The second smallest union territory in India, Daman and Diu, is located near Gujarat in India. Daman lies on the Gujarat coast while Diu is an islet in the southern fringe of Kathiawar peninsula. It is bounded on its north and south by Bhagwan and the Kalem Rivers respectively, on its east by the Gujarat state and on its west by the Arabian Sea.
Diu lies in the Gulf of Cambay near Veraval Port and is separated from the southern extremity of the Saurashtra peninsula by a narrow channel running through a swamp. The island is connected to the mainland by a narrow channel on the north. Daman has a mild and humid climate while Diu has a sultry climate. It has no subdivisions. The Daman region is under the charge of a collector while Diu is under the charge of a civil administrator.The ex-Portuguese enclave of Daman (Damao) is a world of its own. It is a paradise for travelers searching for peace, solitude and serenity. The charm of this place lies in its fine forts and churches, in which you can get a whiff of Portuguese preeminence. This quaint union territory had a serendipitous discovery too. The story goes like this. The first Portuguese Captain Diogo de Mello, while on his way to Ormuz, met with a violent cyclone, and got lost. When all his hopes were gone, he suddenly found himself at the Daman coast. Since then, Daman has been a destination for the wanderer who craves to be lost, and found.
Diu is different. This tiny island linked by a bridge to Gujarat’s southern coast is infused with Portuguese history; its major architectural landmarks include three churches and a seafront fort; the streets of the main town are remarkably clean and quiet once you get off the tourist-packed waterfront strip; and alcohol is legal here. If you’ve been spending time immersed in the intensity of Gujarati cities, or just really need a beer, Diu offers a refreshing break.
Despite its draw as a seaside destination, Diu is not a great choice for a beach-centric vacation. Most of its sandy strips are littered with trash, and the throngs of families make them better for people-watching than sun-worshipping. Add in the random drunk-guy factor and any fantasies you have of a tropical paradise will surely be dashed. Diu, however, is one of the safest places in India to ride a scooter, with minimum traffic and excellent roads, and zipping along the coast with the wind in your hair is a joy.
Like Daman and Goa, Diu was a Portuguese colony until taken over by India in 1961. With Daman, it is still governed from Delhi as part of the Union Territory of Daman & Diu and is not part of Gujarat. It includes Diu Island, about 11km by 3km, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel, and two tiny mainland enclaves. One of these, housing the village of Ghoghla, is the entry point to Diu from Una.
Diu town sits at the east end of the island. The northern side of the island, facing Gujarat, is tidal marsh and salt pans, while the southern coast alternates between limestone cliffs, rocky coves and sandy beaches.
The island’s main industries are fishing, tourism, alcohol and salt. Kalpana Distillery at Malala produces rum from sugar cane.
One custom of the Portuguese still very much respected by local businesses is that of the siesta, meaning you shouldn’t count on much being open in mid-afternoon.
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