Island of Diu was our next destination after Somnath. The island is linked to the southern coast of Gujarat by a bridge. It is bounded by River Chassi in the North and by the Arabian sea in the other three directions.
As we crossed the into the island it was a different world which greeted us, neat roads flanked by lovely flowers, the white sandy coastline. It is Goa which comes to mind of most Indian when they think about a beach destination. Believe you me, beaches of Diu are far better, cleaner, and enjoyable.
Diu is known for the silver white sand beaches. Nagoa beach leads the way followed by many others like the Ghogla, Chakratirth, Jalandhar and Vanakbara. We spent major part of our stay at the Nagoa beach. The long sandy stretch with blue waters really has a soothing effect on the mind and the body. For those who wish to add a bit more thrill there is Para sailing, banana boating, scuba diving and many more water sports.
The administration has undertaken development work around the beach and creating more facilities for the visitors. It is a rare beach which has well organised clean shower and change facilities available. The beautiful beach and the lovely winter weather provided an ideal setting for the couples to bond. The Sunrise and Sunsets along the beach literally present a visual treat.
In 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, got into an alliance with the Portuguese against emperor Humayun and allowed them to construct the Fort and maintain a garrison on the island. The Portuguese ruled over Diu till 19 Dec 1971 when they were ousted by the Indian Army. The ruins provide an excellent insight into the defensibility and glorious days the Fort must been witness to in the past. The numerous canons lined up on top, the iron shells spread around, the chapel, the armoury all tell a distinct story.
There are three main churches of the Portuguese era. The Church of St Francis of Assissi was built in 1593 and now functions as a hospital. The old building still has a majestic presence and it heartening to see a young couple undertaking a pre-wedding photo shoot withy the church in the background.
St Paul’s church is constructed in Portuguese Baroque style and has a large patio entrance. The Baroque façade and the rich wood panelling add to the beauty. It is still functional as a church and mass is held once a year.
The Church of St Thomas is one of the rare churches in India which boasts of Gothic style architecture. The church has been converted into a museum now.
Number of Venetian Gothic style bungalows and mansions of the Portuguese era exist near the fort.
The Naida Caves….
The Naida Caves, one of the most underrated tourist attractions of Diu is just as much a photographer’s delight as it is for an explorer. The caves have an intricate network of tunnels and huge step-like structures that make the caves a must-visit.
Shri Gangeshwar Mahadev….
The temple is believed to have been constructed by the Pandavas and hence has five Shivlings of different sizes. It has a sea facing entrance and the sea water completely submerges the Shivlings during the high tide.
Hokka or the Doum trees are unique to the Diu Island and coastal Saurashtra region in India. These are basically palm trees having numerous branches. The oval shaped fruit is edible and very popular among children in the region. This tree is found in abundance lined up along the Nagoa beach. The multiple branches not only gives it a unique look but also makes it a photographer’s delight.
Having been to most of the beach destinations in India we had not expected anything extraordinary at Diu. But what we came across was just amazing, just blew our heart away. It offers something for every age and was certainly a welcome change.
I am attaching a slideshow of some pictures I took in Diu for your viewing pleasure.