1702. Just to the south is the Zampa Waterfall, an eccentric artificial creation, which is lit up at night.