Living a maddening and ever running life in a metro city is not that easy, in order to actually find space for oneself or just enjoy peace one hardly gets time or place. So, I thought to sneak out to Daman, a lonely port situated just 14 km from Vapi, a city on Gujarat – Maharashtra border. While Delhi was shivering with winter waves, Daman welcomed us with shining sun and cool breeze.
The name of Daman and Diu as Union territory is always taken together, almost like as if they exist adjacent to each other surprisingly they are very far off, to describe more Mumbai or even Pune is far closer to Daman than Diu. Another striking feature of this laid back union territory is that Daman is divided into Nani and Moti Daman by Damanganga River. Contrary to the name Nani Daman (or Little Daman) is larger than Moti Daman (or Big Daman). Nani Daman in north holds most of the necessities like major hospitals, schools, market and the residential areas while Moti Daman retains something of the Portuguese atmosphere in its Government buildings and churches of colonial origins enclosed within an imposing wall.
After resting a while in the comfortable apartments of Coast Guard officials, we headed towards a casual exploration so as to get a quick glimpse of the entire town. Surprisingly we were able to mark important places to explore on a bike ride. Since Daman lies in close proximity of both Maharashtra and Gujarat, the impact is visible not only on lifestyle of people but also on the food likely that we had vada pav with mithi kaadi (sweet kaadi is famous in Gujarat).
Finally we started with Devka Beach in Nani Daman – It’s a beach for all age groups, it has a well-tended amusement park with musical fountain to make beach experience melodious. During low tide, one can walk right into the sea and collect shells. Those who are not much familiar with devka beach must notice that the rough rocky creations beneath water level. The artistically placed fountains on the crystal white sand of this beach gives an amazing experience of an evening walk.
Fort of Saint Jerome is yet another attraction in Nani Daman, this fort has a giant gateway facing the Damanganga River with a large statue of St. Jerome and two giant human figures, on either side of the gateway. Within the premises of the fort are the church of Our Lady Of The Sea and a small grave yard. There is a school functioning at present from inside the fort. It offers spectacular view of the river, the jetty, the light house & of course sun rise.
After moving in the market of Nani Daman, we went to the Church of Bom Jesus which is one of the oldest churches of the area. Flaunting exquisite Roman style of architecture, this church is a fine specimen of the brilliant engineering artistry of the Portuguese. Nearest to this is Jetty Garden which is a small park cum garden located along the banks of the Daman Ganga River. One has to reach the garden through the Moti Daman Fort area. The garden is well decorated, clean, properly maintained and has a few fun rides for children.
Jampore beach is one of the most enchanting beaches in Daman. It is flanked by spectacular groves of Casuarina trees; it is this beach where I enjoyed the most. We got little deeper into the silent ocean, played and enjoyed on and off high waves. Also on this beach one can easily find people offering ride in open cars on the beach, para sailing using jeeps to pull the line, local fisherman offering a short trip into the sea in their fishing boats and horse riding etc.
However the most interesting was Indian Coast guard air station which has all the airfield facilities, air traffic control and other allied air traffic services. This air station provides ATC and parking facilities to defense as well as civil aircraft.
So if you love eating fish, hassle free roads and calm beaches, Daman is a great weekend gateway.