Information on Diu
Daman and Diu are the two tiny union territories which were the Portuguese enclaves. Geographically, Daman and Diu are the part of the state of Gujarat and connected to the mainland of Gujarat by a causeway. Diu is a tiny island in the Arabian Sea, about 11 kms. long and 3 kms. wide, separated from the coast by a narrow channel running through the swamp and two tiny mainland enclaves. It is very difficult to reach here so one has to travel through the town of UNA. 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, booze and salt. This beautiful island has excellent golden beaches, whitewashed churches, bazaar, colourful Lisboa streets, gorgeous climate, huge Portuguese fort, lush seafood and Gujarati weekenders who flock for the cheap booze and sunshine. Gujarati, Hindi, English and Portuguese are the main languages which are spoken in Diu. The best time to visit Diu is from September to May.
History of Diu
Diu has a very long and glorious history that stretches back into legends and mythology. It was believed that Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata spent a part of their fourteen years exile in Diu. According to the legends, Diu was once ruled by the great king Jallandhar who was a demon and was killed by the Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshan Chakra. Diu was the first settlement in India of the Parsis who came from Persia in the 7th century. Diu was also ruled by the Mauryans during 320-322 BC and was the main trade center on the Saurashtra Coast. Between the 14th and 16th centuries Diu was an important trading post and naval base from which the Ottomans controlled the northern Arabian Sea shipping routes. Portugal made a unsuccessful attempt to capture the island in 1531, during which the Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat was assisted by the Turkish navy. The Portuguese finally secured control in 1535 by taking advantage of the war between the Sultan and Mughal emperor, Humayun. When the Humayun attacked the Sultan of Gujarat, the Gujarat Sultan entered into a treaty with the Portuguese in 1535 for their help against him and give them control over the Diu Port. The treaty was soon ignored and although both Bahadur Shah and his successor, Sultan Mahmud III, attempted to contest the issue, the peace treaty that was eventually signed in 1539 ceded the island of Diu and the mainland enclave of Ghoghla to Portugal. Diu was also rewarded to the Portuguese governor Nuno De Cunha, who constructed a fort in Diu and raised his arsenal. Governor Joao de Castro finally seized Diu in 1546 and it remained a Portuguese enclave till its liberation in 1961 along with Daman and Goa. Seven Rajput soldiers and a few civilians were killed in the Operation Vijay, which ended Portuguese rule in 1961. Diu was taken over by India in 1961. With Daman, it is still governed from Delhi as a Union Territory.
Tourist Attractions in Diu
The Diu town was the first landing point for the Parsis when they fled from Persia and stayed there for only three years. The town is sandwiched between the massive fort to the east and a huge city wall to the west. The major tourist attractions in Diu town are the Diu Fort, St. Paul's Church, Jallandhar Shrine, Gangeshwar Temple, Diu Museum and Nagoa Beach. Diu Fort is an expansive and imposing structure, situated on the coast of the island. It was constructed between 1535 and 1541 AD and offers a magnificent view of the sea. St. Paul's Church is dedicated to the Lady of Immaculate Conception and built during the 17th century. Diu museum houses wooden carvings, statues, idols, shadow clocks and other important artifacts collected from various sites. Nagoa beach is very beautiful beach, in the shape of a horse shoe.
Festivals in Diu
A grand festival of culture and sporting activities is held for 5 days from 19 to 23 December every year to commemorate Diu's Liberation Day. In this festival various folk performers and traditional craftsmen expose their talents in order to keep the heritage of Diu alive.