Besides being the Union Territories of India, Daman and Diu are the twin islands listed amongst the popular tourist destinations in India. The beautiful beaches of Daman and Diu, its elaborate cuisine, rich heritage, vibrant culture, and the finest architecture makes it a paradise for tourists from across the globe. Though the islands are always referred together and called twins, they are 650km apart and separated by the Gulf of Khambhat! Continue reading for a virtual tour of Daman and Diu.
Starting with the history of Daman, historians claim that the documented history of Daman island dates back to the 2nd century when it was a part of a country called Lata till the 13th century. Following this, Daman was ruled by the Mauryan dynasty, Satvahanas, Chalukyas, and Shahs of Gujarat. Later around 1560, it was conquered by the Portuguese and remained their colony till 1961.
Shifting the focus to Diu, it too was a Portuguese colony for almost 450 years, and got liberated along with Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, and Daman. Another interesting story about Diu connects it with Satyug and Indian mythology. According to which, Diu was ruled by a demon king Jalandhar, in the Satyug period, due to which it was called Jallandhar Kshetra. Legends have it that this demon king was beheaded by Lord Vishnu.
Daman and Diu both were Portuguese colonies before and even after the independence of India. They became a part of the Republic of India in 1961 after a military conquest. After liberating from the Portuguese rule on 19th December 1961, Daman and Diu gained popularity as one of the best vacation destinations in India. Today, both these islands are the hub of water sports, pristine beaches, and delectable seafood.
The culture of these twin islands is colorful and vibrant. All the festivities involve elaborate feasts, dance, music, drinking, singing, and spreading joy. The major dance forms that have been a part of Daman and Diu culture have Portugal traces, and the most popular among them are Vira Dance, Mando Dance, and Verdigao Dance. Besides these Portugal dance forms, people also perform Gujarati dance forms like Garba at folk festivals and special occasions.
The demography of Daman and Diu is a fusion of Portuguese descendants, Gujaratis, Muslims, and the Parsee community. This demographic diversity is the major reason behind Daman and Diu’s unique culture that is a melting pot of cultures in the true sense of the phrase!
Daman and Diu have Gujarati influence on lifestyle, culture, and food. Mat weaving is an art that fascinates tourists from across the globe. Travelers purchase traditional motif design mats as souvenirs from local shops. Besides mats, what catches the fancy of tourists are ivory and seashell carving and tortoiseshell craft done by local artists.
The food of Daman and Diu has flavors of its colonial roots and the nearby cultures such as Gujarati, Maharashtrian, and Goan. Diu serves the best seafood comprising lobsters, crabs, and fishes. Daman, on the other hand, serves authentic Gujarati and Portuguese food. The most popular among them are Papri, Chicken Bullet, Parsi Kheema, Akuri, Aleti Paleti with Chicken Liver, Cozido, and Fish Koliwada. Basundi and Lapsee are the two local sweet dishes that are hard to resist.
The land of Union Territory of Daman and Diu flourished under the rule of many celebrated rulers and empires, which make its history a heritage! These two districts, apart from being culturally rich, are also the most happening and most-visited tourist destinations in India. The Cathedral of Bom Jesus, Dominican Monastery, Jetty Garden, INS Khukri Memorial, St. Paul Church, and Diu port are some other popular destinations that are significant and beautiful in a unique way.