One of the oldest churches in Diu, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi was built in 1593. The actual name of the saint was Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, but his father used to call him Francesco. He was an Italian Catholic preacher, who was later on canonized as a saint by Pope Gregory IX on 16th July, 1228.
Saint Francis was one of the two patron saints of Italy. A great lover of animals and nature, he was regarded as their patron saint. The church is built on a hill top, and its location close to the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea lends it a divine and mystical ambience.
It is one of the most venerated Christian shrines in the area. The layout design and construction of the church follows the European tradition in architecture. It can be reached through two flights of step-one running in its eastern side and the other on the northern side. The church still continues to hold prayer meetings, but its cloister has been transformed into a hospital.
Also known as the Fort of Nani Daman, the Fort of St. Gerome is situated on the northern bank of Daman Ganga river close to Nani Daman. Although a comparatively small fort, it boasts of a huge gateway overlooking a river for its entry.
It is spread over an area of 12,250 sq m. The fort got its name from a St. Jerome of the Catholic order. A massive statue of St. Jerome is located in front of the gate. The fort houses a Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Sea.
The fort has two entrances with the main entrance near the sea, overlooking the Moti Daman on the yonder of the Damanganga creek; the other gateway opens out to Nani Daman. From the fort one can also watch the interesting sight of the fish market and a fleet of fishing boats anchored nearby.
An Indian frigate named Indian Naval Ship Khukri - INS Khukri - was destroyed on 9th December 1971 by torpedoes fired by the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. The ship sank in the ocean 40 nautical miles off the coast of Diu taking along its crew of l8 officers and 176 sailors.
The commanding officer of the ship, Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla was given the choice of saving himself and the crew by surrendering to the invaders, but the valiant soldier refused to be blackmailed. He gave his life-jacket to a junior officer and went down with the sinking ship along with his compatriots.
Captain Mulla was posthumously conferred Mahavir Chakra for his matchless valour and sacrifice for the honour of the nation. It is also well-known that the Indian Navy took the matching revenge by capturing the port of Karachi within just 48 hours of the tragedy.
A memorial to commemorate the martyrdom of the brave warriors was set up in Diu at 20°42′10″N 70°58′37″E. It comprises a scaled model of INS Khukri enclosed in a glass case. It is located on the top of a hillock in front of the sea. The memorial was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Madhvendra Singh, the flag officer commanding-in-chief of the Indian Navy on 15th December 1999.
Located in the old Moti Daman Fort, the Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. It is one of the oldest religious monuments in Daman. The Gothic style building stands in an overgrown square which also contains the ancient tombstones of the Portuguese settlers.
The marquee of the building is deceptively simple, but one is stunned by the exquisite beauty of its interiors as one crosses the threshold. The church is made primarily of wood and is embellished with superb motifs, graphics and illustrations crafted by artisans in the ancient architectural style of the Portuguese.
The walls of the church are embellished with figures of golden cherubs blessing the visitors and the faithful alike. An array of wooden panels depict the portraits of Jesus Christ along with his disciples. The most striking feature of the interior is its ceiling which is decorated with brilliant garlands of gold-petals designed in a multitude of brilliant colours and shades.
It is believed that the idol of Mary of Rosary was fixed on the altar as a gesture of thanksgiving by the Portuguese for escaping the wrath of the Maratha forces led by Shivaji.
Ghoghla Beach is located close to village Ghoghla and is 631 km away from the main city of Diu. The sandy beach is one of the largest, gentlest and the most spectacular beaches in the district of Diu. The golden sands appear to heave up and down to a point in the horizon where the waves of the Arabian Sea keep lapping constantly creating a hypnotic scene.
The beach is an ideal destination for thrilling activities like swimming, parasailing, surfing and other exciting water sports. Those who are averse to aquatic sports can laze or loll over its soft and soothing sands. It is an ideal retreat for the lovers of solitude, peace and tranquillity in the lap of nature.
It offers spectacular views of the fishing villages, churches and forts of Diu scattered around it. It also hosts a tourist complex that provides delicious food, comfortable accommodation and other amenities for those who wish to spend more time here.
Jampore Beach is one of the most enchanting beaches in Daman. The scenic beach is an ideal holiday destination for beach lovers who wish to spend their vacation in the peaceful, sublime and soothing company of nature.
Jampore beach is flanked by spectacular groves of Casuarina trees whose cool shades pacify the taut nerves of the visitors yearning for rest in the secluded terrain far from the hectic business life and noise of the maddening crowd.
What marks out Jampore Beach from a host of other beaches is its sandy expansiveness, especially when the sea is in low tide and its water recedes a long way down the shore. The visitors can leisurely walk upon the wet, soft, cushiony sand exposed by the receding water and collect shells, conches and other oceanic mementoes.
Those who wish to swim and frolic around in the sea can do so safely as the water is shallow, calm above and below its surface and slope under it is also gradual. The ideal time to visit the beach is from September to May when the weather is pleasantly cool.
Built by the Portuguese in the year 1559 to protect against the invasions of the Mughal armies, Fort Moti Daman is spread over a massive area of 30,000 sq m. The fort houses a number of cannons and the mouth of each of these is engraved with a crest and the year of its manufacture.
The fort also houses the Church of Bom Jesus, the Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary and the Church of Our Lady of Remedies. The Church of Our Lady of Agustias, however, is located outside the fort.
Those interested in poetry would be surprised and delighted to see the house of Portuguese poet Bocage located close to the main gate of the fort via the sea. A marble tomb of the poet above the door of the small house indicates that the poet used to live here. The house is, however, locked.
The word Gangeshwar refers to Lord Shiva who is considered the lord of Ganga because the river descended upon earth through his tresses. Gangeshwar Temple is, therefore, dedicated to him. It is located in a village named Fadum, just 3 km away from Diu.
It is basically a cave temple located in the midst of rocks on the sea shore. The shrine houses five Shivlingas which are constantly washed by the lapping waves of the Arabian Sea. The mystical scene of the waves of the ocean offering obeisance to Lord Shiva inspires deep feelings of spiritual reverence and devotion among the visitors.
According to mythology, the temple was built by the five Pandav brothers who were spending their exile in anonymity in this part of the world for their daily worship. The temple is, therefore, supposed to be as old as the time of Mahabharata. The awe inspiring and strategic location of Gangeshwar Temple on the sea shore lends it immense historical and religious importance.
Jallandhar Beach is located just 1 km away from the city of Diu. The beach gets its name from a mythological demon whose shrine is located on a close-by hillock. According to the scriptures, Jallandhar was killed by the Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu.
Another temple dedicated to goddess Chandrika is also located nearby. Jallandhar Beach is a haven of beauty, peace and tranquillity. It is an ideal holiday destination for those who wish to spend their time lazing around on the soft sands while the inebriating sea breeze blows over them all through the day.
Visitors can also take a nap under the cool shadows of the breezy palm trees skirting the area. The more active and adventurous can take to a host of aquatic sports on the beach as the virginal water here remains calm and clear without any undercurrents.
The beach area, being close to the city, has been made more attractive by the installation of beautification and illuminating arrangements. When lit, it presents an enchanting view at night.
Devka Beach is one of the picturesque beaches in Daman. It is situated at a distance of about three miles from Nani Daman. A walk along the calm and splendid beach with the cool waves of the sea dancing on your toes provides an unforgettable experience of joy and peace. When the tide is low, the visitors can saunter into the sea and collect conches, shells and other oceanic memorabilia.
The more adventurous can take a swim in the cool and rejuvenating waters to beat the heat of summer. The swimmers should, however, be cautious about their safety as the surface below the water may be riddled with sharp, rough and craggy formations.
If you feel exhausted and bored of swimming or romping about the beach, an amusement park, located within walkable distance, provides the much needed relief and change.
The artistically landscaped amusement park has picturesque walkways, sparkling musical fountains and a host of entertainment options both for kids and elders including pony rides, gaming instruments, food joints and shops selling toys, clothes and electronic merchandize.
The park is brightly lit on festival days, especially on Nariyal Poornima, Folk Dance days, local carnivals and weekends when it attracts hordes of tourists from far and near.
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Remedies is situated on the outskirts of the Moti Daman forte. It was constructed in 1607 AD by the Portuguese governor and captain. An interesting feature of the church is its entrance. It has a charming white cross bearing some flowers and also some words in Portuguese.
The entrance also has an exquisitely carved bell which is suspended from the wooden stand. The colour of the paint on the bell matches the doors and windows of the church. A small cave like niche holding the portrait of Mother Mary stands close to one of the walls of the church.
The design of the building of the church is based upon a combination of Byzantine and Gothic architectural styles. The carvings and engravings on the main altar of the church bear the stamp of 17th century architecture. The walls of the prayer hall are decorated with carved figurines which significantly add to its overall grandeur.
Located in Moti Daman, Church of Bom Jesus, as its name suggests, is dedicated to Bom Jesus. Its construction was started in 1559, and its consecration took place in 1603. It used to be a parish church during the early days of Portuguese settlement.
The building is a living example of the superb architectural skills and exquisite craftsmanship of the Portuguese artisans and designers of those times. Its decorative and intricate design testifies to the matchless quality of Portuguese and Roman style of architecture.
Some of the prominent features of the church include its gold painted wooden altar, artistically carved doorways, intricately designed rococo interiors, superbly bejewelled lofty ceilings and extravagantly styled work in rosewood.
What cannot escape the eyes of the visitors are the statues of six saints which have been brilliantly sculpted in unique traditions of Roman Catholic architecture. All these aspects make the church of Bom Jesus one of the most popular tourist destinations of the region. It, therefore, attracts a large number of pilgrims and tourists from far and near.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Angustias is situated just outside the Moti Daman Fort near the football ground. This is the oldest church in Daman built by the Portuguese. Its history dates back to the period when the Portuguese commander Alfonso de Albuquerque defeated the Sultan of Bijapur in 1510.
It was built by the then Portuguese governor in the 17th century on the grave of Agostinho Xavier de Silva Vidigal who was born in Lisbon and died in Daman in the place where the soldiers of the First World War were buried.
The church is decorated with rose petals of various colours. The walls of the church bear exquisite paintings portraying the lives of the holy saints. The gold plated altar in the church is carved with superbly intricate designs. The gold plated woodwork and the variegated designs on the paintings of Jesus Christ and his apostles in the church testify the brilliant creative art of the Portuguese.
There are two lighthouses in Daman and both are located within the premises of the Moti Daman Fort close to the creek of Daman Ganga. While one of these is called the Old Light House, the other is known as the New Light House.
The Old Light House, which is a prominent tourist destination in the area, was constructed by the Portuguese. The New Light House was built by the government of India and is built close to the old one. It has a revolving tower. A 204 m diameter lantern house was set up on its top.
While access to the New Light House is banned for security reasons, the general public can enter the Old Light House which is just one storey tall and its top can be reached by a spiral staircase. It offers panoramic views of the sea.
Also known as the Portuguese Fort, Diu Fort was built during the period 1535 to 1541 on the ruins of a fortress constructed by an Arabian Governor during 1400. The Portuguese colonialists and the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah jointly constructed this fort to defend their territories against the armies of Mughal Emperor Humayun who intended to annex them.
The 29 m tall fort is situated along the shore line at the end of Fort Road. It is surrounded on its three sides by the sea and its fourth side is connected by a canal. The fort is encircled by two massive walls. While its outer wall stands along the shoreline, the inner one has bastions with cannons mounted upon them.
It is further fortified by two moats. The outer moat is a tidal moat and the inner moat, cut out of sandstone rocks, is situated between the outer and the inner wall. The fort hosts landscaped gardens, pathways dotted with cannons, a prison and a lighthouse. It offers spectacular views of the vast ocean and the surrounding land areas.