Diu: An unadulterated magical Island

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Diu island wasn’t even on my travel or bucket list this year. And since we were visiting Somnath, I extended my vacation a little more, adding Diu. Missed often on the usual tourist circuit, Diu is a small island in the Union Territory connected by bridges and ferries to the mainland. The hybrid of Portuguese, Gujarati and African cultures appealed to me instantly. So here I am, Diu coastal heaven, and an underrated one. 

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Union Terrority-Diu

However, what percentage of you know that Daman and Diu are separate places? Diu is a small town in the Diu is a union territory and was under the Portuguese regime till 1961. The Island is located to the South of Gujarat but is often confused with Daman & Diu, situated to the North of Mumbai. (There is a distance of 684 km by road).

View on the drive

Our drive from Somnath is of 2hrs, but thanks to the rain and potholes, it was increased to 5 hrs. After spending a bustling time in Somnath, experiencing the festivities of Sawan month, the deserted roads to Diu were a welcoming change.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Way to Diu

+As soon as I entered the eccentric Island first, I was impressed by the island town’s streets and cleanliness. And be assured to bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of city life. Known for its gorgeous beaches, captivating caves and Portuguese-style buildings, Diu is an unadulterated Island that just took us by surprise.

I had my booking at the Jalandhar Circuit house, a beautiful near Jalandhar beach. I an attractive resort facing the sea, and we reached a little after noon and checked into the Hotel. And thankfully, my booking still needs to be cancelled. Due to heavy rainfall & high tide, there was no internet or satellite connection; hence 80% of the booking were cancelled. But since we were ladies who were travelling, they kept our booking. Goodness, gracious!

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Jalandhar Beach

We freshened up & ordered lunch before heading out. While heading towards my resort, I saw Old Diu Fort. It is nothing but a fort-like structure that leads you to the Diu Heritage Walk. The thing about Heritage Walk is that it passes through the residents of Diu and extends up to Jalandhar beach. Hence, this was the first walk on it, and you might explore a less-seen side of Diu.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Heritage walk

However, our seaside resort was another gem, with waves crashing on the shore. Jalandhar circuit house is a government property on which the ground floor is leased to a private entity. The place has a bridge which leads to the ruins of a fortress, ramparts, beaches and sea rocks—the ultimate path to calmness and serendipity. We spent our evening walking on the seashore, enjoying the breeze and sound of waves.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Circuit House

 Mom & I sat there gazing at the dark sky when suddenly it struck us that the moon was missing. It was pretty surprising as it was the whole moon week. After numerous theories and debates around the moon’s rise timings and cloudy sky, the moon thought of making a grand entrance. And you bet grand it was. A full red shining moon suddenly popped up from nowhere. The view was spectacular; I could sit for hours just gazing at the moon. And it was a reflection on the waves. The red moon, cool breeze, gushing waves and beautifully illuminated letters “DIU” on some hilltop far away made it a perfect view. 

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Night View from the hotel

After a good night’s sleep and a filling breakfast, we started our tour around town. We began exploring Diu with Nadia Caves since it was close to my resort. History suggests that the Portuguese hacked off building materials, which resulted in the formation of these caves. But the path explained the caves’ design, history and architecture and how the Portuguese soldiers used these as a hideout. It is hard to believe that a massive structure like this is artificial, so thoughtfully carved as an escape route for soldiers and yet so beautiful!

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Nadia Caves

Naida caves are a photographer’s paradise. The yellow-orange rock walls shine brighter as the sun’s rays peek in from various openings. It looked like a giant canvas displaying the master strokes of light and shadows. As I entered, I felt lost as the caves group was a maze. We would see a part of it as the rest were closed due to repair work.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Picturesque cave

The Indian Naval Ship Khukri. A frigate which fought and sank 40 nautical miles off the coast of Diu in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The captain decided not to abandon his ship and went down with her. Eighteen officers and 176 sailors were lost in the sinking.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
INS- Khukri

It’s one of the most touching stories which describes the love and bravery with which the soldiers serve their country. All brave hearts’ names are engraved on the memorial’s black stone and located on a small hillock at Chakratirth Beach.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Deck of the ship

The next place is Diu fort cum Castle, called ‘Praca de Diu’. The Portuguese in the 16th Century constructed it. They used and controlled the fort until the Indian military took it over in 1961. 

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Diu Fort

This defensive fort and castle is a magnanimous fortress and fortifications overlooking the sea. The defence was surrounded by a moat that was used for the accessible entrance of supplies.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
The castle

I incline forts, partly because of the history attached and the architecture. And Diu fort has expansive picturesque views that conjointly include a small garden to laze around.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island

The Portuguese built this sandstone castle to garrison their soldiers and to protect their hold in their prized colony of Diu. The fort’s ground plan and design speak of the strength and defensiveness that the fort was built to serve. This strategic fort was created to show might and power and to ward off any attempts of attacks from land or sea.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
The garrison

It’s a pretty colossal fort with a couple of bastions inside it. I found a collection of cannons and iron shells over the fort area. There is a lighthouse at one end of the fort.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island

I could also see Panikotha fort, built in the sea off the coast. Pani Kotha was a prison formerly, now features a lighthouse. I couldn’t go there by boat, and the locals said they had discontinued tourist visits. I was just amazed that even the jail seemed so beautiful. 

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island

Diu fort provides a fantastic view of skirting the sea along three sides, an impressive display of the advancement of the military defence of Portuguese in itself!

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Military defence

Next, we drove towards St.Paul Church; influenced by Portuguese architecture, the church has some beautiful wooden carvings. It is an absolute delight for the eyes. Not in excellent condition, though.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
St paul church

The church could be considered a part of the Diu Fort. It’s almost in the extended area of the fort. This monument of ancient heritage is an architectural and artistic marvel. However, It demands quick maintenance today.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Interior of the church

One part of the church also has a school and a small garden. A few meters from this church is The Church of St Francis of Assisi, whose one section has been turned into a hospital. And St Thomas Church, a museum, was closed for repair work. 

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
St Thomas church

Next, we drove towards Nani Daman fort, which occupies 12,250 sq. metres. Its construction, begun by the Portuguese Viceroy to India -Dom Jeronimo de Azevedo, in 1614 AD, took over fifty years to complete. Lovely sculpture of Saint Jerome (lived 347-420 A.D.).

Nani daman fort

Appropriately pictured here with a book, probably the Bible, in his hand, Saint Jerome was a learned man who wrote many theological works and translated the Bible from Hebrew into Latin.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
The ruins

My next stop was Gangeshwar Temple. The sight of the temple is unique, set on the Arabian sea. It is a cave temple situated amid the rocks on the seashore. We reached the temple during high tide, and the Lingas are generally submerged in the sea during high tide. This temple is also known as the ‘Seashore temple’. However, I was able to make a video & see only three Lingas.

Legend states that the Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva here while in exile. One can sight the five ShivLingas of different sizes in the middle of the sea during low tide. And we did get a chance in the late evening. 

Five Lingas

Post our temple visit, we took a lunch break. The weather gave a signal of rain, so we drove towards Nagoa Beach-the most commercial beach of Diu, yet very clean, and one can find their perfect spot to chill, enjoy nature and have a swim. Through the drive, the Hoka trees swayed in the cool breeze, and the sea accompanied us with a few fisherman boat sailing.

Diu: An unadulterated magical Island
Nagoa Beach

Post our lunch; we drove to Ghoghla beach. It is here I concluded that we underestimated Diu. Ghoghla beach is very serene, with a clean, long stretch of sand and hooka trees. With significantly fewer people around, this was the best place to swim, relax and forget the world. There are some decent restaurants on the beach, which one can occupy & get lost in the tranquillity of the beach.

Ghoghla beach

Our last destination was Chakratirth Beach-a beautifully landscaped terrace that opens out to the scenic sea view and promises perfect sunset views in the evening. But it was so crowded that I skipped & drove to find a secluded place. And finally, we found a “Hidden Cliff” on the way between Nagao beach and Gomatimata beach towards the left, before Vanakbara beach, which is reachable on a vehicle.


A breathtaking view from the edge, waves dashing at the bottom and the sun setting right in front of me! A newly found place showed Diu city to our left, Nagao beach to our right and the endless sea at the front. This small photogenic Island deserves great admiration as it truly lives up to its description – Ilha de Calma (Isle of Calm). I sat and watched the sun setting on the horizon.

Hidden cliff

After a day excursion, we reached our resort & ordered dinner. The charm of this calm and serene little Island left us spellbound. Every place we visited exhibited scenic beauty beyond our expectations and made us repeatedly fall in love with this less-explored and lesser-known area of Gujarat!

Independence decor

Diu is truly a paradise, and there are still plenty of unexplored places. With those ecstatic moments captured and memories, I drifted to sleep. The next day was an early drive to Dwarka.

How to reach

By Air: 

Diu Airport is the best way to reach Diu. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are days when flight operates. Therefore, plan your trip according to the flight schedules. You can book a cab or auto outside the airport to reach the city. 

By Rail: 

There is no railway station close to Diu.

The nearest railway station is Veraval, about 90 km away. Diu has rail connections to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and other nearby cities. 

By Road:

State buses of Gujarat, as well as private buses, ply to Diu at regular intervals. You can also hire a cab or taxi and reach Diu. Diu is well-connected to all the major cities like Veraval, Rajkot, Porbandar, Daman, etc. If you wish you can drive from these cities too in your vehicle.


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