Other day I came across the list of smart cities that the Indian government has launched and I saw Diu in the list. The first thought that flashed through my mind was the town is going to loose its “old world charm” look soon.
Diu having been under Portuguese possession from 1535 to 1961 the town still retains the Portuguese architectural influence on it. Its a small island with a very laid back atmosphere linked to the mainland by a bridge. Empty roads beckon you to hire a motorcycle and drive through its lanes. Alternatively we took an auto to travel through the place. Many beautifully decorated gates welcoming you to the old town area.
Bridge connecting Diu to the mainland
Zampa Gateway, one of the gates leading you to the old town
Another beautifuly decorated gate leading to the old town
Diu Fort, built by the Portugese in 1535, was our first place of visit and left us with mixed feeling of the place. The starting part of the fort takes you back to a time when you can imagine the magnificence and fortification of the fort. But as you stroll further into the fort you find the walk tedious, pathways unkept and no more interesting. So we cut short our stroll and traced our way back to the entrance. You can get a good view of the Fortress of Panikotha from here.
Fortim-do-mar, Fortress of Panikota as seen from the Diu fort
Naida caves was our next visit post lunch and is surely a must do on your visit to Diu, loacted outside the walls of the Diu fort close to the Jalandhar Beach. It is manmade caves with a network of hewn hollows and steps which is said to have formed by the Portuguese hacking off building materials from here. All said, this labyrinths of underground open air caves is mesmerizing. With the afternoon sun seeping through the openings throughout the caves you get some very good camera shots.
Evening we headed to Nagoa beach to capture sunset and were also told that the Festival of Diu. Festa De Diu, was being held here. The festival is a yearly event now which seems to be attracting quite a crowd. We reached almost as the last glimpses of the sunset was fading away spreading its orange flames on the sky. The beach was slightly crowded , so we moved away towards a portion where we could see rocks juting out.It was a good climb up with the surface of this small hilly portion looking as if at some point of time it was a part of the sea bed with coral like formation on it. On the other side, the hill just drops down into the sea with huge waves crashing onto the large boulders down. It was utter peace to sit down listening to the sound of the waves, catching the last glimpses of the sunset and just immersing in the view of the sea laid out in front of you.
Last traces of the sunset
The coral like top surface of the small hill which we climbed up
Anywhere you look up for info on Diu you get a mention of Hokka trees. So the first time my friend pointed it out we went a little crazy snapping pictures and then realised the tree is there everywhere. But yes looks like the this variety of palm trees is seen only here. So here are some captures of it.
That sums up the places we visited. Apart from this if you have time St Pauls church which is one of the three old Portuguese churches and the only still functioning as a church, Gangeshwar temple a little deviation on the way to Nagoa beach, Jalandhar beach which I have read is not as crowded as Nagoa beach, Gogla Beach, Chakrathirth Beach are some places you can add into your itinerary.
Diu being a Union Territory and not a part of Gujarat state, is the only place during your tour of Gujarat where alcohol is legal, so chill out, enjoy this laid back town the earliest as for all you know and few years down and this town or rather smart city may have a completely new look.
Getting here: We took a overnight sleeper coach bus from Ahmedabad to Diu. Una is the closest town having good road connectivity to other places.
Visited in December 2015.