Diu, an island measuring 40 km² , is part of the Daman and Diu union territory in Gujarat. It was in possession of the Portuguese from 1535 until 1961, when the Indian government launched Operation Vijay – A fierce military attack from land, air, and water that lasted 48 hours until the Portuguese surrendered. Diu was declared a union territory as part of Goa, Daman, and Diu. Even though Portuguese left the island 55 years ago, their influence still runs deep, be it the food, the architecture or the people of Diu .
Diu, aptly tagged “Isle of calm” as part of Diu tourism’s advertising campaign, exudes peace and serenity, as one explores this tiny island. For an island this small it has two forts, four beaches each with their unique identity, and umpteen number of things to see.
Nagoa beach is the most commercial beach in Diu. It hosts many recreational activities, like parasailing, boating, and jet skis. It is best to avoid this beach on weekends when the tourists flock the beach in large numbers
Ghoghla beach is a golden sand beach, that can be seen, as soon as you enter Diu city. It is less crowded, and its clean golden sand is perfect to walk barefoot and experience true peace and calm
Jalandhar beach is a small, quiet, and isolated beach. It has a promenade nearby that is visited mainly by the locals. There is an amphitheater at the beach where one can sit and enjoy 180 degrees view of the vast blue waters of the Arabian sea. It is the perfect to get breathtaking sunset shots. Also, INS Khukri memorial is located near the Jalandhar beach.
Vanakbara is where fishermen bring their trawlers to unload the fresh catch every evening. Come here, if you want to get away from touristy spots and catch some local action. It also has a big stretch of beach that gets huge waves, making it unsafe for swimming. This beach referred as Vanakbara beach or Gomatimata beach, due to the adjoining Gomatimata temple,is isolated and uncrowded on most days. However, if the smell of fish bothers you, then this place may best be avoided.
Ahmadpur Mandvi beach is a 6 Km stretch of beach on the outskirts of Diu. It extends towards Ghoghla beach and continues into mainland Diu. The beach is one of the lesser-known gems on the Gujarat coastline and offers opportunities for water sports and dolphin sightings.
Diu Fort is a majestic sea fort overlooking the Arabian sea. Built by the Portuguese between 1535 and 1541, the fort provided a strategic vantage point against enemy attacks. On the fort, one can still witness a dazzling array of cannons, small chapels, engraved tombstones fragments and look-out points that provide fantastic views of the city and sea. In addition, it houses a functioning Jail and a Lighthouse. The beam from the lighthouse reaches nearly 32 Kms away.
Fortress of Panikota is a magnificent sea fort that is accessible by boat from the Diu Jetty. It houses a chapel devoted to Our Lady of the Sea, and a lighthouse.
St. Paul’s Church, completed in 1610, is the most renowned of the three churches that were built by the Portuguese in Diu. It is considered to be the best example of Baroque style architecture in India, with its white spires that seem to reach out to the skies. The church is consecrated to Our Lady of Immaculate conception. and inside one can find tiny placards eulogizing the ten commandments.
Church of St. Francis D’assisi, founded by the Portuguese in 1593. overlooks the Arabian sea. Currently, it is converted into the Diu Government hospital.
Church of St. Thomas built by the Portuguese in 1598, is one of the few churches in India that boasts of Gothic architecture. It was abandoned once the Portuguese left, and in 1998 the church was converted into a museum. It houses wooden statues, carvings, and idols collected from various sites around Diu.
Gangeshwar temple is Shiva temple located 3 Kms away from the Fudam village in Diu. The temple has five lingas located in the middle of rocks on the Gangeshwar coastline. It is believed that the Lingas were installed by the five Pandava brothers of Mahabharat while in exile.
Jalandhar shrine stands atop a small hillock adjoining the Jalandhar beach. The stone carved head of the demon Jalandhar killed by Lord Krishna sits in the shrine. It also houses a temple of Goddess Chandrika
Naida caves are located just outside the Diu fort walls on the way to Jalandhar beach. They comprise of hacked voids that beg to be explored. Visit on a clear sunny day, and be enamored by the natural display of lights created by the caves openings.
Shell museum, is the largest collection of sea shells in Asia. It boasts a collection of over 3000 different types of shells by Captain Devjibhai Vira Fulbaria, collected painstakingly over a period of 50 years Visitors can see a wide range of sea shells viz. spider, scorpion, cockle, abalone folding shells etc through a magnifying glass.
Diu Market, located near the bus stand become vibrant at night. One can enjoy drinks and a wide variety of seafood while sitting on the benches facing the sea.
By Air: Diu has an airport, and Air India operates daily a single flight to Diu from Mumbai.
By Rail: Veraval is the nearest railway junction, 90 Kms away from Diu. One can easily find taxis at the railway station to ferry tourists to Diu
By Bus: Gujarat State transport runs regular buses to Diu from Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar. In addition, private companies have buses running to/from Mumbai, but that is a long 20-hour ride.
The auto-rickshaws that ply on the streets of Diu are the easiest mode of transport to travel within Diu. One can rent motorbikes scooters in Diu, at a reasonable cost.
The pleasant climate in Diu ensures that one can visit Diu all year round. The ideal time to visit is from October to May. In summer, Diu gets quite hot and stuffy during the day, but the evenings are cool and breezy. In winter, one can plan a visit during Navaratri to experience local festivities and culture. Also, Diu hosts the longest beach festival from December to February – Festa de Diu, wherein every week there are different activities, concerts, and carnivals. For those who wish to experience sleeping beneath the stars on the beach, Tourism department sets up the festival village with luxury tents and other facilities.