An experiential travel account of Diu

Just before the pandemic, my parents had visited GUJARAT. I am glad I had helped them in planning a 7 days itineray. Diu was part of it. A lot has changed since then and thank God for the ever-lasting memories. Now with vaccination drive being in full swing and tourism making a safe return, one can atleast start planning adventures. If you have been curious around Diu and wish to travel there, this blog will be of help. However, adhere to all precautions and travel only when you feel its safe to travel. DIU is small and pristine. It is pretty and charming. It is clean and tidy. Moroever, it is very easy to indulge in its beauty. Diu makes for an absolutely laidback and chilling place. One does not have to rush through too much. The to-do list is not at all demanding. There are a few interesting things to do but none should miss out on Diu Fort & Fortress of Pani Kotha. Read this first-hand narrative about Diu trip.

Diu itinerary for parents
Diu trip – An experiential travel account

My Dad’s experiential account begins….. My DIU TRIP!

Being a lover of nature and beauty, I love to travel and explore new places in India. It is a different feeling to see new cities and meet new people. And for the past several years, I have been travelling almost every year. This trip to Diu was due for long, until my daugher helped me to plan it. I wanted to cover Diu, Somnath, Porbandar and Dwarka as these places have historical vis-à-vis religious relevance. Finally, the day arrived. I arrived in Diu via Mumbai by taking a flight from New Delhi.

Diu is an underrated destination despite offering an interesting mix of sightseeing attractions. I found a range of options for all types of travellers, be it families, couples or solo travellers. I also noticed, the city is full of traditional flavours and a rich artistic demeanour. What I liked best about it is was that it catered to the needs of a modern traveller. It boats of modern infrastructure and a casual vibe.

Diu, part of ‘Daman and Diu’ – an Indian union territory is geographically located in the state of Gujarat. Strategically very important port in yesteryears, Diu today is famous for its pristine beauty, swaying palm trees and golden white beaches.

Where is Diu?

There are two distinct areas—Daman and Diu. Most of us assume that they are located together. No, they are not. Infact, there is a distance of 670 km by road. Also, the distance by sea is 140km and it takes around six hours to reach in a ferry. Diu is an Union Territory and it encompasses an island. It is off the southern coast of Gujarat’s Kathiawar Peninsula, located 40 miles (64 km) southeast of Veraval. Diu is well connected by road and can be easily reached from  Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Mumbai, Baroda and nearby.

Parents in Diu
My parents in Diu

History of Diu

Diu has been under the influence of Portuguese for the longest period, 1535 till 1961. Diu has a long history. The union territory was ruled by Mauryans, Kshatrapas, Guptas, Maitrakas, Chavda dynasty, Chalukyas, and Portuguese. Prior to Portuguese, Diu was under Muslim rule. In 1297, Alauddin Khilji defeated the Rajputs and made Diu his territory. After that Diu was under Muslim rule for about one and a half century.

Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat who annexed Diu in 1530 AD, constructed many structures for the security of Diu which were knocked down by Portuguese to make their structures. The Portuguese wanted to annex Diu and expand their kingdom but they did not succeed. In 1531, they captured Shiyal Bet island under Nuno da Cunha and started bombing Diu but were not able to occupy it.

In 1534, the Portuguese signed a Treaty of Bassein, now known as Vasai, as per which they secured a permission to build a fort in Diu. Later, Bahadur Shah attacked them but was killed in the war. Mahmud Shah III, nephew of Bahadur Shah, succeeded him. Diu was under Portuguese after that Indian govt. forced them to leave the place through Operation Vijay.

Turk Attack

Turks attacked Diu in 1538 and besieged the fort. The force included 20,000 men and 66 ships. They bombarded the fort many times. When they were about to win, they lifted up the siege. The reason for uplifting the siege is not known but from that time onwards, Turks never attacked India.

Architectural marvel
Diu fort is an architectural marvel

I would like to reminisce my Diu trip by touching upon 5 of its significant attractions.

1. A look at the architecture of Diu Fort

It is a gorgeous fort surrounded by sea water on three sides. Due to the colonial rule, Diu is one of the few places left in India where Portuguese influence is still evident. However, you may also read here, how it is fading too. HINDU

Diu Fort serenades the banks of the Arabian Sea. It was built in 1535 to protect the empire against Mughal invasion. This fort remained the center of Portuguese rule until 1961 when the Indian government merged Diu into India. This magnificent historical structure has stood through time. It was impenetrable against attacks. The guns were put on the bastions built on the inner side of the wall. There is a double moat between outer and inner walls and is made up of sandstone rocks.

There are three gates in the fort out of which the entry gate includes five windows. Opposite to the fort, Panikotha fort is visible. Diu fort also consists of cannons and iron shells used during the Portuguese period. There is a bastion at the entrance gate named St. George. The fort has a large light house at its end and is open to visitors. A walk inside is fascinating.

The another name of this fort is Portuguese Fort. The fort is centre of attraction for the lovers of history and architecture. Undoubtedly, it can be called a perfect battle fort made by the Portuguese with basements, canons, high walls, large gates, etc. You can also hear the sound of waves while crashing at one of the walls of the fort. In Portugal it is called Praça de Diu. Kolak and Kalai, the two rivers are found in Diu which is on north and south respectively. Diu touches the borders of Valsad, Daman, and Junagarh.

There is no entry charge here and the fort is well maintained and clean.

Diu fort
One must spend a good amount of time here in Diu fort

2. NAGOA Beach and Hoka trees

Nagoa Beach in Diu is an ideal getaway. The serene beauty of the beach due to its white sands and quiet blue water is worth experiencing and enjoying. I along with my better-half stayed at Radhika Beach resort for one night. It is located 30 metres from Nagoa beach. The beach was just a walk away. The property made my stay all the more amazing. I had the ambiance of the beach throughout my stay in Diu. Every facility was available and my stay was enjoyable. Food quality and taste was also good. One thing which was unique and I saw for the first time. I learned about Hoka trees around the resort. Locals told me that they are found only in this part of India.

Hoka trees belong to the palm family. They branch from the ground. Facts show that these trees are native of the Nile valley in Egypt and Sudan. It is believed that they were brought by the Portuguese as no other part of India has these ‘very interesting’ and unique trees.

Diu- an experiential travel account
Diu trip – Overlooking the Arabian Sea, Diu is a coastal town at the eastern end of Diu Island

3. INS Khukari Incident

INS Khukari is not to be missed just before sunset. It is popular as sunset point. You will not get much to see here but will hear a lot about its past and Indo-Pakistan war. There is a model of INS khukari in the glass which has been built by Indian Navy. It is located on one of the cleanest and loveliest beach in Diu. It is called as war memorial place. During India Pakistan war in 1971 INS Khukari made a successful attack on Karachi Port, but while it was returning, it was attacked and sunk by Pakistani Submarine. Captain Mahendra Nath Mull chose to go down with the ship though he could have saved himself. 194 Sailors and officers decided not to move from the ship and sacrificed themselves for the nation. However, six officers and 61 sailors survived that fateful night. The incident brought tears to my eyes and reminded of sacrifices made by our great armed forces. The scenic beauty of the place is heartwarming.

4. Gangeshwar Temple in Diu

My wife and I love discovering new temples in every city that we visit. When I learned about Gangeshwar temple, I had to go for it. This temple is a must see place and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is surrounded by scenic beauty. The story tells that the temple was built by Pandavas and high tide had taken it down. There are 5 Shiva Lingas which are beside the Arabian sea. The temple is an essential religious site in Diu and is as old as over 5000 years. It is a cave temple amidst rocks on the seashore. It is a centre of attraction for tourists. The statues of Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi can be found at the entrance of the temple.

Resort in Diu
Radhika beach resort in Diu

5. Naida Caves

Nadia caves are located very close to the Diu Fort. These caves are a paramount example of Nature’s incredulous wonders. At the surface, they appear like simpleton caves, however the Naida caves are a group of interlinked tunnels that go on for miles. These cave formations have seen man-made rock modifications over the time by the Portuguese and also served as the base camp for Indian Army during the operation Vijay to reclaim Diu from Portuguese people. Naida Caves is one of the most underrated tourist attractions of Diu.

The climate of Diu is normally pleasant throughout the year. The best months to go on a Diu trip are November to February during the winter season because of its ideal weather. Also, its breezy and pleasant to walk around enjoy a host of activities.

If you like calming places and are in no rush to see too much, you can definitely choose Diu. Keeping in view of pandemic, it will make for a nice, social distanced place.

Plan your Diu trip!
This is where I stayed !

Some more interesting information

  1. If you plan to use auto in the city and have reached by bus. Do check out the auto fares at Jethibai Bus Station.
  2. The best way to get around the city is on public transportation and taxis.
  3. You can also book a modern cruise from Surat to Diu.
  4. Usually people spend 1 night and 1 complete day in Diu. One extra day can also be relaxing.
  5. Fort Diu is also listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. This a list of the most magnificent monuments the country built at the height of its colonial powers.
  6. Creole, a sort of Diu Indo-Portuguese, a mix of languages is spoken by the natives of the island.
  7. Radhika Beach resort is a lovely place to stay there.

Written by

Manjulika Pramod

An engineer who loves to be called a blogger more!
Traveler, short-story writer, voracious reader, foodie is the better me!
Reading, eating, traveling, exploring, observing and blogging are the beautiful highs of my life.