Daman, the gorgeous littoral town of southern Gujarat is divided into two sections Nani (small) Daman and Moti (big) Daman by the Daman Ganga River. Paradoxically, Nani Daman is the larger of the two divisions and also the downtown area where almost all the essential infrastructures such as the major hospitals, supermarkets, residential areas etc are located. Moti Daman is the old Daman city which is chiefly inhabited by the fishing communities and most of the government offices are harbored here. Moti and Nani Daman are presently connected to each other by a huge bridge and additionally ferry boats also transport people between Nani Daman and Moti Daman at the fare of Rs 2. The industrial area of Daman is renowned for its ‘in demand’ productions viz. chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, plastics, printing ink, dyes, toys, electronics, windmills, salt, etc.
The major component of Daman’s population consists of well educated and highly skilled workers who have migrated to this industrial hub from different parts of the country. The local populace of Daman mostly comprises of the ethnic Tandel tribes whose family occupation has been fishery over the generations. The citizens of Daman present a fine composite of Hindus, Muslims and Christians, Hindu being the predominant religion of the city. The noteworthy fact is that Daman has never reported any occurrence of communal violence over all these years. Out of the total population of 35,743 (Indian Census 2001) 76% of the citizens are literate. The people of Daman seek modest and fulfilling lifestyle. The culture of Daman portrays a heterogeneous synthesis of Indian, Tribal and European elements. Fairs, festivals, music and dance encompass the integral part of the socio-cultural life of this region. The most spoken language of Daman is Gujarati. There are very few people in Daman who can actually speak Portuguese even today.
Dominated by the Portuguese for more than 400 years, the twin islands of Daman still retain their old world charm. The majestic forts, imperial cathedrals and other ancient monuments of Daman directly transport us to the era of Portuguese colonization. Even though, the rate at which Daman is undergoing rapid urbanization is quite fast paced as compared to rest of the country. Similar to its social and cultural façade, the cuisine of Daman also depicts the grand mosaic of variety of food belonging to distinctive corners of globe. Apart from its delectable non vegetarian and sea food varieties, Daman is also a place for tasting the authentic Parsee style cuisine.
The most noteworthy festivals celebrated at Daman include Garba Festival, Folk Dance Festival and Nariyal Poornima Festival.
Garba Festival is celebrated for nine days in the Hindu month of Ashwin in the honor of Goddess Amba. Youngsters participate in this festival with ultimate vigor and enthusiasm and wearing beautiful and eye dazzling clothes dance to the tunes of Dhol and Garba songs.
Folk Dance Festival also holds a great significance in the cultural spectrum of Daman. The major dance forms associated with this festival are Verdigao Dance, Mando Dance and Vira Dance. People of all age groups be it adolescents, teenagers, adults or elderly civilians take part and enjoy the Folk Dance Festival with equal gusto and passion. A remarkable fact is that some of the Portuguese Dance Forms are still preserved and performed in Daman.
Nariyal Poornima Festival which coincides with the Rakshabandhan Festival of India is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Daman. This feast dedicated to the Sea God marks the commencing of the fishing season. At the time of Nariyal Poornima the fishermen and other inhabitants of Daman assemble at the sea-shore and offer coconut to the mighty Sea God in order to seek his grace.
Apart from that, other festivals like Christmas and New Year Day are also celebrated here with tremendous pomp and joy.
Daman, a popular tourist destination of south Gujarat and one of the most sought after seashores of the state draws myriads of tourists to this land of beautiful untouched beaches and safeguarded history. Apart from that what attracts the tourists more is its profusion of unrestricted liquor which is prohibited in the state of Gujarat. People from Vapi, Valsad, Bhilad and Surat, etc head towards Daman to spend their weekends in the rejuvenating lap of Mother Nature. Devka and Jumpore are two well known beaches of Daman that provide recreational facilities in the vicinity of the fathomless Arabian Sea.