Ilha de Calma’ or the island of calm in Portuguese, Diu has done its bit to deserve this title. If you are looking for some calm in a place that’ll make you forget what day of the week it is, join us as we explore wonders on this tiny island…
WORDS BY- AMOG
THE town of Diu lies at the eastern end of Diu Island and is known for its fortress and old Portuguese cathedral.
The Diu fort is the most visited landmark in the district.
The fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa were chosen as the two wonders from India, among the seven from across the world, out of a list of 27 monuments built in 16 countries during the Portuguese rule.
The fort is built on a hillock next to the sea. There are only remains now, but the fort must have been a very romantic place.
Diu is one of the safest places in India to ride a two-wheeler, with minimum traffic and excellent, broad roads, where zipping along the coast with the wind in your hair is a sheer delight.
This tiny island is linked by a bridge to Gujarat’s southern coast and is infused with its erstwhile Portuguese history.
Scenic beaches, great seafood, welcoming roads, warm, friendly people and a number of tourist attractions make Diu a favourite spot of many who come here to just unwind and relax.
After all, Dui still believes in observing an afternoon siesta every day like its other, more popular Portuguese cousin, namely Goa. So you won’t find many shops open for business in the afternoons.
One of Dui’s most popular attractions is Ghogla Beach which is reckoned as one the cleanest beach in Diu. It lies north of the city, about 20 minutes away from the city center.
The beach is sparsely dotted with tourists. Since not a lot of people know about this beach, finding a moment of calm is even easier here.
The beach although secluded, has some water sports and activities like parasailing, surfing, and Banana Boating.
Another famous beach is Nagoa Beach.
Well known for swaying palm trees and the pristine beauty that surrounds the beach, this is an ideal spot if you want to soak in some sun and surf. The beach is also lined with resorts that offer cheap accommodation that enable the visitors to spend more time at the beach. The beach is also blessed with beautiful white sand that gives it a pristine look.
If you feel like, you could opt to also ride a camel or a horse, take a swim or walk on the beach.
But wherever you are, you are not far from St. Paul’s Church. This church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The construction of the church took nearly ten years and is in the spellbinding Gothic architectural style. Thanks to the Portuguese influence, with the wood paneling and archaic paintings, the church is a delight from the inside as well.
And the one place that will be recommended by everyone who has ever been to Diu is the Diu Fort.
It is a remnant of the by-gone ear where the Portuguese ruled this tiny island. The fort also used to double up as a castle and was used by the Portuguese as a strategic military point. The fort is home to a lighthouse in its compound. When it was under the colonial rule, the fort was once listed as one of the wonders of the world.
If you are close to the fort, you could walk to the Nadia caves. The caves make you realize that nature never ceases to amaze you. These elegant caves form a series of interconnected tunnels that go on for miles. It is said that back in the day, thieves would use these caves to hide their loot and flee authorities.You could also visit the INS Khukri Memorial. It is a site that pays homage to the fallen heroes of the Indo-Pakistan conflict of 1971. This ship sunk by the coast of Diu after being hit by three torpedoes. There is also an amphitheater nearby that reenacts the act of valor by the fallen soldiers.
Other places that you must definitely not miss when you are in Diu are its sunset point, the Zampa gateway and the shell museum that showcases shells collected by a Merchant Navy Captain, Devjibhai Vira Fulbaria.
The Diu Museum is another important landmark in Diu. It was originally constructed as a church dedicated to St. Thomas in 1598 but since then has been converted into a museum. The museum houses a collection of stone inscriptions from past rulers and woodcarvings that depict a beautiful picture of Diu’s rich cultural past. The church is also home to 400-year-old statues of St Thomas and St Benedict that are carved out entirely of wood and marble.
Throughout Diu, near the coast you could find Hoka trees. They are native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In India, they can be only found in Diu. There’s a very pleasant blend of mystery, relaxation and beauty in Diu. And if you’re looking for a sleepy, idyllic getaway from the daily grind, plan a trip to this island of calm.