Ilaha de Calma, DIU – Where time literally stands still!

Recently Diu Tourism has launched a TV Commercial which caught my fancy being a curious travel blogger that I am. Not only this when I opened today’s Times of India, I saw a very attractive campaign – Ilha de Calma – DIU Tourism.

More on the ad film, which starts with a young woman executive stuck with her busy chaotic life. A sudden break in the chaos happens when we cut to the serenity of the island. We watch her indulging herself in the calm surroundings and experiences of the island. The commercial ends with her enjoying the sunset atop a lighthouse as the logo of Diu, Ilha de Calma is revealed. The commercial supported by print ad shows inclination of DIU tourist traffic to the calm, serene and unexplored destination.

I was completely drawn towards DIU due to its wonderful beaches, blue waters, churches, wide roads, forts, light-house and most importantly its Portuguese demeanor. Now it was constantly on my mind to make it to DIU sometime during this year, what if I have to compromise my trip to Phuket. Now my research began on the destination which made fall in love with it even more…
The more I was reading about it, the more determined I became to be there in 2015!

Only time will tell when I can make it but I would like to share my research with my esteemed readers who too can explore this unexplored destination, you career ladies listening, oops watching! I am sure DIU commercial wouldn’t have missed your attention.

If you look around Ilha de Calma, you will find Portuguese history infused in its very being. Enriched with fascinating tales of the bygone era, this serene island became a part of the Indian Union Territory on December 19, 1961. Deriving its name from the Sanskrit word ‘dweep’, history has established it as an untouched island boasting of a magical blend of sea, sand and sun. Whether it is the food or even the brilliant architecture, you will find a surreal touch of Portuguese history running through the veins of the island. From this confluence of cultures, Diu’s own legends and tales have emerged. Take a break, take your time. Uncover myriad secrets of Diu covered under layers of time.

Here, you can walk barefoot on sun kissed sands, even as gentle waves wash over your feet and crumble your stress away. It looks as if Isle of Calm or as they say in Portuguese, Ilha de Calma is giving you heart-warming welocme. Since time immemorial Diu has rightly personified this emotion. Just a walk through the coastal enclave promises and you get limitless peace. Explorers have been known to travel far and wide for a break off the beaten path and in search of peace. This soulful destination is 67 kms from Gir, 90 kms from Somnath, a quick flight away from Mumbai and a short road trip away from Ahmedabad.
There are few must visit tourist places like:

Ghoghla Beach

Ghoghla Beach, with its golden sands, is the largest beach on the island of Diu. For those seeking adventure, this beach presents the perfect opportunity for swimming, sunbathing, parasailing or surfing. Food and accommodation are easily available at the beach. Ghoghla beach offers splendid views with occasional sightings of dolphins.

DIU Fort

The Diu Fort is a majestic sentinel silently overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built in 1535, this Portuguese fort was known to provide a strategic vantage point against enemy attacks. The fort with its double moat, a splendid array of cannons, small chapels, engraved tombstone fragments, and look-out points, presents a perfect getaway for those looking to escape the humdrum of city life.

Naida Caves

The Naida Caves are an explorer’s delight. Located outside the city wall of the Diu fort, these caves are a network of hewn hollows and steps which beg to be explored. The history of the caves suggests that the Portuguese hacked off building materials during their reign, which resulted in the formation of the caves. Plan a visit on a clear sunny day, and be assured that the cave’s natural openings will not disappoint with a spectacular display of light.

Lady of Immaculate Church

Built in 1610, this impressive church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Its baroque style of architecture and curiously treated volutes make it the most elaborate of all the Portuguese churches in India. This place of worship, with its white spires that seem to reach out to the skies, proclaims peace and divinity in the quite, little enclave of Diu.

St. Thomas Church

The Church of St. Thomas was constructed in 1598, and it served as one of the major churches of Portuguese India. The Church is one of the few churches in India that boasts of Gothic style architecture. Its whitewashed exteriors still bear the worn out and faded frescos of the Portuguese era. In 1998, the abandoned church of St. Thomas was converted into a museum.

Cycling Track

Get away from the maddening rush of urban-living and lose yourself in the beautiful, calm island of Diu. The Diu cycling track is a part of a green initiative by the Government and is designed to help tourists enjoy the serenity of Diu in its most natural way. Hop on a cycle and explore the island on its newly completed 4.2 km track.

Gangeshwar Temple

The temple finds its name in mythology as the temple where the five Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva during their exile. The most remarkable feature of the Gangeshwar Temple are the five shivlings set amidst the rocks. The shivlings get washed by the waves of the sea, exposing only the tip of the lingams during high tides. The cave temple exudes powerful energy and is much revered by devotees of the mighty Lord Shiva from around the world.

Portuguese Fort

The Diu Fort is a majestic sentinel silently overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built in 1535, this Portuguese fort was known to provide a strategic vantage point against enemy attacks. The fort with its double moat, a splendid array of cannons, small chapels, engraved tombstone fragments, and look-out points, presents a perfect getaway for those looking to escape the humdrum of city life.

DIU has a very interesting history which goes like this that Pandavas during their 14 years of exile had passed a few days at a place known as Mani Nagar DIU which was under Yadavas led by Krishna Vasudeva during Mahabharata period. According to mythology, DIU was ruled by the great King Jallandhar who was daitya Demon and was killed by Lord Vishnu with his Sadarshan Chakra. The temple of Jallandhar still exists in DIU. A palm fringed, largely deserted and secluded beach, Nagoa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in India. The unique shoe shape of beach makes it all the more beautiful.

Demographics

The island of DIU, an erstwhile Portuguese colony, is situated off the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat bordering Junagarh district. During the period from 14-16th century Diu was one of the best sea ports and a Naval base. The town and district were historically part of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and an important port on trade routes of Arabian Sea of Indian Ocean.
Diu is located at 20.71°N 70.98°E the Island is at sea level and covers an area of 38.8 km². The climate is extremely warm and humid, with an average annual rainfall of 1500 mm.

With no tall buildings except the fort, Diu has a characteristically low skyline. Old Diu is known for its Portuguese architecture. Local transport is available from Una (Gujarat). Jet Airways services the island from the mainland, landing at Diu Airport. The nearby Nagoa beach and offshore lighthouse are popular tourist destinations, and the coast is a popular recreational area for parasailing, boating, and jet skiing. There are several hotels and resorts and there is a growing hotel and leisure industry. Unlike Gujarat, alcohol is legal in Daman and Diu.

The languages spoken in Diu include Gujarati, Portuguese, English and Hindi.

The nearest railway junction is Veraval, which is 90 km from Diu. Major cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Dwarka and Thiruvananthapuram are directly connected to Veraval Railway Station. Moreover a meter gauge at Delwada is just 8 km from Diu. Daily, two trains connect Junagadh & Veraval to Delwada Railway Station.

Information Courtesy: www. http://visitdiu.in/

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