Daman, near Surat in the south of Gujarat is a small port in the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay). This paradise of peace, solitude and contentment with its coastline about 12.5 km along the Arabian sea (the Gulf of Khambhat) was once known as Kalana Pavri or Lotus of Marshlands. With its easy accessibility, just 12 km from Vapi, the nearest railway station on the Delhi-Mumbai and Ahmedabad-Mumbai rail route and very close to the national highway (NH 8) and with adequate infrastructure, Daman besides attracting weekend tourists from neighboring Gujarat and Maharashtra is poised to become a favoured destination for travelers from all over the country. A laid back little town, Daman is divided by the Damanganga river. Nani Daman (or Little Daman) in the north and Moti Daman (or Big Daman) in the south which retains something of the Portuguese atmosphere in its Government buildings and churches of colonial origins enclosed within an imposing wall.
The Union territory of Daman and Diu, India consists of two districts - Daman district and Diu district. Until 1961 this Union territory was part of the Portuguese India.
Daman gratifies the whims of sun bathers and swimmers at its beaches, the historic churches with finely carved statues, majestic forts that rise in their imposing splendour, coconut groves, abundant greenery and round the year temperate climate all provide a lovely escape for those in search of bliss, happiness and fun far away from the bustles of city life. Being a port town, it offers an exquisite variety of sea food, fare to satisfy the demanding palates of fish lovers, while the quaint bars and sea side modern restaurants satisfy the pleasure of life. The friendly and hospitable people, Hindus, Christians, Parses and Muslims all living in harmony here on this exquisite pearl on the west coast compel visitors to come again and again. Of late, the town has fast emerged as the right place for corporate meets, conferences, seminars, orientation programmes and training sessions. Today Daman offers everything, be it heritage, culture, leisure, fun, adventure and business tourism.
Diu is island situated slightly off the coast of Kathiawad near the Port of Veraval in Gujarat with a coastal length of 21 kms. and is at a distance of about 768 kms. from Daman, the Capital of the newly formed Union Territory of Daman and Diu.
Diu is bounded by Gir-Somnath and Amreli District of Gujarat in the North and by the Arabian Sea from three sides. It is connected to the mainland via two bridges.
The district of Diu is situated between the parallels 20°-44'-34" and 20°-42'-00" of latitude north and between the meridians 71°-00'-24" and 70°-52'-26" of longitude east of Greenwich. Its length from the extremes north and south, measures 4.6 kms and width from east to west measures 13.8 kms. The altitude is 6 meters above sea level. The topography is generally plain. The hillocks attain maximum height of 30 metres.
The nearest railway station is Delwada at the distance of 9 kms. from Diu. But important trains are linked with Veraval which is 90 kms. from Diu. A portion of Diu District is on main land which is named as Ghoghla. A small part of Diu known as Simbor is situated in Gujarat at a distance of 25 kms. from Diu .
Daman or Damao, a Union Territory was a Portuguese enclave for four centuries and a half till the close of the colonial rule in 1961. The first Portuguese Captain Diogo de Mello, while on his way to Ormuz, met with a violent cyclone and when all hopes were lost, suddenly found himself at the Daman coast. Daman was the battleground to oust the Portuguese and had witnessed many a wars waged against the alien powers. It had been a melting pot where races and cultures met and mixed to bring forth a multicoloured identity.
The edict of the Emperor Ashoka (273 to 136 B.C) was found in Saurashtra and Sopara near Bombay. Satrya Kshatrapas under the Kushana emperor seemed to have ruled over Daman District during the first century, A.D. The Coins of Bhumaka and Nahapan, the kshaharata rulers were discovered in the surrounding areas of Surat District. Ushavadatta, son-in-law of Nahapan, is said to have provided ferries on rivers Dhanuha Dhamana, Parada and Tapi.
This is the earliest reference of these rivers and the names of the places, i.e. Dahanu, Daman and Pardi, remained unchanged for the last 2000 years. The District seems to have been subjected to the rule of Gautamaputra Satakarnin, about 125 A.D., who drove away the Kshaharatas. But Satavahana's rule was short lived.
Rudraman I, grandson of Chastan of Kadamaka branch of Kshatrapas reconquered a large part of Western India including the sea-board from the river Mahi in Gujarat to Ratnagiri by about 150 A.D. from Satavahana ruler, Satakarni, and Daman district again passed under the rule of Kshatrapa Vijayasen (234-239 A.D.) who seems to have ruled over the district till 249 A.D. Abhir king Ishwarasena of Nasik, who conquered the western part of the Deccan from the Satavahanas seems to have been laid by Gautamaputra Yajnashri, campaigns the Kshatrapas from 180 to 200 A.D.
The District seems to have been subjected to the rule of traikutakas during the 5th century, A.D. The Lata Country was ruled by Rashtrakutas of Malkhed in the Deccan directly till 808 A.D. by the successors, Govinda II (575- 795 A.D), Druvaraja - I (795-800 A.D) and Govinda III (800 - 808 A.D.).
Govinda III handed over the Lata kingdom to his brother Indra about. 808 A.D. and was given the title Lateswaramandalasya or the protector of Latamandala. Indra was succeded by his son Karka who seems to have ruled Latamandala with his brother, Govinda jointly till A.D. 826. Druva II, son of Karka came to the throne about 835 A.D. and was succeded by Akalavarsha in. 867. A.D. The District was passed to Tailappa II of the Chalupas of Kalyani in 973 A.D. Tailappa II placed Lata Country in the hands of his relative and general Barrpa alias Dvarappa Chalukya. By the middle of the 13th century, a Rajput prince Ramsingh alias Ramashah seems to have defeated the koli chief Nathorat and established himself in the hilly tract at Asheri of Asserseta near Daman about 1262 A.D. Ramsingh was succeded by his son Somanath in 1295 A.D. The newly founded Ramnagar at the foot of the ghats flourished under Somnath (1335-1360 A.D) and Daram shah (1360-1391 A.D.). Jagatshah succeeded Gopushah and ruled during 1432 A.D. to 1470 A.D. The Portuguese from Shah of Gujarat acquired Daman. They noticed the port of Daman for the first time in 1523. A Portuguese enclave for 4 centuries and a half till the close of the colonial rule in 1961; Daman has been a coveted prize for which princes, monarchs and alien powers waged wars. Muted memories of history lie vaulted in the monuments of Daman. It had been a melting pot, where races and cultures met and mixed to bring forth a multi-coloured identity.
Portuguese Rule In Daman :
Daman was acquired by the Portuguese from Shah of Gujarat. While several attempts were made for its possession, it was 2nd February, 1559 the Portuguese finally conquered Daman. The first Vice-Roy was D. Constantino de Braganza. Its jurisdiction extended to cover the island of Salcete, Mahim and Colaba in th south while it touched the kingdom of Surat and Rayner in the north and Sarceta in the east.
The first attack was in 1529. After several attacks followed a series of negotiations between the Portuguese and Shah of Gujarat whereby the former obtained Bassein and Diu. Daman was forgotten for the time being. Two decades later the Portuguese began to realize the strategic importance of Daman necessary for the security of their Bassein province. The Governor of Goa sent an envoy to the Shah of Gujarat seeking the cessation of Daman who agreed to cede the place in return for one half of custom receipts of Diu. However there was no possibility of acquiring Daman without force. The captain of Daman was an Abyssinian Chief with 3000 soldiers. He refused to obey the orders of Shah of Gujarat. The Portuguese position was also strengthened by the virtual anarchy prevailing in the kingdom of Gujarat owing to the minority of the Shah and the dissent prevailing among its regents.
Early 1559, Constanino de Braganza, the Governor of Goa, attacked the Abyssinian defence with fleet of more than 100 vessels with 2000-3000 soldiers on board. Inspite of all the defence planned by the captain, they could offer no resistance and invaders landed at Daman without losing a single Portuguese life. The town and fortress fell into the hands of the Portuguese easily.
The Governor stayed in Daman for sometime, ordered the erection of new fort and left for Goa, leaving behind 1200 men with Diogo de Noronha as Captain - Major of Daman. And since then it remained under Portuguese flag until the Operation Vijay launched on 17th December, 1961 by the Indian Army assisted by the Navy and the Air Force linked the territory to become an integral part of India. The last Portuguese Governor of Daman Brigadier Manuel Antonio de Costa Pinto was wounded near Tin Batti which led the surrender of the Portuguese garrison on 19th December, 1961 closing the last Chapter of European domination in India.
Daman is having a pleasant climate all over the year. In summer, Daman is blessed with cool breeze coming from over the Arabian sea.
Maximum Temperature is 39 degree centigrade and minimum is 11 degree centigrade. The average annual rainfall is 1687 mm.
Beginning September & culminating May is the perfect period for exploring and fascination of this wonderland, but planning a holiday in monsoon is no less appealing and will evoke a great deal of exhilaration and mirth.
Daman can boast of a rich and multi - faced cultural heritage. Dance and Music are very much part of the daily life of Damanite. Here is a true fusion of cultures - tribal, urban, European and Indian.This ornate amalgam is reflected in the traditional dances of Daman.
Various Portuguese dances are well preserved and still widely presented.Tribal dances with caustic social comments are much in vogue.
How To Reach Daman -
Vapi station, 12 km. east, is the main access point for Daman. Vapi on the main Delhi-Mumbai and Ahmedabad-Mumbai western Railway main broad-gauge line is very well linked to all parts of the country through Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Mumbai. Most mail, express, superfast trains including Shatabdi Express between Ahmedabad and Mumbai stop at Vapi. Mumbai is about 170 km. and Surat is about 90 km. from Vapi. Plenty of share taxis (Rs.15 per person) from outside the Vapi station leave for city centre of Daman. Full taxi, locally termed 'special' Rs. 90. Autorickshows are also available. Fare 'special' negotiable around Rs.50.
By taxi it takes about 20 minutes to reach Daman from Vapi. Also available are Gujarat State Transport buses (Rs.5 per person). It takes 30 minutes to reach Daman from Vapi. Mumbai-Ahmedabad NH-8 connects Daman via Vapi road. There are regular buses to Mumbai, Surat and Saurashtra region of Gujarat from Vapi. Those who come to Daman from Mumbai byt the NH-8 will branch off at Karambeli village between Bhilad and Vapi. From Vapi a road leads to Silvassa (20 km), the capital of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The NH-8 to Mumbai continues south from Daman through Manor. You can also get down at Valsad, which is 45 km from Daman by road.
Local Transport in Daman :
Unmetered taxis and autorickshaws are the general modes of local commuting. The rates are negotiable. Share (5-6 passengers) autorickshaws are available for places of tourist interest like Devka Beach - Rs 6-7 per person. Kadaiya - Rs. 10-12 per person. Jampore Beach - Rs.10-15 per person. And other places of historic importance in Moti Daman from stand near Char Rasta in Nani Daman. Charges for hiring full auto locally called 'special' is around Rs.5-7 per km. Expected pay for 'special' autorickshaw fare for Devka beach - Rs.30, Kadaiya - Rs.40, Jampore from Moti Daman - Rs.40, Indicative rates for taxis: Commercial market taxi stand to Silvassa - Rs.200-300, Commercial market taxi stand to Valsad - Rs.300-350, Commercial market taxi stand to Surat - Rs.1000-1200, Daman Sightseeing - Rs.600-700.
Places of interest in Daman and Diu - Jampore Beach, Devka Beach, Church of Bom Jesus, Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary, Church of Our Lady of Remedies Church of Our Lady of Angustias, Mirasol Resort and Water Park, Vaibhav Water Park, Daman Ganga Tourist Complex, Fort of St. Jerome, Fort of Moti Daman, Light House .
Bihar became the first state in India to have separate web page for every city and village in the state on its website www.brandbihar.com (Now www.brandbharat.com)
See the record in Limca Book of Records 2012 on Page No. 217