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.
Nagoa beach derives its name from Nagoa, a fishing hamlet called Bucharwada. The beach is a 20 minutes drive from Diu. It is a semi-circular beach in the shape of a horse shoe. The total distance of the beach from one end to the other is approximately 2.5 km.
The beach is situated at a comparatively isolated spot and, therefore, offers a completely quiet and peaceful environment. It is a perfect holiday destination for tourists who are tired of the noisy, stressful and hectic city life.
Nagoa Beach is exquisitely clean and beautiful. It is surrounded by dense groves of Hoka-palm trees which keep swaying to the whispering sound of the sea breeze all through the day lending the area a blissful ambience. The gently lapping waters of the beach invite the tourists to wade through them, or spend their time swimming or frolicking in them.
The beach is quite safe for swimming and other water sports. The more adventurous can take to sailing, boating, water skiing or similar other exciting activities. Those who are averse to swimming can loll about on the soft wet sands on the shores, or just take a nap under the deep and soothing shadows of the palm trees.
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.
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.
Located on the eastern side of the Diu Airport, close to Nagoa Beach, Sea Shell Museum was set up by a retired merchant navy captain Fulbari, who devoted most years of his life collecting various types of sea shells in the course of his voyages.
The museum, believed to be the largest in Asia, boasts of a huge repertoire of approximately 2500 to 3000 types of sea shells. It is also claimed to be the first museum in the world where visitors are provided magnifying glasses of varying powers to closely scan the minute features of the shells.
The shells displayed in the museum include spiders, scorpions, cockle, abalone, molluscs, crustacean shells and several other types of varying sizes and shapes. The museum also holds an extensive stock of study material devoted to providing detailed information on the history of shells. Admission to the museum is permitted by a ticket for Rs.10/.
St. Thomas Church was built by the Portuguese in the year 1598. The ancient church is situated on an elevated platform within the walls of the Diu Fort. The construction of the church is designed in Gothic style architecture. The white washed exterior of the building still bears the worn out and faded portraits and paintings of the Portuguese times.
The church does not hold prayer services any more, though an annual mass is held on the ‘All Saint’s Day’ on 1st November. The building of the church has, however, been renovated and converted into a museum with primary accent on Christian religion.
It houses the stone sculptures of Christ and Virgin Mary. Other important archaeological exhibits include 400 year old carvings on fossilized wood, shadow clocks, marble statues of St. Benedict and St. Thomas, antique idols, stone inscriptions and several artefacts collected from abandoned churches or historical places in the island.
The church can be reached through a garden path flanked by beautiful fountains. It is brilliantly illuminated in the evenings and, the variegated lights present a charming sight.
Also known as Fortim do Mar, Pani Kotha is the name of a beautiful fortress constructed at the beginning of a creek in the Arabian Sea. The stone structure is situated at a distance of one nautical mile from the jetty in Diu, close to the village, Ghoghla.
The fortress is built in the middle of the sea and has the form of a ship. According to legends, it was once connected with the land through an underwater channel. It commands panoramic views of the surrounding ocean, the jetty, Ghoghla village and the city of Diu.
It also hosts a light house and a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea. It is illuminated with special lights at night, and the scene creates a mesmerising effect on the viewers. Pani Kotha features in the famous Bollywood movie Qayamat. It can be reached by tourist ferries available at the boarding site.
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.
St. Paul’s Church is named after St. Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ. Of the three churches built by the Portuguese in Diu, this is the only functioning church where the small residual Christian community congregates and offers prayers.
The church was built in 1610 and is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The design and construction of the church exemplifies the best traditions in baroque style architecture. The interior of the church is embellished with minutely elaborate and artistically carved wood work.
The altar which holds the idol of St. Mary is made of a single piece of Burmese teak which is regarded the best in the world because of its intensity, toughness and long life. It is spacious enough to light 101 candles placed in lines.
The upper side of the altar is decorated with invaluable paintings and idols. The central area of the church hall where the congregation sits has a vaulted nave. The exterior of the church, with carved designs in white stucco worked out by the native artisans, is as much impressive as the interior in respect of elaborate detail in design.
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.
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.