The fact that Diu is a tiny beach island is known to all. The fact that it is a run-for-a-quick-booze destination with Gujaratis, Gujarat being a dry state, is not clandestine. But on our short weekend trip to Diu we discovered some hidden gems, few enchanting secrets and a few historic tales of the forbidden islands which was once a strategic point of contact between the Indian princely states and the Portugese!
It was perplexing to know that Diu became a part of India only in 1961 after 450 years of Portugese rule! In fact India had to conquer the Islands to win it and the Instrument of Surrender was signed on 19th December 1961.
|St Paul's Church Diu|
With a population of just around 40,000 odd, it is a welcome change from the over-populous tourist destinations across India. In fact when we walked down the empty lanes in the interiors of Diu on our weekend winter afternoon, we could hardly trace a walking soul, it almost felt like a sleeping city. It was a walk down the memory lane as if we were walking through generations of history through the centuries-old churches and churches converted to museums and houses of intense Portugese architecture and finally leading to the vacant beaches - Oh! that feeling of sanctity and peace - is priceless! The intricate designs of doors and windows and gates and aisles of independent bungalows take us back to the Roman, Gothic and Neoclassicism architecture. Only an expert in that field may make accurate revelation of the type of architecture so a naive couple like us can only name it as Portugese architecture.
|The beautifully crafted streetlamps|
|The deserted lanes on Saturday afternoon|
In fact, subtle things like the design of street lamps make this place feel special. We stayed at Hotel Khushi International and spent our first day just trekking through the old Diu city which is still very much inhabited by locals but has a mystic feel of being a secluded city.
After spending a few moments at the Diu Fort and Jallandhar Beach we walked across the several seemingly residential lanes going through the Fort road, and we found St. Paul's Church on one of those lanes. Just a few hundred meters from St. Paul's Church there is a small museum housing statues which are centuries old. The life-like sculptures was enough to give us goosebumps as we were the only spectators in the otherwise empty musuem. All during these times we were like -Is the city dead? Where are all the tourists?
But we didn't mind what felt like a private Island tour!
|Sun, sand, empty roads and coconut trees|
|Quite colorful homes they were!|
Finally we could spot an Autorickshaw just when we were out of the museum, but wait, this guy was in a lot of hurry. A bit of convincing and extra money did the trick and he finally agreed to drop us to our favourite "Naida Caves". The Naida Caves was the best thing to happen that afternoon. We reached there around 4:30 pm and it seemed like walking into a archeological excavation camp and witnessing history first-hand. It was jaw dropping the view the natural beauty of this place through the glitters of sun light gleaming inside through the natural openings of the caves. We couldn't resist but take lots and lots of photographs of the banyans, the caves, the sunrays and us! This place was pure bliss and I instantly felt that the entire trip was worth right on the first afternoon!
|The Diu Bridge connecting Gujarat with Diu Island|
|Visualization of a relaxing holiday!|
|The secluded beaches|
|The landscape of the vintage town|
|Entrance of Diu Fort|
|Spell-binding landscapes - ample of them!|
|The intricate artwork takes us two centuries back|