Diu, a tiny paradise
Diu, A Tiny Paradise. India with its amazing diversity and splendour continues to thrill any travel enthusiast. Each state, for that matter even a...
India with its amazing diversity and splendour continues to thrill any travel enthusiast. Each state, for that matter even a small village has something unique to offer. The marvellous ethnicity and the outrageous assimilation power are the threads that continue to hold the citizens of this incredible country, together. Whenever we entered a new territory, eventhough we were treated with suspicion at the first instance, a little hearty talk would gradually erase the insecurities. I start to admire the people of country side and small towns for showering their warmth during our pep talks. The innocence or the chaste expressions of those people during our course of journey have left indelible and fond impressions in our minds. As we flagged off our trip to Diu from Gujarat, we have passed through vast stretches of greenery. There were hardly patches of land which were barren and uncultivated.
The narrow stretch of land separating Gujarat border and Diu was more like a marshy area with back waters seeping into the waste lands. Interestingly this region was habituated by hordes of Camels and we were surprised by their sheer numbers. Diu is one of the districts of the Daman and Diu, a Union territory. It is a small place of about 40sqkm and one of the least populated districts in India but one of the cleanest places we ever visited in India. The place is quite warm and humid with large area covered by thousands of coconut trees and interspersed with banana plantations. Diu is a peninsula connected with the mainland through the Junagadh district of Gujarat. It was a Portuguese colony until 1961 when Indian forces annexed it. In 1987 it became part of the Daman and Diu Union Territory.
Diu has interesting tourist attractions and we were yearning to explore the place and were excited at the prospect of visiting the Diu fort. Though we have been to several forts built by both the Hindu kings and Muslim rulers, we haven’t ever visited any fort built by the European barons in India. Until few years back the fort was closely guarded and maintained by the Government authorities but now the local guides lamented that this place has been administratively deserted. The Diu fort constructed in the mid 16th century is a huge and imposing structure. It is surrounded by sea on all the three sides with a canal on the north making it almost impenetrable. The fort now houses a central jail and a light house. The top of the fort offers a magnificent view of the sea and fortress of Panikota which was built in the sea and can be reached by a canoe. There is a light house and several huge canons on the top of the fort peeping out of the holes of the gigantic fort walls. Our next visit was Diu Museum which is currently lodged in the St Thomas Church. The Church is a simple structure with an attractive children’s park and garden in front of it. The museum was least interesting as it had only a few wooden structures and statues. We next moved to St Paul’s church, a huge structure just few yards away. It was built in 17th century by the Portuguese. Prayers are regularly held in the church. Its huge doors are intricately carved and adorned with shell-like motifs. The roads were calm and wore a deserted and hence we wanted to explore the beauty of this mystic territory.
It was such a pleasant experience to drive through roads of Diu with palm trees swaying their branches to the cool breeze of the Arabian Sea. Next we stopped at the Jallandhar beach which offered a picturesque scenerey. We relaxed on a small bench silently enjoying the beauty of nature for awhile. The serene atmosphere and meticulously clean roads juxtaposing the beaches were a virtual treat to any person who wishes to escape from the maddening and boisterous crowds of the metros. We then reached INS Khukery memorial which is few metres from the beach. It is an open theatre located at an elevated point facing the beach. It could be reached by a flight of steps. As we reached the top, it offered an astounding view of the Arabian Sea. It was a memorial built in honour of 18 brave sailors who lost their lives while defending western coast during the Indo-Pak war of 1971 as a part of surveillance of the coast in the ship INS Khukery. Though the actual ship is not there, a replica of the ship along with the torpedo which sank was instituted in this quiet location. It is popular amongst locals as sunset point as well.
The clear, white sands and the secluded beaches of Diu are the most ideal places for holidaying. Though there are few more tourist attractions in Diu like the Gangeshwar Mandir and Naida caves, we were so enamoured by the beauty of the beaches that we decided to relax in the beach. We then proceeded to Nagoa beach, the hot seat for various water sports. They have huge variety of sports like water scooter riding, motor boat riding, paragliding, boat sailing etc. Unlike other crowded beaches, water here is greenish and much cleaner and we could see the reflections of green algae underneath. They are almost like trash free beeches. Places like Goa are famous for their beaches, but the rustic beauty of Diu can surpass the tranquillity of other places. It has a great potential to be an excellent vacation spot and could really revitalise tired spirits. Almost all the places are relatively less crowded and all the more reason we are so enchanted by this place. The refreshingly clean sea breeze and unpolluted seawater have relaxed every muscle of the body. Our holiday would have been incomplete but for our trip to Diu, the place with pristine beaches.