Diu is one of the loveliest places I have been to. Although India attained independence on August 15, 1947, it was only the British who left. The French, Puducherry got it’s independence and was integrated with India 7 years later. The Portuguese pockets – Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were liberated by Indian military action 14 years later, in 1961. It was only after the anti-colonial military coup d’état and the fall of the authoritarian rule in Lisbon, that Portugal recognized these places as part of India.
Their colonial heritage and being a part of the common Union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu, until Goa attained statehood in 1987, Diu still identifies itself with Goa. A lot of people visit Diu expecting a smaller version of Goa. Diu is not a poor man’s Goa. Don’t get me wrong, Diu is beautiful, but it is unfair to compare it with Goa. There are no rave parties or chic beachside bars, or exotic flea markets or Russian drug dealers. No bikini clad women either. What Diu lacks in terms of the Goa vibe it makes up with its own charm.
The first thing that one notices when driving into Diu, is the excellent roads. When in response to my “Are we there yet?”, my driver said “Oh yes. Can you not feel the difference in the roads?”, I could sense his pride. Now that the roads in Gujrat are also excellent, I couldn’t really tell the difference, but evidently this has not always been the case.
The Arabian sea hugs the west coast of India. So, to see the sunrise over this sea was a double whammy for me. I missed the moment the sun rose out of the water by seconds the first morning, but was lucky enough to witness it the next day.
I spent the morning exploring the ruins of the old fort. The fort houses the sub-divisional jail. I am not sure if the jail is still functional. That section is not open to public. Though functional, one can climb up the lighthouse for a birds-eye view of the fort and and the city. The morning was spent pleasantly amidst the fort’s old churches, granaries and wells , water storage, etc. At the fort, look out for the parrots nesting in its walls. Outside the fort, vendors sell the sweetest coconut water I have had for the lowest rates I’ve had it at.
From here we went straight to the colourful little local market.
We had started early, to beat the heat, and to make the most of the day. the day was almost half done, yet there was so much more to do. The caves, beaches, the sea shell museum, a couple of temples my driver thought I must not miss..!! Diu is a small place, and my driver was a well informed local. He made sure I took in all the sights before we left.