The Island of Diu

Tripoto

Nagoa Beach with Hoka Trees

Photo of Nagoa Beach, Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

Hugging the southern tip of Gujarat in western India, is the tiny island of Diu, 40 sq km, with a length of 14km and a breadth of 5km. With Prohibition enforced in the adjoining state of Gujarat, Diu, which is a Union Territory is a favourite watering-hole for alcoholic beverages. However Diu has moved beyond this narrow definition, to now become a family-friendly place to holiday. Most foreign tourist who trael through the south of Gujarat, visiting places like the Somnath Temple and Sasan Gir, also stay or a few days in Diu.

The Hoka tree, is unique to Diu. While the Hoka tree also grows in northern Africa, this is the only place in India where it is found. Its fruit is hard, fibrous and has a sweet and sour flavour. to eat.

Why travel to Diu

The beaches of Diu are its biggest draw. What makes the beaches of Diu so enticing, is the gradual gradient into the sea, which makes them rather safe, especially for children. In fact at low tide, one can wade across from the mainland at Ghoghla, to the island, but don’t try it, unless you have an experienced local as your guide.

There are four main beaches. Towards the southwest, touching the airport is the crescent Nagoa. Across the city to the southeast, below the Circuit House, is the Jalandhar beach. A bit to its east, below the INS Khukri Memorial is the Chakratirath beach. To the northeast, across the bridge to the mainland, of which a tiny portion comes under the Diu administration, is the beach of Ghoghla. There is a fifth beach, Gomtimata, further west of Nagoa, but it is yet to pickup in terms of popularity, and there are no restaurants here, unlike at Nagoa.

The Cliffs, beyond the Light House

Photo of Diu Island, Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

Goghla Beach

Photo of Ghoghla Beach, Gir Somnath, Gujarat, India by Roli jain

Top things to see and do

Obviously the beaches are not to be missed. The most popular beaches are Ghoghla and Nagoa, around which a few hotels are clustered. Chakratirath is more secluded, while the Jalandhar beach being in a government area, with no restaurants or conveniences for travellers, is visited, but not a popular hangout. In fact, it is only the Nagoa beach which has decent adjacent facilities for tourists; and while both Ghoghla and Nagoa have limited water sports, like jet-skiing, parasailing, speed boat, the banana boat and water scooters, both Gomtimata and Chakratirath are basically surf and sand. Rides are available from around 10 am to just before sunset Each ride lasts 2 to 3 minutes and is priced at Rs.500 per person. Dolphin spotting safaris are available at Goghla beach, and are priced at about Rs.2000 per boat, which accommodates 5 to 6 persons.

Gomtimata Beach

Photo of Gomtimata Beach, Vanakbara, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

Other than Nagoa and Gomtimata beaches in the southwest, for the more daring and adventurous, is the fishing village of Vanakbara, with its scores of sea-faring fishing boats. Here you can see how fresh fish is handled and packed in ice.

The Sea Shell Museum

Photo of Sea Shell Museum, Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

About a kilometre or so from Nagoa Beach on the way to Diu city, past the aerodrome, is the Sea Shell Museum, most definitely worth a visit. Further down the road is the Dinosaur Park from where the crescent of Nagoa is spread across.

Further east, along the Airport Road, is the marshy Fudam Bird Sanctuary, where you can take a pre-arranged boat ride in the early morning or evening. (Contact the Range Forest Officer at +91 2875 252485 or visit The Collectors Office in town, on Fort Road).

Dinosaur Park

Photo of Dinosaur Park, Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

South of Fudam, is the seaside temple of Gangeshwar dedicated to Lord Shiva, where the lingas are washed by the sea.

West of the Chakratirath Beach is the Open Air Auditorium, facing the sea. Further ahead is Sunset Point.

The Naida Caves

Photo of Naida Caves, Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

Northwest of Jalandhar beach are natural rock formations and a cave system know as the Naida Caves, definitely worth exploring.

The Portuguese Fort

Photo of Diu Fort, Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

Within the city is the Diu Fort, to the eastern edge of the island, together with the lighthouse and cliffs. Unlike intricate Indian forts, the fort of Diu is spartan. Its big attraction is the sea view and its cannons. Most people do not go the cliffs, so it is quiet. Please do not go to the edge of the cliffs, as the soil may crumble and one can fall hard into the sea.

St Paul's Church

Photo of St Paul Church, Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

The Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary and St Paul’s Church are open for visitors. Housing some elegant Portuguese woodwork, these are most definitely worth your time.

If you are curious to see a Portuguese house, you can go to Nagarseth Haveli. However being a private residence, it can only be viewed from the outside.

Best Time

October to March is the best time to visit Diu . Summers are hot and humid, though early mornings and evenings are pleasant, and of course, the island is less crowded, and hotel prices drop significantly, to attract visitors.

Cuisine on offer

Food available is Gujarati and India, with a sprinkle of Portuguese flavour, as Diu was a Portuguese settlement some 400 years ago. Most local restaurants I visited offered a similar menu. Prices were reasonable.

Accommodation

Diu offers a range of budget to 3 star hotels. Hotels around the beaches are priced higher, however as none have exclusive beach access. Given that one has to travel around the island to see its sights.

A Thali for Rs. 100

Photo of The Island of Diu by Roli jain

Zampa Gate

Photo of The Island of Diu by Roli jain

Getting to Diu

Diu has daily flights to Mumbai, priced at approximately Rs.6000 per person each way. Other airports with a 4 to 5 hour drive are Rajkot and Bhavnagar. The closest railway station is Delwada but this is poorly connected. Veraval, an hour away, is the closest feasible junction. The a/c 2 tire fare from Ahmedabad to Veraval is about Rs.750 per person one way. There are bus services to Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Sasan, Somnath and nearby places, however their frequency is limited.

Around Diu

The Lord Shiva temple at Somnath is an hour away. Less than an hour farther on, is the Gir Lion Reserve, and about 3 hours from Diu is Junagadh with is Maqbara, Fort and Caves. The Jain temples at Palitana are a 4 hour drive, on the way to Bhavnagar.

Vanakbara, the fisherman's village

Photo of Vanakbara Boat Jati, Vanakbara, Daman and Diu, India by Roli jain

Have some tips or travel-related questions? Visit the community forum to ask questions, get answers, meet other travellers, and share your advice.

Be the first one to comment