Daman – A Date With Portuguese Reminiscences
Daman was a total surprise! It’s a place where you want to get lost. Yes, it’s just too charming! To be honest, I had no inclination to visit Daman. I imagined it to be a mere beach destination with nothing much to do. I was told people visited it mainly for drinking by the beachside. Well, that’s true on the surface. But, Daman is a place for explorers, too. It has got oodles of Portuguese reminiscences to intrigue a wanderer’s curiosity.
Now I’m curious to visit Diu as well.
Daman is just 3 hours from Mumbai by road (and it’s also quite close to Gujarat), so it’s one of the quick and easy weekend getaways from both Mumbai and Gujarat. Daman is the city in the district of Daman, in the union territory of Daman and Diu. There’s Daman Ganga River that flows in the middle of two parts of Daman –Nani Daman (small) and Moti Daman (big).
My Guide To Daman
Enjoy the slow-paced life of Daman
Places like Daman remind you to slow down and savour the beauty of life. Besides all the sightseeing that I did in Daman, I made it a point to wake up early to watch the sunrise, take lots of random walks, talk to the locals and observe the everyday life.
Contrary to the usual belief, Daman is more than a ‘day visit’ or a weekend escape destination. I loved its slow life and the traces of history that so beautifully package it into a heritage destination.
Learn about the Portuguese legacy
Although I’m not much into history, I really found the Portuguese influences in Daman exceedingly fascinating. Here’s a bit of Wikipedia for you – The Portuguese Diogo de Melo arrived at the spot by chance in 1523, when heading towards Ormuz. He was caught in a violent storm and had his boat blown towards the coast of Daman. Soon after, it was settled as a Portuguese colony, which lasted for over 400 years. A larger fort was built in Moti Daman in the 16th century to guard against the Mughals who ruled the area until the Portuguese arrived. It stands today, most of it preserved in its original form.
Let the colours of Daman paint your spirit
Daman is quite colourful. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t expect much from it. I thought it would be a lacklustre beach destination, but I was completely wrong! Daman has so much of vivid beauty for a photographer’s lens. I was awestruck by the hues of the old buildings and the jetty.
Also read: 10 Most Photographable Places In India
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Slip into the bygone era as you walk amidst the ruins
The ruins in Daman are so magical. I’m grateful that I could visit the ruins of Dominican monastery in the fort area of Moti Daman. It’s an erstwhile Catholic monastery and a place of worship, which is now in a rundown state with many standing walls. It’s such a nice, mystical place where you can sit for hours and seep into the bygone times.
Soak in the aura of the churches
Daman has quite a few ancient churches to appease your ‘historic’ appetite. I loved the Bom Jesus church in the Moti Daman Fort area. Though Bom Jesus isn’t a huge church, it looks grand. The interiors are beautiful, and the most interesting thing is that they still conduct their services in Portuguese. Even the hymn books in the church are written in Portuguese.
Another church that you can visit in the same vicinity is Our Lady Of Rosario Prathnalay.
Get lost in Moti Daman fort
The 16th century fort, which is known as Moti Daman, is a wanderer’s paradise. All the old buildings inside the fort have been converted into government offices, post office, schools and sports complexes. There are many old bungalows within the fort, which look so beguiling. I’m sure there’s much more to explore that I must have missed.
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Explore Nani Daman, the by lanes and the old markets
Nani Daman is the other enthralling part of Daman, which also takes you back in time. There’s Nani Daman Fort aka Jerome Fort, which you can visit (I skipped it). But, the real magic is in the old Portuguese houses – the dilapidated walls, the old doors and windows, and the porticoes. It was such a joy to take photographs of the abandoned houses, old markets, the everyday buzz and the cheery locals.
Wander around the lighthouse and the jetty
Sauntering around the lighthouse and the jetty is also a lovely experience. The big, colourful boats moored at the shore exude their own charm. The atmosphere at the jetty is one of the significant nuances of Daman, which you should not miss as a traveller.
Laze around at the beaches – Devka and Jampore Beach
Of course, you should not totally ignore the ‘beach’ life of Daman. Although the beaches of Daman are gray and lack the spunk of ‘Goa beaches’, you can still sit under a shack with a good book and enjoy the breezes.
Where to stay in Daman?
Would you visit Daman?
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