Diu

Diu is a town in Diu district in the union territory of Daman and Diu. Diu District is the tenth least populated district of India. The town of Diu lies at the eastern end of Diu Island and is known for its fortress and old Portuguese Cathedral. It is also a fishing town. With no tall buildings except the fort, Diu has a characteristically low skyline. Old Diu is known for its Portuguese architecture. Diu Fort was built in 1535 and maintained an active garrison until 1960. The Diu fort is the most visited landmarks in the district. The Diu fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa were chosen as the two wonders from India, among the seven from across the world, out of a list of 27 monuments built in 16 countries during the Portuguese rule. Fort is built on a hillock next to the sea. There are only remains of the fort now but the fort in itself must have been a very romantic place once upon a time. Gujarati, Portuguese, English and Hindi are the main languages spoken here. The climate here is extremely warm and humid throughout the year. The temperature ranges from 26 ° C in the winter to 36 ° C in the summer. Diu can be visited all the year around but the best time is September to May.

History: The district was historically part of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and an important port on trade routes through the Arabian sea. Due to its strategic importance, there was a Battle of Diu in 1509 between Portugal and a combined force of Turkey, Egypt, Venice, the Republic of Ragusa(now known as Dubrovnik) and the Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada. From 1513 to 1531 the Portuguese made multiple failed attempts to establish an outpost here. In 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, concluded a defensive alliance with the Portuguese against the Mughal emperor Humayun, and allowed the Portuguese to construct the Diu Fort and maintain a garrison on the island. The alliance quickly unraveled, and attempts by the Sultans to oust the Portuguese from Diu between 1537 and 1546 failed. Having repented of his generosity, Bahadur Shah sought to recover Diu, but was defeated and killed by the Portuguese, followed by a period of war between them and the people of Gujarat. Diu was fortified to withstand multiple siege.

Diu remained in the possession of the Portuguese from 1535 until 1961, when it fell in the possession of the troops of the Indian Union, which invaded all of the former Portuguese India under Operation Vijay. The island was occupied by the Indian military on 19 December 1961. The Battle of Diu involved overwhelming land, sea and air strikes on the enclave for 48 hours until the Portuguese garrison there surrendered. It was declared union territory of India, Goa, Daman, and Diu. Goa separated as a state in 1987, thus the remainder became union territory of Daman and Diu.

Transport:

Airport: The Diu Airpot is situated at a distance of 8 Km from the city. It is connected to major cities like Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Rail: Diu does not have a railway station. The nearest railway junction is Veraval, which is 90 km from Diu. A direct train connects Verval to Ahmedabad. The nearest railway station from Diu is Delwada, which is 8 km from Diu. It is on a meter-gauge line where only two trains come daily from Junagadh and Veraval.

Road: Diu is connected by road to Gujarat. State run busses as well as some private companies serve Diu from various cities of Gujarat. Buses for Diu could be less. The nearest town of Una is connected by many buses from various places of Gujarat. From Una, you can take private autos or buses to Diu.

Local: Autos and Diu transport operated mini buses are available for local transport but are not frequent. Taxis and bikes are available on hire from the town centre and the bus stand.

Tourist Interest:

Diu Fort: The Diu Fort is a majestic sentinel silently overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built in 1535, this Portuguese fort was known to provide a strategic vantage point against enemy attacks.

Fortress of Panikotha: Also known as ‘Fortim do Mar’, this magnificent seafort is built at the mouth of the creek and can be accessed only by canoe or motor boat. In it also reside a lighthouse and a chapel consecrated to Our Lady of the Sea.

St. Paul’s Church: Built in 1610, this impressive church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Its baroque style of architecture and curiously treated volutes make it the most elaborate of all the Portuguese churches in India.

Church of St. Thomas: The Church of St. Thomas was constructed in 1598, and it served as one of the major churches of Portuguese India. The Church is one of the few churches in India that boasts of Gothic style architecture.

Naida Caves: The Naida Caves are an explorer’s delight. Located outside the city wall of the Diu fort, these caves are a network of hewn hollows and steps which beg to be explored. The history of the caves suggests that the Portuguese hacked off building materials during their reign, which resulted in the formation of the caves.

Nagoa Beach: The most popular beach in Diu.

Other places of interest are Gangeshwar Temple, Shell Museum, INS Khukri, Church of St. Francis Assisi, Ghoghla Beach, Chakratirth Beach, Gomtimata Beach, Jallandhar Beach, Zampa Gateway.

Tour Planner:

This tour planner is made on the basis of the location of the destinations. One can make changes as per their interest, convenience and accessibility and duration of the trip.

Day 1: Diu Fort, St. Paul’s Church, Shell Museum, Naida Caves, Nagoa Beach can be covered in a day.

Day 2: Fortress of Panikotha, the other places of interest can be covered in a day.

Hotels: Online booking is always preferable for discounts in tariff. Hotel Citadel de Diu, Hotel Maheshwari, Krishna Part Resort, Hotel Apana, Hotel Palms, Radhika Beach Resort, Hotel Relax Inn, Kohinor Hotel and more.

Read My Journey to Diu.

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