in continuation of: Portrait of a sleeping beauty: Daman and Udvada
Evenfall came and we boarded our bus ( Ekta Travels is a pretty cosy and comfy double-decker bus at a very reasonable price and has an office a stone’s throw away from the bus stand). The journey was a long fifteen hour one, and the scenes from the top deck window at night were thoroughly enjoyable. Cities whizzed by quickly in blinks while the only long-lasting partner was the moon which gaped from afar like a taciturn companion all through the night.
The morning saw on us the western edge of the Gulf of Cambay. Having arrived at Diu, we refreshed ourselves and then made a walk to Naida Caves which are natural caves formed as a result of erosion of gigantic rocks.
The caves seemed to be unending and had a few wide-rooted banyans growing inside. We were alone for the most part which made it even more terrifying in the beginning. Post this, we wandered off on the quiet road and ended up at Jalandhar beach. This beach too, was empty except for a handful of people far away, due to which it was clear as the blue sky above, unlike most beaches in India. We spent quite some time there feeling the clear blue water wash the weariness away from our feet and collecting seashells and oyster shells.
While walking on the shore barefoot, we spotted a few little crabs every now and then. A little far away stands a Hindu temple on the beach, washed continually by the Arabian sea.
A short walk away along a garden, one finds INS Khukri memorial with a few other curiously built structures, one of which is a large seashell made of hardened sand.
My penchant for doors and domes manifested again.
Post this I tried some quad-biking as the beach was empty and so there weren’t many chances of trampling others. However, there were a few dogs who needed to be wary.
What strikes you about Diu distinctly is the fact that it seems so untouched by the masses that one doesn’t feel like tampering with the picturesque painting that it is in itself. All pristine, the water is a hue of blue ink dropped in a glass tumbler.
Having sated ourselves for the morning, we walked back and found a resort for ourselves, took a bath, and set out for lunch, having to make do with a poorly cooked biryani priced too high. After that, we had a sound nap. There are many resorts throughout the place with reasonable prices. For backpackers, the place has a lot many guest houses offering rooms at dirt cheap rates.
Nagoa beach is a good enough place to spend evenings at Diu, being the most famous and most frequented beach in Diu. This was the only place where we had to reach by taxi as it is some five kilometres away from the main part of town. Nearby, one can visit seashell museum and tower of silence, where Parsis leave there dead to be devoured by vultures. We, though, dared not venture so far at evenfall. We saw the sun go down at the beach trying out grilled corn ‘bhuttas’. There are lots of adventure sporting options at the beach ranging from Rs 300 to 8000.
Returning home, most of the eateries had closed as early as 9:00 PM, presumably for the population is very low. Though I didn’t (for being a vegetarian) one can try out seafood options and Portuguese dishes at ‘O’ Coquerio’. Other popular restaurants include ‘Apana Foodland’ and ‘Bawarchi’.
The next day we woke up late bathed ourselves and checked out. A walk through the streets of Diu led us to the seaside where lay in the middle of water a rocky isle called Pani Kotha. Ferry service can be availed to reach the place. Walking along the roads one passes shady footpaths and a few pillars and structures and in the end, the fort Diu.
Fort Diu, smaller than Fort Daman gives a complete view of the town from its tower. It houses a few prisons, a few other buildings, and a lighthouse.
After sitting under the lighthouse for a while we walked ourselves out and visited Diu museum, which looked more like a church. It houses wooden effigies of saints and some other old artefacts. It was originally St Thomas church, later turned into a museum.
On the side of the museum stands a church of surpassing beauty called St Paul’s church. We sat inside for a while and then went out as some prayer was perhaps about to begin.
On the left of the museum, we stood afront a small church for St Francis of Assisi.
In the wake of this, we tried some Gujarati food with buttermilk ‘chaach’.
As the last thing, we set out and made for the Jethibhai bus stand, and hired an auto-rickshaw to take us to the bird sanctuary, which for some reason had no birds and then the church of our Lady of remedies, which was locked.
Returning back, the bus arrived in a few hours and off we went. The bus slithered through the land and on the upper deck, I was hanging out of the window enjoying the cool wind on my face for hours. Time and again one saw groups of men and ladies singing hymns in roadside temples, musical instruments and claps all serenading in an entrancing melody. I in my cabin again sat all night gazing at my taciturn companion, the moon.
photographs: Neelesh Chandra Chandola
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