Situated about 193 km north of Mumbai, Daman has become synonymous with composed blue sea, rustic beaches, picturesque villages and relics of Portugese past. The former Portugese colony lies sandwiched between Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Daman was a Portuguese territory for over 300-years and was liberated only in 1961 along with Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa and Diu. Daman lies on the banks of the Daman Ganga River.
Today Daman is a Union Territory but the influence of the Portuguese is evident in its architecture, way of life and food habits.
The Portuguese took over Daman in the 16th century due to its strategic importance on the sea route between East and West Asia. The Portuguese made multiple attempts to capture Daman but failed. In 1559, the colonial power received Daman and surrounding regions as compensation for helping the Shah of Gujarat to fight the invading Mughals.
Daman was an important outpost of opium trade to China till the Portuguese remained a potent naval power. Resistance to Portuguese control flared up after India won independence from the British. In 1961, the Portuguese withdrew from their enclaves and since then Daman has been a Union Territory of India.
There are people belonging to European, African and Indian origin settled in Daman. The influence of diverse cultures is evident in dance, food and music of Daman. There are different dance forms that that show strong Portuguese influence like the Verdigao, Vira and Mando. Garba has come across the Gujarat border into Daman as well. Tribal dances are also popular in Daman.
Most of the people speak Gujarati, Hindi, English and most old people speak Portuguese. There are a few convent schools that still teach Portuguese and French along with English and Hindi.
Daman is popular with Gujaratis who head to the beach state to satiate their thirst for alcohol. Gujarat is a dry state and alcohol is banned.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN DAMAN
The road along the seafront is dotted with decent budget hotels that are comfortable and many of these hotels have restaurants attached. Most of the hotels are located near Devka Beach in Nani Daman. The hotels are at walking distance from the main shopping centre in Nani Daman.Mid-range hotels are scattered throughout Daman but several are located about five minute walk from Devka Beach.
Daman also boasts of a luxury hotels. There are a few resorts that offer cottages with a view of the sea located on Devka beach. The resorts have clean rooms and most offer swimming pool, room service, parking space, access to a bar and restaurant. There are a couple of resorts near the Coastal Highway that offer the same amenities.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN DAMAN
Daman is famous for its seafood, vegetarian dishes and alcohol. As alcohol is legal in Daman, one can opt for any brand and enjoy the food with close ones. There are quite a few restaurants serving delicious finger-licking food. One can also opt for stalls in the vicinity serving tasty and mouthwatering food.
A former Portuguese colony, Diu is popular for its history, architecture and culture. It was an important trading post of the Portugese during colonial times.
Located at the southern tip of the Saurashtra peninsula of Gujarat, Diu is part of the union territory of Daman and Diu.
The 38.8 sq m island was ruled by many rulers including the Mauryans, Guptas, Mughals and many others but it were the Portuguese who ruled the island for more than 400 years and built forts and cathedrals.
Among the Portuguese structures, Diu Fort is the main attraction of Diu. It was built by the Portuguese Governor Nuno De Cunha between 1535 and 1541 AD. Other Portuguese structures on the island are the St. Paul Church, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas Church.
The 21 km shoreline of the island comprises of three beaches – Nagoa, Ghoghla and Jallandhar. All the three beaches have escaped commercialization and are ideal places to unwind. On the Nagoa and Ghoghla beach, one can enjoy water sports activities like water scooter and parasailing. Evening boat cruises are another attraction on the beach.
Another attraction are the Hoka trees which were introduced by the Portuguese from Africa.
The culture of Diu is unique as it is a blend of Kathiawadi (Saurashtra) and Portuguese culture. Hindu, Islam and Christianity prevail on the island. Gujarati, Hindi, English and Portuguese are spoken by the locals.
To promote tourism, the administration of Diu conducts the Diu Festival annually. It is organized on December 19th, the Liberation Day of Diu. During the four day festival, several cultural programs are conducted.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN DIU
There are several accommodation options in Diu. There are many budget, mid-range hotels and beach resorts. The tourism department of Diu maintains a tourist at Ghoghla.
BEST TO EAT IN DIU
There are several multi-cuisine restaurants in Diu. One can get Gujarati, South Indian, Punjabi, Portuguese, Chinese and many other cuisines in Diu.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Daman and Diu is as given below. The best time to visit Daman and Diu is also specified.