A Portuguese colony like Goa, Diu is an off – shore island on the western coast, off the Gulf of Cambay. The coast has limestone cliffs, rocky coves and sandy beaches, the best of which are at Nagoa. A massive fort built by the Portuguese dominates the skyline.
An island of breeze and beauty. The island of Diu, an erstwhile Portuguese colony, is situated off the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat bordering Junagadh district. It is an exquisitely beautiful getaway with golden sand beaches, dense palm-groves and historical monuments sans commercial exploitation and environmental degradation. Diu stands out, in marked contrast to other places, as a tiny island, where people have an excellent civic sense. With the magnificent serenity of its ambience, it is perhaps one of India’s last undiscovered jewels.
With a pleasant climate throughout the year, it affords unprecedented peace and tranquillity to tourists. The beautiful tiny island, is lying on the west coast of India, with a coastal length of 21 kms., is at a distance of about 930 kms. from Bombay. The word ‘Diu’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dweep’. During the period from the 14th to 16th century Diu was one of the best Sea Ports and a Naval base. Merchants of various lands carried on trade here.
Places to visit in Diu
Nagoa Beach – A perfect semi circle beach where the gentle lapping waves beckon you to wade into them for a fun filled time of swimming, gamboling or just lolling around the soft sand shores or to find you napping under the palm trees filled with the soothing breeze. The Nagoa beach is the most famous in Diu. Gomptimata, Chakratirth and the beautiful Sunset Point are the other famous beaches. A 20 min. refreshing drive from the town through the open arid land and dense coconut groves brings you to the Nagoa Beach. It is located in the Nagoa hamlet of the village of Bucharwada.
Gangeshwar Temple – is situated 3km away from Diu town in Fudam village. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, there are five lingas here that are located in the midst of the rocks on the seashore, and are washed by the waves of the sea. It is believed that these lingas were established here by the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata during their exile. The gentle sea waves offering their obeisance to the “Shiva Lingas” in stone have a mystic aura around them in the cave temple of Gangeshwar where the Lord makes his presence felt.
Ghoghla Beach – Ghoghla Beach is among the six beautiful beaches in Diu District. It also has facilities for water sports like parasailing, water scooters etc. The Golden sand beach undulates into the horizon while the Arabian Sea laps away at the edge as though imploring the sands to let it find its own peach. You can do swimming, sunbathing, parasailing, surfing etc.
St. Thomas Church – Museum – St. Thomas’s Church that has now been taken over by the authorities and converted into the Diu Museum. A huge edifice in gothic architecture was built in 1598. A part of it has been converted into a museum – an archaeological treasure house. It houses wooden carvings, statues, idols, shadow clocks and other important artifacts collected from various sites.
Diu Fort – Diu Fort is an expansive and imposing structure, situated on the coast of the island. It was constructed between 1535 and 1541 AD after the defence alliance concluded between the Sultan of Gujarat and the Portuguese. The fort commands a magnificent view of sea. Rugged yet gentle, fierce yet loving. The majestic structure stands on the coast of DIU as a sentinel. Once inside, you are overwhelmed by the gaunt majesty of the ancient stone work which transports you to a bygone era of gallant soldiers where time stands still.
St. Paul’s Church – St. Paul’s Church is the only active church till date. The church adorned with curiously treated volutes and shell – like motifs and the magnificent wood carving is considered to be the most elaborate of all the Portugese churches in India. St. Paul Church, built in 1691 is consecrated to our Lady of Immaculate Conception. In architectural style it resembles Bom Jesus Church at Goa. The dominant features are, no doubt, Gothic. The wood – panelling of the church is rated one of the best in church craftmanship.
Gomtimata Beach – is one of the best beaches of the region. Secluded and spread with natural white sand, it is located at the western corner of the island
Panikotha-Fortim Do Mar – Legend has it that this ship shape structure was one connected with land by an under sea tunnel. You can see this monument in famous bollywood movie “KAYAMAT”. it is a magnificent stone structure in the sea, built right at the mouth of the creek. It can be reached only by a canoe or a motor launch. Approximately one nautical mile from the Diu jetty, it also has a light house and small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea. The fortress makes for a beautiful view whether seen from the jetty, from the Fort, from the village of Ghoghla or from Diu proper.
Jallandhar Shrine – Jallandhar Shrine is located on a hillock close to the beach. This small shrine crowned with a dome, contains a niche wherein a stone carved face of Jallandhar is seen. Near by there is also a temple of Goddess Chandrika. The beach is at a distance of 1 km from Diu Town. This small shrine crowned with a dome, contains a niche wherein a stone carved face of the demon Jallandhar is seen. Nearby, is the temple of Goddess Chandrika.