The Promised Land
|Territory||: Daman and Diu|
|Type of Tourism||: Island, Beaches|
|Area||: 40 square kilometers|
|Population||: 21,576 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 0 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: September to July|
|Clothing recommended||: Cotton in summer, Light Woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Gujarati, English, Hindi, Portuguese|
|Telephone Code||: India (02875), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 362520|
|What to buy||: Seashells, conches, pearls, oysters, handmade seashell artifacts, pearl jewellery, leather slippers, straw baskets and mats, electronic goods, souvenirs, gift articles, household appliances, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Gujarati and Portuguese cuisine, seafood, Mughlai dishes, liquor|
|Local transportation||: Auto rickshaws, rented bike or scooters.|
A well tuned medley of sky, sea, sand and sun and the harmonious symphony of breeze, beauty and serenity, Diu is the ethereal jewel yet to be fully explored and truly perceived. Constantly caressed by the Arabian Sea, Diu is a tiny little island parked off the south eastern coast of Kathiawar of Gujarat near the Veraval port and the Gulf of Cambay. Formerly furnishing as a Portuguese colony and at the moment a part of the Union territory of Daman & Diu, the Diu Island is cleaved from the mainland Gujarat by a tidal creek. The kaleidoscopic spectrum of local Gujarati (Kathiawari) culture and the antiquated Portuguese ethnicity yields Diu an Indo-European essence quite akin to Goa, yet fundamentally unscathed by the reckless modern commercialization. The tender, tranquil and immaculate beaches of Diu laid against the chimerical backdrops of limestone crags and stony inlets are packed with marshes and saltpans towards their northern surface. Diu Island, basking in the glory of its enchanting milieu and soothing ambiance proposes the perfect tableau for swimming and sun bathing. Diu can be accessed through a mainland enclave of Ghoghla connected with a town of Gujarat named Una. The main river of Diu is Chassi.
The numerous sunny beaches of Diu ornamented with the arresting glory of pervading twilight and setting sun beckons myriads of tourists every year. Approximately 5000 domestic and foreign tourists pay a visit to this blessed land of intact natural pulchritude and unrivalled composure every month. The three most treasured beaches of Diu, Nagoa Beach, Ghoghla Beach and Chakrateerth Beach augment the allure of this Arcadia. Diu is also acclaimed for its affluent birdlife where innumerable migratory birds sojourn chiefly during the months of August and September. Diu is a ‘Promised Land’ and a celestial reward for the human kind. This is a berth where the encumbrance of this frantic world can be lightened for a while and the voice of the waking soul can be perceived. To promote tourism in Diu, Daman & Diu Tourism Board has been undertaking various programs starting from the conservation and maintenance of the historical monuments to the expansion of infrastructure and amenities.
Mythological Background of Diu
It is believed that during the ancient Vedic period, Diu was reined by the notorious demon king Jalandhar who was eventually killed by the combined efforts of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The Jalandhar Temple located at Diu stands in the testimony of this lore. Moreover, it is also assumed that the five Pandava brothers of Mahabharata had visited this region during their exile. They spent some days at the Mani Nagar area of Diu. The five lingam enshrined in the Gangeshwar Temple of Diu are believed to have been consecrated by the Pandavas here.
History of Diu
The ancient history of Diu goes back to 4th century BC when this terrain was ruled by the kings of Mauryans dynasty between 322 and 320 BC. During this period Diu was a thriving commercial center on the Saurashtra Coast. Later on, the reigns of Diu changed hands from Mauryans to Kshatrapas when the entire Saurashtra State including Diu was under their dominance from 1st century AD to 467 AD. Kshatrapas were succeeded by Gupta, Maitraka, Chavda and Chalukya Kings. During the 14th and 16th century AD Diu was under the Sultanate of Oman when it emerged as a sturdy naval base and a flourishing trade hub. When Portuguese alighted in India in 1513, Diu was a pivot of booming commercial activity. After a number of unsuccessful attempts made by the Portuguese to conquer it, Diu was finally gifted to them by the Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in 1535 as an exchange against the military aid provided to him by the Portuguese in opposition to the Delhi Sultanate. Soon after, scores of attempts were made to recover Diu but Portuguese ruthlessly crushed every single assault. Diu remained in the custody of the Portuguese from 1535 until 1961 when finally on 19th November 1961 the island was subjugated by the Indian Army during the military action titled ‘Operation Vijay’ and annexed to the Indian union.